I wish I had something profound to say about my experiment of deactivating my personal Facebook timeline for 3 months. Perhaps an epiphany, a revelation, a complete transformation. But none of that happened.
What did happen, early on, was isolation, depression, and migraines. There was nothing comfortable about Facebook withdrawals. I found myself checking my phone over and over throughout the day, with nothing to look at. Total disconnect set in. How would the world know I existed, if I wasn't visible on Facebook? What were my "friends" doing? How was I going to keep current with the days' events? Those first 10 days were a killer!
The bluetooth stereo system in my studio saved me. The speakers are rad, loud, and sometimes those on the bottom floor of my building could hear whatever was coming from my art studio. Music has always been my lifesaver. It helps sooth anxiety, which I am also prone to have from time to time.
So, I selected random Apple Radio Stations, and listened to a whole bunch of music that I've never heard before. I am now a big fan of Afro-Celt. But I also reconnected with Ska, Punk, and Reggae. A mixture of Enya, The Clash, The Shins, Talking Heads, Leonard Cohen, Jack White, French Opera, Classical, and a mixture of everything else in-between, put me in a realm of creativity beyond my own imagination.
Music stimulated my flavor of artwork. Pouring paint on canvas, splattering, and tilting the canvases while they dried, created not only a wild mixture of color and texture, but also put me right there in it. I literally found joy watching paint dry. I had several canvases going at the same time. Without a plan of what I was going to make, I allowed the art to show me what it wanted.
Some days I painted actual scenes, mostly houses and landscapes. Some days I covered canvases all in black, or white, and made layers of paint, scraping the canvas. Some days I used a trowel, spread gauze for texture, sponged excess paint off and dabbed crumpled paper towels on almost-dry paint. Every day, for 3 solid months, I painted something.
I took photos of the creative process, and the finished product. I made an Instagram profile just for my art, to have a place where I could go back and look at my little world. I made the art for me, and scrolling through the photos of my own art calmed me, inspired me to make more, and motivated me to dream bigger.
After the first month of Facebook liberation, I decided to jump back on for a day or two. It was Christmastime, and I did miss most of those I only get to see on Facebook. I posted new profile and cover photos. I made a post about Christmas, and suddenly likes and comments exploded. It was nice to see I wasn't forgotten. I deactivated again, but hopped back on for New Year's Eve, with something I wrote about my feelings on letting go of 2020. And again, I was not forgotten.
A few days ago, I felt lonely so I reactivated Facebook and saw that someone I knew had died. He was a good photographer, and an even better person. I was devastated. I immediately looked for photos he had taken of me, during the past 3 years and a half-dozen photo shoots. I found a few that I had taken of him, and I started to cry. I went to his Facebook timeline and saw posts from his family and friends, remembering him in the same way I did - an overall good guy who would help anyone in need.
Since then, I stayed on Facebook, but I don't look at it often. I posted photographs yesterday of the snowstorm in the little town of Jerome, Arizona, where I live and work. I check on those I love and care about in the morning, during coffee-in-bed. Then, I get on with my day, staying active with photography, modeling, painting, taking care of Leo and Mazie (the amazing French cats), and living a blessed life with Sir Steven. Keeping it simple is important to me. Maybe that's why I decided to deactivate Facebook in the first place.
I'm sure I'll get off Facebook again. But what I did learn about myself was this:
I guess that's as profound as I'm going to get today.
Now, it's time to go create something.
Thanks for reading.
As many of you know, I take several 30-Day Digital Detoxes each year. (And incase you didn't know, this is something that reenergizes me.) My life gets busy, I have less and less time for jumping on social media, and before I know it my health is failing. Scrolling through newsfeeds on Instagram or Facebook, texting instead of calling, and responding to tons of emails isn't a healthy choice for me. I become desensitized.
Around 4:00 this morning and immediately got to work on my computer, when an idea came to me to separate myself from digital devices, particularly my iPhone. This is something I've been wanting to do for months, and I spent a lot of time preparing for it. Life just feels a whole lot better when I'm disconnected. I'm ready to take the leap off of social media.
For those of you who are already asking me "why", here's the scoop:
1. I am busy. SERIOUSLY busy. Between my photography business, modeling, website design work, writing, my art gallery and event planning, I simply don't have time for social media anymore, and that's totally okay. I'd much rather spend my time creating than scrolling through newsfeeds.
2. I found myself looking at my phone too much. Even though I disabled notifications months ago, I still found myself looking at my phone throughout the day. It's not only not-good for me physically (my neck - looking down), it drains my energy on a soul-level.
3. Although it's fun to keep in touch with people, I'm pretty much old-school. I like meeting people for coffee or a walk, and talking to them face-to-face. I like meeting up with friends for a movie or a show. I'd much rather have human interaction than digital contact.
4. I believe that we are what we eat, look at, listen to and practice. I made a conscious decision years ago to change my life, and that included where I lived, what I ate, what I read, what I watched, what I listened to and with whom I chose to spend time with. Social media doesn't nourish me.
5. I'm totally an introvert and an empath. I love being alone, which means lots of time meditating, reading, journaling, detoxing, resting and reenergizing.
6. For me, social media can be a big distraction. I could spend a lot of time scrolling through my newsfeeds, to the point where it could become addictive. I've spent a lot of wasted hours looking at things that are really none of my business.
7. I'm a pretty private person, and although I've shared a lot on social media, I have found that I feel like I'm exposing too much of myself out into cyber-world. Not a good mix for me.
I think that about covers everything. Of course, nothing is ever written in stone, but my goal is to stay off social media through the end of the year, hopefully longer or indefinitely.
For me this is a healthy decision. Life is short, and I'm seriously looking at where my time is being spent, what I'm allowing into my life and what my personal boundaries are.
For those of you who are in the same boat, welcome aboard! Take a 30-Day Digital Detox challenge, see how you feel. I'll warn you, my first one caused serious withdrawals, but the outcome was so worth it.
Thanks for listening.
I am living the dream, one day at a time, and sharing my experiences with you.
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© 2016 ZUSHKA BIROS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.