I love how messed up the title looks with all of those quotation marks. It’s sort of how I’m currently feeling about social media. The alleged “social” part. The alleged “life” of social media.
It’s Saturday and I’m taking a sort of posting break from social media… again.
I find myself doing this more and more trying to learn something about myself each time. I’m trying to find the disconnect between online and my social life in person…
…as if I didn’t already know what the problem was.
Let me be absolutely honest: I have a very minimal and very occasional social life outside of my family in person.
Anytime I post pictures of myself going somewhere, or I check-in, or post to my Snapchat/Instagram stories where I’m not at home, I am almost certainly with some part of my family. Mostly my sister because we’re the ones who are consistently home at the same time.
Yeah, I appreciate those moments. They make for an easy great time of jokes, discussions, and overall bonding. We show each other new music and memes, and we experience things together creating moments.
When I am home and have my alone time (which is usually late night/early morning), my unfulfilled feelings, my social life anxieties (not “social anxiety”)… they bubble up as I’m looking through my various social media feeds.
“Oh wow, that looks like a nice event to attend!”
“Hey, I wanted to go to that!”
“I would love to visit that place someday.”
“Another person I know went to Santorini.”
“Whoa, look at that studio session.”
“What! They got to meet them?!”
“Hey… I know that whole group of people. Those are my friends.”
I think “Those are my friends.” and I have this descent into actually thinking about the definition of “friends”.
I haven’t seen certain people in a long time and I will without hesitation call them my “friends” still because I feel that if given the opportunity, I would be there wherever that is with them. But am I really being someone on a level where they consider me a “friend”?
I have a lot of people I follow on social media that I haven’t seen in years. A lot of them I endured and ended my school career with. Plenty of them are still around in the Bay Area and still I don’t see them. Those friends don’t do music. Those friends have professional and social lives that are rather “normal”.
The friends I see more than them but still not enough are the ones that do music. When I see them, it’s usually in a setting of making music or watching other people play music.
I almost never see my friends in a non-music setting. I don’t often hang out with people to go to the city, to some location away from home not doing music, or some day trip. I have never really actively planned things like that and most of my “friends” don’t invite me.
I came across this question in an article I was reading recently: “What would be left of your social life if you abstained from social media?”
I thought about it… and almost broke down.
The sad reality: I think whatever I was feeling I have of a social life would be currently 90% tied to my social media life and I would be consistently in touch with maybe 5 non-family peers.
Astrology note: Scorpios have this often noted characteristic of being “loners”. Every time I see something about that posted, I don’t like/react to it on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. I don’t want that kind of negativity. I have been a loner with a small ring of group of friends that aren’t consistently communicating with me as friends nor inviting me to do things as to show they consider me someone they would like to do things with since high school. I don’t want to but I have had to accept the idea, astrology influenced or not.
It sure didn’t help when I fell into my alcohol-induced anxiety/depression/agoraphobia period that winter through summer after I turned 21.
And then there is my love life that ties in… or at least my intention of a love life.
As I was recovering from that period of not doing anything or going anywhere, there was a female friend of mine who invited me to come out to a couple of things at UC Berkeley where she was attending school. It was because of her that I got on BART by myself for the first time. If you haven’t looked up “agoraphobia” since I mentioned it, do that now and understand how huge it is to go from that to getting on BART by myself. Hopefully you have read a bit about what it is so you can understand this semi-rhetorical question: Do you realize how special a person has to be in a recovering agoraphobe’s mind to supersede any enhanced fear of riding public transit?
I had feelings for her since I met her in my first week of being in California schools after I moved back out here from living in Michigan for 9 years. She was in my P.E. class that 7th grade year and from then on out it was one-sided puppy love for a while. In high school, we had more moments and I probably had more opportunities than I could ever really see in the moment to go out with her, if I had said what I wanted to say.
Of course with how I fall for personalities, she was someone who had a personality who always attracted a line of guys trying to date her.
I let it all fade after the last time I saw her… because she moved to L.A. . I became emotionally numb as to not want to feel my regret for not trying.
[Side note: She moved back up here to the Bay Area in the past few years… but things have definitely changed.]
I have never had a girlfriend. I have never lost my virginity. I have never even been kissed. I have never had a prom/dance date.
Sex was never really important to me, even through my hormonal years of puberty. I still keep its initial importance low when thinking of trying to get into relationships, but with the mature wisdom I have now from reading all the articles I can about it (and I am always reading articles about relationships, for the past 10 years), I realize where the importance is and what makes relatinships and, as a bonus, sex a great experience: connection.
