I’m Cole, you may or may not remember me depending on your memory, if you do, you may or may not have noticed that I’ve been gone for about a month now. This wasn’t accidental; I didn’t get myself into some horrible situation, lose a limb, my computer, or anything like that. No, this was an intentional choice by me in order to live a more productive and happier life.
Here’s the deal: I’ve cut out both Facebook and Tumblr…essentially. Realistically, I still go on them, I check Facebook only on Mondays, once a week (though I’ve been trying to cut down to once every two weeks), and I still scroll through my Tumblr dashboard periodically I just no longer post anything or like anything, with this exception of course.
Why? That’s an interesting question. I by no means wish to discredit the importance of social media platforms to various people as a means of artistic and self expression. I’ve used Tumblr as such in the past and I’ve used Facebook as such. What happened? The truth is, I grew, or rather, I fell. What happened is that I found myself in a low pattern of over-worked, tired, sore, lonely, desperate, and just in general, depressed. In that period of time I realized that I wasn’t the person I thought I was. I realized that I was, per lack of a better description, a needy, self righteous and overall horrible human being. Perhaps I’m not really that way, perhaps I’m not as horrible as I think I am. The point still stands, I had to change. Last summer was hard for me for a variety of reasons both physical and mental in nature. At the beginning of the summer I attempted to blame other people for my own feelings of social isolation, anxiety, worthlessness, and depression. I owe those people an apology of course, but no matter how many times I attempt to apologize to them, the damage has been done, there’s no turning back.
The second truth is there’s nothing there for me on either of those platforms. There’s nothing tying me here, and there’s certainly nothing tying me to Facebook. I might even go further and say there’s nothing really tying me to anyone location right act this moment. I don’t really have anything worth grasping on to, anything holding me down or keeping me afloat. So there’s no reason for me to continue to idealistically assume that I do, which is what I’ve been doing by using Tumblr especially; turning it into a sort of escapist habitat that doesn’t force me to deal with the harsh reality of my current situation.
But I learned, or, am attempting to learn, from my mistakes. My own feelings of isolation and unhappiness stemmed from my unrealistic expectations about how people are supposed to behave in a modern society; coupled with the inter-connective positive sham that social media sites like Facebook perpetuate, I felt a constant pressure to be more than I was, to be better than I was, to do more than I was currently doing. So, I stopped going on. It was a test at first, a week-long thing to see who cared, which I admit is narcissistic and unfair, people can’t be expected to care when they know no different. Regardless after the first week it all seemed stupid, after the second week, stupider, and after the third week (roughly a month in the making), of absolutely no one giving a shit one way or another where I was or what I was up to, I wondered what the point of signing on everyday to be depressed about the way I was living was and/or beg attention from people was.
The same applied to Tumblr, in a more artistic sense of the word. I felt socially isolated and victimized by people unfollowing me, I realized I was conflating a false sense of importance to follower counts and notes. And while I have met some amazing wonderful people here on Tumblr who would be genuinely sad to see me go, the feeling of a mutual brotherhood didn’t exist any longer. Ultimately Tumblr had lost its shine.
So what did I do? I read a lot, I wrote two amazing short stories for my fiction class. I wrote some of the best short stories I’ve ever written this summer alone actually. I continued submitting works, even though they’re still getting rejected. I meditated, I worked out some more, I cut soda from my diet, and I attempted to get both mentally and physically healthier. I went down from 152-153 to 149, which is a start, and my stomach’s never looked better, same with my ass. I decided to forgo the illusion of acquaintances who wanted nothing to do with you. I distanced myself purposely, as an act of generalized good will (believe me I meant no harm or offense by it) from people that I felt I was being too needy towards, hoping that in the future those relationships can be more healthy and well rounded, but fully actualized to how it’s not plausible or even likely that those connections will ever be made again. I cataloged every happy event that happened to me for a month, I wrote more in my journal, I expressed my feelings more openly, I ate, I slept, I gawked at pretty boys in my classes, I applied to two literary magazines, and I made a decision to drop all of the superficial emotional attributes of sadness that had plagued my mindset for far too long.
In short, I worked on changing my life philosophy for the better.
Why mention it then? Why not just stay offline permanently? There’s a number of reasons but most of them don’t matter, what matters is this sole reason: there are people who visit me frequently through this medium, whose only form of contact with me is trough this medium for whatever reason, who deserve an explanation for my absence. And so, I gave it to them, I’m absent because my own mental health demanded that I change not in a small incremental way but a radical and far-reaching way. It required that I move forward, that I push myself to another height, and that I finally get rid of all the baggage that I’ve let hold me down for too long.
Did I accomplish that? A month of absence isn’t going to accomplish anything—that’s a given fact. But it’s a start. What I accomplished was a divergence from my need to be loved or cared for by certain people, as well meaning as they are. I don’t mean to imply those people aren’t my friends or can’t be my friends, they can, they are; they’re all wonderfully inspiring people who have meant the world to me, honestly I owe them so much that I can’t even begin to describe it. But my own mental health was propagating this insane paranoia about my own sense of self-worth; at one point I literally became convinced that the reason for someone’s absence in my life wasn’t because they were going on to accomplish and follow their own dreams, but because I had wronged them, hurt them, treated them badly, or otherwise made such a horrible impression on them that they no longer found me even the least bit appetizing.
I couldn’t go on living like that. I can’t go on living like that. The fact is, I am a person worthy of friendships, affections, and relationships. I’m attractive, I’m cute, I’m well meaning, and I’m generally a nice human being. What’s also true is that I’m paranoid and damaged just like other people are. What’s also true is that my egotistical nature takes hold till I think the world revolves around my own feelings of emotional inferiority. I had to/still have to overcome that and the only way I know how is by limiting my influence into other people’s social dynamics. The only way I know how to do that is by cutting off those technological shackles and realizing that life still goes on without me. The only way I know of freeing myself is by standing up and shouting from the roof tops: I am free. The only way I know of freeing myself is to claim freedom, whatever it might mean, for myself, following what I think is right, doing what I know is right, being kind, giving second chances, not holding regrets, moving forward, always trying.
I may be back, I may not be. I’m not deleting the blog as of yet, I don’t feel a need to do that and I like the ability to archive my life. But as I sit writing this I’m filled, like always, with a thin layer of optimism that I know will keep me going in life no matter where I find myself. As of now, I feel that the world’s a great place and that the people I’ve met, the people that have been in my life, for however long they were, are fantastic and admirable people. Just the idea that these people exist, that the world is full of people like them gives me a great deal of hope for our artistic, economic, political, social, and physical futures. As of right now, despite all the regrets, feelings of depression, hatred, lack of self-esteem, and what not I might lug around, I feel happy, okay, in love with the world. And so, as dramatic as it might sound, this is where I’m going: away.
P.s. If you need to contact me/ want to, you should know how to. If you don’t know how to or can’t find out how, you probably don’t need nor want to contact me anyway