One of my best pals and I had a funny conversation one day about all the things, now post Covid-19, that we just, well, don’t do anymore. If these things or situations come up in life, before we might consider and contemplate and negotiate. Now we just say, “Fuck that. No.” And usually end up laughing, as if the thing in question was so utterly absurd that considering it at all would be hilariously idiotic. So then I thought it would be funny and fun to have a category of blogs actually called “Fuck That.” Epiphanies, realizations, hurdles, triumphs, evolutions. I had a big one in the last couple of years, that dealt with all of these things. It was the biggest “fuck THAT” I’ve ever said in my life. And so my blog was (re)born. A better, more humble, more mature version. Here’s where it started …
For the last 18 months, I’ve been 100% completely off social media and most all types of social communication. On February 21, 2020, I just went completely cold-turkey-dark. I had reasons, but also, I was really just done leaking all of my energy, all of my time, my privacy. In what was to become a very dark and meandering period, I somehow had the foresight to see that I needed to do some serious housekeeping. So I started with my digital life. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter … email, Slack … WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs, iMessages … iWatches, FitBits, activity trackers … phone calls, voicemails, voice texts … Marco Polo, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom.
It’s too much.
And so one of the things I did when my life really did totally fall apart, was turn. it. all. off. I didn’t even really try to close anything down (they make it hard to do that anyway). I just deleted the apps. I deleted my email addresses except for just one. I relentlessly unsubscribed from emails. No joke, in the beginning of this digital purging, I’d spend 30 minutes a day purposefully unsubscribing. I even considered getting a flip phone. I didn’t look back, either, and I figured, if someone wanted to find me badly enough, they would. When you are so completely over something, (it seems, anyway) you’re not mad or sad or have anxiety… you actually don’t feel much of anything. That’s how I felt. I saw how much of my life was getting sucked into the ether, and I hated it.
“Oh my God, good for you! I don’t want to be on social media either, you know,” people would say. “But I have to. You know, for my business.” I really didn’t care whether they were or not, it all just seemed like some sort of alternate universe just a couple of weeks outside of it. It was like people were living on another planet outside of earth, the digital planet, and lots and lots of stuff was happening there, but none of it was actually real. Real was right here. I mean, wasn’t it? What I noticed more than anything was just as we already know: how insanely addicted to it all we are. Without having to check any of these apps or suck holes, I just sat and watched people around me. I enjoyed the food I was eating. I watched the birds. I listened to the breezes. I just sat quietly, most of the time. I took naps. Why? Well, I was depressed for sure, but also because I had extra time not mindlessly scrolling on any of these digitals. If I was with someone, inevitably, multiple times during our time together, they would suddenly DISAPPEAR into their phone. I’d sit there and wait. Not annoyed or feeling slighted, but curious to see what would happen, reminding myself that that was me at one time. When they came to, after experiencing the dopamine rush of the phone ping, they’d always say, “Oh shit, sorry, hold on, I just have to do this one thing.”
I remember saying that. I remember saying it to my kids. That makes me feel really awful now. I kinda thought I was better than that.
But, it was fine. I was working on me, and I decided that in order to start over with my life and do it with a clear head, I had to put all the distractions away. Distractions were my salve, my go-to, my healer. They came in all shapes and sizes and forms and they helped me function outside of my insides. They filled the void and they gave me strength to avoid pain. They were why I was where I was in the first place. My heart hurt, badly. My soul and conscience had taken a nasty, nasty whipping. My passion and creative fire was completely extinguished. My sense of purpose was gone. My confidence was buried under earth layers down with the lava rivers. I knew if I tried to escape into anything, I wouldn’t heal. So I said, fuck that. I’m not doing it. I’m dumping all social and digital communication so I can sit here and be with me, the flawed, failed and brutally human me.
Being with yourself and no one else is not easy for most, myself totally included. People who have gone through detox and rehab and silent retreats and other self-confronting experiences know this. When we do it we often don’t really like who we see without all the masks and covers. I sure didn’t. I was questioning everything, even my existence. Not a good place.
After about a month of my “absence,” people would check in and ask me to meet.
“No thank you.”
People would text and call and try to engage.
“Thanks but not right now.”