Connection. That is the biggest, most fundamental thing about ANY relationships a person has. From bonding with family, to hanging out with friends, to falling in love.
This is a recurring theme in my life and my blog…
I AM CRAVING CONNECTION.
I have been connected most of my post-high school life to most of the people I know through social media. I have met quite a few new people from being connected with them through social media and that has been awesome. I have had a dilemma though where I would always rather sustain those connections in person but it seems those meetings were once-in-a-lifetime and we fell back into patterns of exclusively social media.
“What would be left of your social life if you abstained from social media?”
Let me answer that with this statement: The other day, an app that I had authorized for using in connection with Instagram decided to auto-unfollow a handful of accounts with some of them being people that I had met in person before more than once, and I was glad to have met those people… but when I tried to re-follow them, all requests were denied.
This is not a social life.
I’m pretty sure I have explained in previous post about my problems with heavy dependence on social media and the problems in general with thinking it equates to a social life.
I don’t think most people are using it and understanding what it could be the right way. I think technical issues, though minor and rare, can cause misunderstanding and miscommunication that is unnecessarily fatal in the possibility of taking whatever amount of connection there is digitally to reality and sustaining it there.
We take follows and unfollows immediately and then everlasting as interest and disinterest. We read things certain people post and because of how much we can relate to it, we think it’s about us… because we’re the only ones reading it and then have to choose to either ignore it or rationalize and hope it’s not about us. We read something one day, feel a certain way all day, and then the next day we read something else and change our mind based on that. We are influenced more and more each day by more and more thoughts being broadcast on social media that our moods are being able to change now with each tick of the second hand on a clock.
With each short-form poetry piece I read on Instagram, I’m at the whim of the writers’ past experiences of love and heartbreak. With each motivational quote I read, I am empowered and inspired to be the life warrior I always want to be. With each political post I read, I feel the frustrations of it mostly agreeing with my left-leaning ideals. With every new meme, I have something I could laugh about as I’m scrolling down my feeds before the next meme that was posted a few minutes later, and now that first one is old.
With each relationship article I read, I realize they are the only things that are showing me what I have been missing: connection, consistency, and commitment.
I have never been one to be so fickle about feeling things. My motivations and values have been pretty solid and consistent throughout my adult life. As much as people are learning to accept that a lot of things change, I feel as if a lot of people are accepting it so easily so they don’t have to feel committed and be susceptible to thoughts of being “stuck” in the long run of this marathon called life. People are so eager to see change and transition immediately as to know that they are doing something now that they really aren’t “trying” as much to work out problems that arise. Even small problems such as miscommunication through the toneless but assumed-tone of digital text messages. They realize a problem in their current momentum and it causes them to change their whole life intention. Add that in with the second-by-second changing mood from reading one post to the next and there is no such thing as consistency in our own life anymore.
As much as I want to abstain from social media because of all these things, I really have more of an appreciation for the possibilities and opportunities it has opened up to me… and for those times when a digital social life transitioned into moments in real life, I really appreciate it. I have to find something though…
I have to either find something in me that will make me easy to invite into real-world connection or want to know me, or if I have something like that already, I need to find better friends who understand how to try in transitioning digital social life to reality consistently.
Connection. Consistency. Commitment.
Maybe this is why my ideals in unconditional love have been making a comeback into the forefront of my life. They haven’t shown any major possibilities of return in at least 8 years. I abandoned trying. I abandoned trying to feel like love is something I can and should look for. I abandoned trying to think love was able to develop from just a glance. I would think myself into thinking that visual attraction is shallow and nothing deep could come of it.
Here I am and let me tell you about how I now understand the idea of a “spark”. Any small thing can grow into something bigger and become a raging fire.
I understand this so deeply and appreciate it so much… but that can only go so far and deep as the committing of the intended reciprocating target of attraction.
There lies the problem with being a person with a limited social life in the age of social media. My “normal” friends with big rings of friends don’t see social media as a huge influence of their social lives. They use it for fun and ranting and can log off before they go to the club or restaurant or event with other friends so they can check-in there. I probably would too if I had that kind of “normal” life.
But I don’t. I instead have this interesting life of many circumstances that have led to this very limited social life. Because of that though, I have learned to appreciate connection, consistency, and commitment as sacred and not things to be so fickle, flakey, and flighty with.
I want real and I want to try.
My wants can only go so far when asking others to understand how I feel about making it work. I am being shown the culture of disposable/replaceable relationships if the person doesn’t see the benefit of you for them immediately while they aren’t even considering what you are trying to be on a deeper, fundamental understanding as a person.
