I have a problem.
A social media problem.
I’ve solved FB for the most part. Frankly, I need to stay on there because my son is a friend and, seriously, if I didn’t follow him online I’d never know what he was doing.
25 is a dick age, I’m telling you. The thought is that the pre-frontal cortex (or some such scientific thingy) finishes growing together and around that age young men became less dick-ish. Not true from where I’m sitting, but then maybe it’s just him. Or maybe its me.
Nope. It’s just him.
Anyway……I have unfollowed everyone on FB except my son; Dan Rather; the yoga studios I work at; my yoga teachers and, um, I think that’s it. If I want to go to someone specifics page I can always do it, but they don’t show in my feed. Which means I’m on FB about 5 minutes a day. I can handle that. ( Even though Mark Zuckerberg is a HUGE FUCKING DICK. And please note that is different from my kid, who is only a dick. And, yes, that’s me defending how much of a dick my beloved son is. OY!)
TWITTER though. TWITTER!
I often have the experience of looking up from Twitter and seeing an hour, at least, has gone by. There is a reason for that, and a pretty good one. I cut the cable over a year ago and now only have internet and Netflix, Hulu and HBO. That seems to be fine with me. If there any other shows I want to see I wait until their season is over and then buy the channel for 1 month and binge it. Very cost effective. So far I have only used that option for Homeland and Outlander. (Outlander. I mean, Come ON! SO worth the $$)
But with no cable comes no news. No MSNBC, CNN, FOX,…nothing. And I am grateful for that because I would be glued to the TV, certainly, if I had all those channels. Well, besides FOX. I mean, fuck them (and I am not sorry if I upset anyone reading here, but if I did this is not the blog you should be reading). I am so grateful I don’t drink anymore, because surely I’d be dead by now. I can absolutely see me holed up in my apartment, un-showered, not eating, drinking non-stop and shaking my fist at the TV every 2 seconds. UGH!! .that made me shiver! I am so grateful that is not the case!
But If I had cable, and minus the drink, that still might be the prevalent scenario for me. I wouldn’t be able to look away from this train-wreck.
Anyway, back to Twitter.
So, I had a solution to my news problem. I’d follow reliable news sources on Twitter and that would both feed me news and guide me to articles, etc. that I might read to find out more than 140 or 280 characters ( and subsequent thread discussion and harassment) could help me with. Then, to mix it up and give some respite, I’d follow some comedians that I like, for laughs. Perfect!
However, those reliable news sources began tweeting other wonderful sources and I was following more and more people. And then I realized why I love the comedians I do: they are all political and smart and just as engaged, thus giving me no respite.
Next step was to follow disparate yoga and meditation teachers; certainly I could rest in their feeds. But suddenly, and I will say, happily, all of them are speaking out against the horror at the center of our government. They have been some of the most reliable and helpful guides in the last few months, speaking clearly about social justice and inclusion and I am grateful to them. I’m going to quote one of them, Ethan Nichtern, who has given me a quote I constantly use in my yoga classes and as a personal mantra these days “Be kind to yourself. Your nervous system was designed for a world that doesn’t exist anymore”. (Isn’t that great? and soothing?And affirming?)
So there’s the problem in a nutshell. I get my news from Twitter. How can I let that go?
But the reminder that my nervous system is not built to handle this insanity is a good one, and I am leaning toward taking it to heart in a big way. Not forever, just for now. Actually just for this month. Can I go a month without Twitter?
It’s a good month to try. It’s far enough before the midterms that I can take a rest without feeling like I am shirking my responsibility politically. If I take August off I can come back in September ready and rested and pumped for doing what I can to get out the vote. The Indivisible group I belong to has taken a hiatus from meetings for July and August, so I’m not shirking that.
August is also my birthday month, and, frankly, my nervous system feels like it wasn’t designed for this birthday! I’m already freaked out and getting even more amped up on political shenanigans and fear is not going to be helpful. I know this, it is already so NOT helpful! (Blog post will surely be coming re: birthday fuckery). August 8 and 22 are also my last two grief groups, which is also screwing with my head even as I know it’s time to end them. August seems kind of an auspicious month, really.
So, seriously. A month off Twitter? Can I do it? Actually it will be 30 days, as I’ve already been on several times today. Of course.
But in that month? I could write more. Read more. Do more yoga. Meditate more. Binge more TV and movies (let’s be honest!). Tackle a few projects that I am constantly procrastinating about. Connect more.
It’s not like I won’t know what’s going on. My friends are connected; I’ll hear things. If something big happens (IF, hahhahhahha, I said if! WHEN…) I’ll know. I can still consume info as needed, just not through Twitter. I’m not changing my life, only that one small, online portion of it.
But my nervous system could use the down time. The release from the constant cortisol high. A deep dive into the para-sympathetic nervous system vs. the constant fight or flight reactivity I live in. I actually read Twitter in bed, and the last couple of weeks, more often than not, I end up downstairs eating crackers with peanut butter or worse. And I can’t afford a new wardrobe (thank god I’m usually in yoga clothes!) And I’m saying all of this as a meditator and yogi. I am cool when I am in class, or teaching class, or mediating or otherwise engaged. But damn! I am at risk for a stroke most other times of the day. I mean, aren’t we all? I could use a break from the gaslighting and the constant lies and hatred that I see online. The in-fighting in my own party, the scapegoating. Why yes, actually I COULD go on and on…..and I won’t.
I think I’m going to do it. In writing this it got less scary. It seems more important. It seems sensible and a little exciting. I’m curious if I can do it. Am I up for it? Do I have the discipline? It’s going to be a huge challenge, but I need to be challenged.
So August 2-30. No Twitter. Only checking FB once a day to see if Wonder Boy is still alive. Not giving up Instagram, but will not add anyone. My own personal challenge.
Unless…..anyone want to join me?