I haven’t felt especially social lately; it’s been well over a month since I’ve gone to Charlie’s for beers, and whenever I have large blocks of time to myself, as I did on the Labour Day weekend, I took advantage of not having to do anything, see anyone or anything like that. Part of it is because drinking makes me tired and I don’t like interacting with other people if I’m too sleepy to fake coherence, but for the first time in a long time, my normally overactive brain will actually leave me alone with my senses, and I can actually sit in silence without overthinking. I want to enjoy this feeling as long as it lasts.
The medication I’ve been on might be a factor, as beer tends to make the side effects a little worse; drowsiness seems to be the big one for me. If I don’t have to be anywhere, I usually sleep late and just putter around the house. I’m guessing the lethargy is just part of the price I have to pay to be able to enjoy things or not feel self-loathing. I also think I’ve put on weight since the last year, but I don’t know how much of that is real and how much of this is body image issues. I don’t doubt that it has helped, though; I found an aborted attempt at a journal I tried to keep around this time last year and noticed a huge difference in my frame of mind since then. Even when I have a bad day or get blindsided by a reopened case of the feels, I usually just go home, sleep it off or try to lose myself in a project instead of running into the most convenient bar or liquor store to either anesthetize myself or prod catharsis.
I still have the occasional drink here and there, but most of the time the inconvenience outweighs the desire, and it usually only happens when there are other factors involved, like a friend inviting me out or that I’m not too far from the specific bar.
Along the same lines, I decided to limit the amount of time I spent on my phone looking at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so I got one of those productivity apps that locks you out after a set amount of time: 30 minutes for each app is my current limit. It’s been a little bit of an adjustment, especially on the bus ride home from work. I usually read a book on the morning commute, but the afternoon was my time to catch up on the day’s news and maybe see whether I had a bon mot or two to add to the conversation (spoiler alert: usually not). By that time in the day, I’m usually too tired to concentrate on different worlds and well-thought-out ideas, so the bite-sized chunks that populate my feeds are the perfect length for the attention span.
Part of this is a self-care thing, because the news is constantly draining at best and infuriating at worst, often to the point where I feel sick with rage. I’m not going to go too explicitly political here, but let’s just say that there are a number of people in power seem almost proud to be flaunting their hypocrisy and sadism, and that the purpose of their power is to enrich themselves, and hurt whoever they want. They don’t even bother to mask the joy they get from the latter. I think it’s important to stay aware of what’s going on, but the constant noise never stops.
I also tend to use social media to fill in emptiness in my life, especially when I’m lonely but too lazy or tired to put effort in seeking company (“Alonezy”, as Cenobyte once called it). I’d let myself scroll for hours, liking others’ statuses, tweets, or pictures as a substitute for actually engaging with them; I would occasionally comment whenever I had the presence of mind to say something, but for the most part, a tap was all the effort I would put into these virtual relationships.
I used to feel like I was missing out unless I caught everything on people’s feeds, or took every chance I could to connect with people, get to know people better or do something outside of the apartment. I’m not the kind of person who calls people out of the blue, and there are stretches where I can’t even think of what I would even say in a text message, so I figured unless people actually make the effort to reach out to me, they don’t need me to be a part of whatever’s going on in their lives.
I tend to spend way too much time waiting for notifications and new posts as if the next one somehow held all the secrets to the universe, would bring relief from the horror show of current events, and fill in whatever I felt was missing. I also feel like I post just for the purpose of getting likes or comments, or just to remind other people I exist. It’s a constant and simultaneous performance, broadcast and commentary.
If I got rid of social media altogether, or just went radio silent for a long time online, would people worry about me, or would they assume that I was just living my life? Would it let me improve my connections with people, or would it just isolate me?
I sometimes miss the mystery of the pre-internet days, where you didn’t have ready access to information at your fingertips, where you could be blissfully aware of things outside of your own bubble and didn’t always know what everyone else was up to or thought. It’s been great for finding community, but something about it still rings illusory.
Of course, I’m saying this all on the internet.