These people don’t want to commit to trying. They become as inconsistent as the daily topics posted about on social media. They can’t keep a social media connection alive and nor do they want to if it one day disappears… and it scares me in the bigger picture, wondering if I am cursed for being as I am amongst this culture.
It’s such a difficult balancing act to think about.
I have to ground and re-center myself in understanding that I am not like that and I don’t have to be like that…
…so I go back and read my blogs.
Myself from the past reminds me that I am not fickle about relationships on any level. What very few people I have consistently in my life are very much appreciated. I don’t ask for them to stay but I really want them to. I don’t ask to come along to things but I really want to.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe there is a lesson I have not yet learned about being loud enough vocally proclaiming I want to have that connection consistently. Maybe people want to hear that I want to have moments with them more.
Should I have to do that though? Or should they try too?
I feel like at this point this question will lead to a tangential piece of writing… but I digress.
I can’t. I really just can’t right now. Maybe it’s today. Maybe it’s a culmination of things in my bigger picture – self-perceived short-comings, trying to create all this content without being boastful but still leaving a crack for frustration to sneak in reminding me people don’t know exactly what I’m doing, add in me noticing nobody outside of family and family friends really asking about what I’m doing, and the fact I haven’t seen most of my friends in years… it’s just a bit too much.
I try to keep busy with my music for my creative sake… but I’m also thinking it’s a beautiful subconscious distraction from wanting to indulge in trying anymore for a frustrating social life.
But I try. I can’t really stop trying… and maybe that’s what I am trying to do is to see that other people are willing to try as much as me. It’s not necessarily about loneliness. 30 years of friends and most of that life, I have been doing what I do fine without them. 30 years without a romantic relationship and I have grown myself in many ways where I am not dependent on a partner to validate my expressions of love. Truly unconditional but non-exclusive… yet. Neither has been necessary and so here I am still alive.
But 30 years is a long time to just settle with these non-neccessities as a human being in this lifetime.
I have said it before and I will say it again many times including right now: I want connection so badly. Wants – we realize they aren’t necessities but I’ll be damned if I’m a human that doesn’t want connection so deeply. What kind of member of this hugely social species am I if I don’t want this as badly as I do after all this time?
I am a rock about this issue. I am here and I am staying with it because, damn it… this life is too uncertain to not try to create something with longevity and consistency just because of a feeling that scares us from letting something in and staying.
We type posts, read articles, and share quotes about being “raw and real”, “open and vulnerable” through social media, yet here most people are using that same medium as something temporary and just for time-filling.
It’s not that I don’t do the same thing but I also have been trying throughout my whole social media life to make it a little more about really connecting.
As I typed earlier, it’s worked here and there to certain extents.
In regards to social life, I am the youngest 30-year-old I know with an older wisdom of my thoughts about it. I don’t want to feel like creating connection is a business deal or hiring somebody from LinkedIn. I want it to feel like how it was when I was a kid back in the day – finding somebody around my age who lives in the same neighborhood, playing some games, getting into disagreements over whatever we were playing or doing, giving space and time after the disagreement but always seeing them again where we both understand on some elementary level that we were different but we would rather continue to try to have fun again rather than break the connection over something bad feeling like that.
As an adult, I don’t see this happening as much. We take those quotes on being “fiercely independent” and “cutting ties” so drastically and easily for ego food where we ignore the wisdom of just being humans learning together over time.
As much as we read and share quotes about not having expectations and conditions for creating relationships, most people nowadays seem to not have a problem cutting ties with people who aren’t giving them something on some level but never really expressing concern in what they have to begin with. Some sort of assumption is created. It’s an unexpressed statement of how the relationship began and it still exists, and then it’s an unexpressed statement of why the relationship dissolved… and then it’s on to the next one. It’s so easy to click “unfollow” and “block”.
It’s because of that, I am in love with depth. Depths that I have always longed for in connection that seems to be a rarity to find reciprocation in. It’s because of that, I have opened myself up to being vulnerable. I want people to know that I am willing to go to that place where they really want to be understood… because I know that people want to be understood. I want to be understood.
30 years old and I’m still blogging about wanting deeper relationships. It just isn’t enough to like a person’s post and maybe meet them for fun. There is nothing in that which can overpower a knee-jerk thought of a click of the unfollow/block button.
Hmmm… maybe… I finally might have ticked another hour on some biological clock.
So here I am definite in my wants. Just a continuation of what 2016 slapped me in the face with in realizing I want.
“Social media” does not and has never equated to “social life” for me. I always wanted the real thing. The not-so-edited versions of relationships. The not-so-temporary versions of relationships. The relationships that actually resulted in discussions of the universe, life, and what we are when we’re experiencing things together.