I just wasn’t done healing. I was belly up and slayed, with my insides hanging out. I was so GLAD I didn’t have to deal with any of the trappings besides a handful of text messages. My bandwidth for handling much of anything was very small. I started sleeping an inordinate amount. Like, 10-12 hours a night and 2-3 hours in the day. I worried at first, like something was wrong with me and I felt super lazy (it was during Covid, though, so I’m sure I wasn’t alone). But guess what I said? I said fuck that. I’m sleeping. I haven’t really slept for about 40 years. So I’m sleeping. And sleep I did. I think I actually slept my way back to me.
Today, I do a just a few things. I work, I read, I drink coffee, I make smoothies. I write, but for no one and nothing in particular. I run, I walk my dog, I cuddle with my cat. I study things. I’m eager to study new things that I’ve always wanted to study, but never had the courage to say “fuck that” to the path I was already on. I have a small handful of very close friends that have hung with me and not let go of my hand for even a second, when they probably should have run for the hills. Incidentally, these particular friends are exceptionally good at saying fuck that and always have been. So I’m learning.
I recently decided that I wanted to venture back on to Instagram, and post about things I love, but for no one in particular. Not for followers. Not for sponsors. Not to “build a brand.” Not for a business or to make money or for any other reason than just to play around with my thoughts. It’s gotten me back into writing. And that is good, because today, the only things that can keep me from feeling the weight of certain failures are reading, writing and my dog and cat. I will admit that I go back down certain Insta-rabbit holes. But they are good ones. I now know how to blend a smoothie bowl to perfect texture, thanks to @smoothiebowls and about a thousand other smoothie masters out there. I have missed @alanasparrow, the ultimate silver fox, and her amazing words of wisdom. I sure do love the travel pages. I will always support my friends and their endeavors, like @theguruedit and @mojackyoga and @fenomlaw. And no matter what, I am always up for @dogsofinsta. All the other nonsense? Well, fuck that. 🪶
It’s very inspirational and very true what you’re writing and how our lives have been affected by the technology around us. How much of a hold our social media or Twitter accounts have on us. I got off Facebook years ago along with Twitter and have never looked back. As I travel I read as much as possible but I also remember my younger days where we didn’t watch much television or play the video games. We utilized our minds to create games or imagine being a king in a far off place. We hung around outside and pondered life or what it would be like to fly to another planet. We created ideas in our heads and soaked up what the world gave us. I get too distracted with the things of life and find that I need more time to reflect. I have found that in exercise (running) I become more focused and my mind opens up with a wave of ideas. I develop a better sense of direction. It helps me.
Thank you for your comment, Matt! You are the first and I am so excited someone is reading my blog. Thank you thank you. I loved what you said and also long for the easier days, I can remember so much from those times as well. I also love to run and walk, it helps me disconnect from the “connections” too. In fact I just wrote a piece about that yesterday (Withing Walking Distance). I think awareness of it, as with so many things, is the way to recovery 🙂 See you in the blogs! -B
You’re very welcome 😊 Keep up the fantastic writing and sharing. It helps us all!
Wow… that’s a lot… I suspect I should try similar…
🙂 thank you for reading!! 🙂
Near DFW airport all morning tomorrow in case you need a coffee to wet your whistle …
It is so good to see you…
xo, Peppermint Chapstick 😉
just now seeing this! hope you had good travels
I love that you shared this Brooke. I am so glad you are diving into what makes you happy and whole. I have always loved what you’ve had to say and I will look forward to reading your blogs. Always wishing you well and sending love.
Pam, so great to hear from you! What a gift. I hope you are doing well! -B
Trying to process my happiness in hearing from you and knowing your presence is safe. And realizing time and proximity are not requirements for caring about another. It was all so fast and chaotic and in hind site built on shifting sand. Would love to see you …..
Dear Brooke… thought left comment but don’t see… if it is somewhere in your universe won’t repeat… if not simply overjoyed to see your existence and calm space. Think of you often… and hope to see your face!
These are such amazing strong words. They made me really stop and think….about everything. I am so proud of you for the journey you have made this far. You have come out so much stronger. I can’t wait to see what you share in the future. Keep up the writing!
Kate!! Aw I am so glad you found me! And thank you for your kind, kind words. I will keep writing! I have a bunch in the hopper as we speak! xoxoxB