Thursday, July 25, 2013

Week of Silence

My writing class is participating in a "Week of Silence" social media fast to help us quiet our minds, listen for our own voice and God's voice... all that writerly stuff. We're supposed to be sort of meditative in general. Although I'm still using the internet (and Instagram occasionally), I'm logged out of Facebook and Twitter until Sunday. I quickly determined that I have a permanently open Twitter window in the back of my mind. For the first two days I felt like Harriet the Spy without her notebook. I'd have a fleeting thought to share, then the needle would scratch across the record. (Not to mention that I missed the royal-baby tweet fest!) But then I started to feel calm and relaxed.

Here are some startling realizations I've had so far:

- Twitter is my main information source. Especially now that I've gotten rid of cable. (Yes, I cut the cord last week and feel good about it so far.)

- Avoiding social media relieves a constant, invisible pressure. I don't have to come up with anything witty to say. I don't have to catch up on updates. I am not always behind. No one expects anything from me. My brain already feels less cluttery.

- I feel pressure to say something interesting (and to BE interesting) all the time, in every situation, not just online.

- I am way too reliant on social media to validate me as a human being. I'd like to blame this on living alone and perpetual singleness, but I'm pretty sure it would be something of an issue no matter what. I'm not the only one. Underneath so much of what we say, we're really shouting, "SOMEBODY NOTICE ME!"

- Most people need to actively pursue silence, but my everyday life is naturally full of silences (though there's always room to be more mindful about it). As it happens, my sister and niece are visiting this week (yay!), and I've felt slightly guilty about not having time for contemplation and art journaling and stuff. But really, I contemplate all the time. Probably too much. So it's okay that my experience of this is a little backwards. Actually, I'm glad to have them here at this time, because the isolation might depress me otherwise, and now I don't have distractions while we're together. Being fully present in your relationships is a kind of listening too. I'm okay at it, but I'd like to be better.

In a way this week is a nice vacation, and I think I'll be a little sad when it's up!


  1. I usually think of Twitter more as talking to myself. Like I usually only tweet when I have a random thought and no one to say it to.

  2. I can't speak for Facebook, but you're not missing anything on Twitter. :P Feel free to extend the week.

  3. I've been using Facebook a lot less than I used too, it seems like everyone else is too since I haven't missed out on too much. Its kind of nice not having it clutter up my thoughts.

  4. "Avoiding social media relieves a constant, invisible pressure." Yep, I felt that way last week, too. There's a lot I like about social media, but I am more concerned than perhaps I should be of being perceived as boring or unclever or not worth following. There's a difference, I guess, between being conscientious about producing worthwhile content and just plain self-conscious about not being liked. It was good to have to face that tension.

  5. Yes, I noticed the relief of pressure most of all. No one needed me to make an "important" decision regarding "views" on a "thing" because it is my duty and I am complicit in the "opposite of the thing" if I don't state myself clearly. Stepping away allowed me to breathe and realize how much angst I invite on myself trying to meet perceived expectations.
    I wonder why it is that every good platform of communication seems to eventually run toward chaos?