For the last forty four days I have remained off of all major social medias. Namely; twitter, instagram, and facebook. I allowed myself Pinterest, because of the wholesome content, and Snapchat; mostly to talk to elizabeth and julia. (Admittedly, I joined tiktok during lent which wasn’t part of the plan but, as they say, “it is what it is.”) Before this, I had never committed to doing a single thing that for many consecutive days. I was determined but terrified. I wrote once during lent and published it here, but I didn’t let anyone know. I put it out there without hyping it up on all my pages. It was freeing to just write something and release it, not caring where it ended up or who saw it.
Over the season of lent I tried to fill the time I would have been using on social media and put it towards acts of self-care like reading more books, journaling, making more art, writing more, watching films that you want to watch and taking up mindfulness. I bought myself a small stash of books once the libraries closed due to the pandemic that abruptly interrupted how I was experiencing lent. But for once, I was grateful to have been away during this time. Normally when things this scary happen, my body has the self-destructive instinct to read the moments about them on twitter and binge on tragedy porn. This time I couldn’t do it. My mental health has been so much better as a result of it.
I was more free to look inward and focus on myself while I was away from social media. For once, I felt truly free to form opinions as news came out that weren’t highly influenced by what others have said. I got to experience grief without feeling to urge to hold the pain of everyone I see on social media. I’m an enneagram four; so I am very sensitive and empathetic, and I tend to feel people’s pain when I read about it. But without social media, I got to focus on my own reactions. Now that lent is over, I feel full enough to help. I am full and now I can hold space for others without breaking. It felt good to establish healthy boundaries in my life and practice them.
Lent wasn’t all easy. Obviously COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way the world functions, and for a long time, my fear was winning. It was hard to get out of bed. It was hard to smile. Some days felt like they would never end. I felt exhausted. One time I even fell asleep in the middle of a therapy zoom call. Trying to learn how to do online school in a house filled with 9 other people (many of them small children) has been an adventure in of itself. Some days my anxiety got the best of me. It was terribly lonely at times; to be quarantined in my house and not able to go on social media felt like a nightmare. I had no distractions. I had so much time and I almost panicked; I’m not used to being able to rest. Learning was a good thing, but it was hard.
During those times where my anxiety is bad, I am thankful for the little things; movie nights and marathons with Miguel. Lord of the Rings trivia with my mom and the minis. Watching Community with Gordon. Sharing tiktoks with mom and Dayle. Playing Smash with Noah. Art with Lois and Anakin. I love the life I have been privileged to get to live right now. I can afford to be home and safe with the people I love and there is not a day that has gone by where I haven’t thought about that. I got to learn to be present in the moment and enjoy them as they were happening. That’s not to say I didn’t take pictures (come on. of course I did.) but I didn’t need other people to validate the beauty of those moments. They are my memories and no one else’s. It’s taught me the peace of knowing that I have a right to my privacy. It is special.
Writing and reading have been particularly special. Through these things I have able to learn more about myself. I’ve been able to ask myself; who are the person you want to be? I didn’t worry about who others wanted me to be, but who I could choose to become. It was empowering. It has not been perfect, but this time of reflection has taught me to be softer with myself. I am trying my best; that is enough. I loved making the art that I wanted to without being influenced by what is popular or what is “in.” I became more attuned to my own voice and the Holy Spirit’s gentle whisper.
Lent has given me the rest I needed for the longer journey ahead. There is more of me yet to discover. More truths to see. More writing to be done. More puzzle pieces of God to find in the world. More things to see. This is not the end. But I feel ready now. Shaky and terrified; but ready. I know I will fuck up, fall down, spiral, fight, but I also know I’ll keep going. I keep going because Jesus said, “it is finished.” I have freedom to live in the now. To live life as full as I am able. There is so much life out there to see; you won’t be able to pay attention if you’re too weary. You don’t want to miss it.