Oppdatert: for 3 døgn siden
This blog post is called, "CONNECTED" and it´s themed around, you guessed it,
To get our connection bases covered, I´m going to refernce Brene Brown. The queen of connection. She explains its meaning here,
"I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued. When they can give and recieve without judgment, and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship."
This resonated with me deeply, especially in regards to this blog. That definition of connection is all I´ve ever truly desired for the people who read my blog and myself.
I consider myself a "connector" within this blog. I used to bring people together because they loved me. Now I bring people together because they love how I write. What I choose to talk about on this platform. But no matter why someone takes an interest in me, I realize the opportunity I have to foster beautiful connections, even if I barely have anything to do with it. I want to use my voice as the common thread, to help people feel seen. And more importantly, to help them see themselves.
But while people started taking more notice of my blog and it begin to grew and therefore also thrive under my observation...I found myself more disconnected than ever.
Last winter, I was at a low point. Riddled with panic nearly every day, I continually turned to my phone to get my mind off of my crippling anxiety.
Of course it rarely helped, but anything was better than being there. In the real world. With my feelings.
It was a worthy distraction it seemed at the time. That´s how miserable my real world was.
And isn´t that how all addictions start, anyway? A means of temporary escape?
What I was about to realize, was that my addiction to this particular distraction, actually began much earlier.
It´s hard for me to distinguish between the two realities I participate in.
The "real world" as I described - my daily life. The mundane. My personal relationships. Late night shower thoughts.
And the virtual world - social media. The news. The good news. The unbearable news. Even the fake ones.
I have had one foot in both, for most of my life at this point.
I am part of the first generation "raised" on the internet.
These "worlds" intertwined seamlessly, however. They were one in the same.
Instead of hanging out at the Mall after school, we hung out on Instagram.
I was participating in the real world at times, only to have something to post about on Instagram.
Having this other option, of virtual reality, wasn´t even possible in the first years of my life.
This is essentially all I know.
But were we ever supposed to know this much?
Were we ever supposed to be subjected to the worst possible things happening in every corner of the world at all times? Or the worst possible things people think about us?
In the grand scheme of things, social media as a whole and the effects from excessive use are still being researched and discovered.
I was part of the first generation raised on the internet...but I´m only 22. How will this effect us in our forties and fifties?
Though we´re still years away from those studies, I feel as though I have enough experience (*cough* trauma) to reflect, now.
And maybe save myself from the midlife crisis that would ensue when my thirst traps stop pulling in views and likes.
It became clear to me, how dependent I was on social media. On the constant stream of validation.
My self perception, only went as far as how other strangers on the internet perceived me.
My real world, I found, was only as good as whatever was happening behind my phone screen.
One was completely reliant on the other.
If I woke up to news of another sensless shooting, it was hours before I could shake it off. If I came across a particularly negative comment in my dm, I´d consider calling in sick for work.
I took all the information I was constantly refreshing, and I internalized every part of it. For 6 years.
For 6 years, I believed strangers when they told me I was full of myself. Stupid. Ugly. Undeserving.
I took that all with me. I took it as fact. I didn´t trust myself enough to disagree.
And last winter, sitting in the bathtub crying over a mean comment, I felt trapped.
I didn´t know who I was, and I didn´t know where to turn.
I usually turned to my phone to escape my feelings. But I never considered that the feeling I was running from were largely in part due to that spescific distraction from the pain.
Where was there to escape to, when both the real world, and my virtual one made me so sad?
Who was I, without my public platform? Without the constant stream of validation?
How could I create a blog that supplies endless connection, when I had never felt further away from myself?
In what could only be described as a wake up call, I knew deep down that there was only one way to find out all of these answers.
I had to disconnect, to reconnect.
Once my dependency to my phone became clear, I couldn´t unsee it.
And I was determined to do anything possible to heal it. Out of desperation. Out of survival.
I´m sure it sounds silly and rather dramatic to some, but I really took this thing seriously.
My social media sobriety.
I wanted to fall in love with the real world again.
I battled with intense emotions as a result of this withdrawal. I truly saw myself as an addict. The proof was in my muscle memory.
Even with all of my social apps deleted, my thumb would still instinctively reach up for where it used to be. 173 times a day.
It was also hard to reconcile being offline, when it felt like my social area/connections with people was dependent on being online.
I used that as an excuse a lot. That being online was socializing me. That I needed to be connected - there. On my Instagram. In my dm´s.
I needed to know what was going on. I needed to nurture this thing, tend to it everyday - or I could lose everything.
But I finally understood what I couldn´t see before. The reason it was so important for me to get off my phone and spend time alone.
I couldn´t honestly connect with people, if I wasn´t connected to myself.
Simple as that.
So instead of focusing on being disconnected from my phone, I tried to focus on connecting to myself.
And it´s been the most worthwhile journey I have ever been on.
The first thing I found, was that the real world is pretty nice. I mean really.
My subconscious fear of not being constantly validated, was replaced with the relief of hearing such few opinions about myself.
After weeks of being off social media, I had a thought.
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
We´ve all heard this philosophical question before. But I bet you´ve never personalized it.
"If a random kid in Oslo makes a Tiktok about how much he hates me and I´m not on my phone to ever see it....does it still hurt me?"
BAM. Now there´s a modern take.
It was an unsettling feeling, coming to terms with the fact that people were still talking shit whether I saw it or not.
But then I saw the whole point, and the unsettled feeling - turned into one of empowerment.
Yes, people are going to talk shit on me whether I see it or not. So why should I see it?
In the words of the great Tyler the creator,
I felt free without constantly knowing what everybody thought about everything...all of the time.
There was a real power in deciding when I would participate in the world behind my screen.
I could pop in and out, whenever I wanted. I didn´t have to ground one foot in. I now get to decide when I pull that foot out.
And I´m getting pretty good at it.
But without the constant hot takes of countless strangers filling my head, I had a lot of time on my hands.
Too much, actually.
I needed to fill that time. I needed to replace my scrolling hobbies.
I first chose to lean into yoga, something I dipped my toes into way back in Bali, 2019.
Yoga is pure mind body and soul connection.
I stopped looking at it as chore, or an exercise to cross off the list, and I began to see it for what it was.
A gift to my body.
Special, carved out time, to connect with her. To be with her. To appreciate her and the way she moves.
Yoga is where I connect with my body.
Reading is where I connect with my mind.
I stopped reading in Jr High School, coincidentally around the same time I got a cell phone.
In the first weeks of attempting to break my social media addiction, I read. I went to multiple stores and bougt several books, I even downloaded some books on my phone, so whenever I instinctively reached to tap the Instagram icon, I could make a switch to the books app instead. It worked,
and I quickly remembered why I used to love reading so much.
I loved getting lost.
Getting lost in a book, is the same thing as getting lost down a reddit rabbit hole, or getting lost with some chocolate ice cream.
It´s an escape.
It´s a whole new world.
But this one, felt like a healthy escape for me. It made my return to the real world, brighter. Profound, even.
Books weren´t an escape. They were a vacation.
Journaling is how I connect to my soul. The deepest part of me.
I went probably 10 years without writing about my life. It hurts to even admit that. I never seemed to have the time for it. It was always something I planned on "getting around to."
But in this period of trying to connect to myself, I realized I was missing out on a major channel to her.
I write now. Not to "finally get around to it," but because I need it.
I need to let out what sits trapped inside.
My unfiltered thoughts on paper are what truly brought me home to myself.
But what helped me most of all, was simlpy...walking.
That´s how I connect with the real world.
In the same way as I do with yoga, I dedicate my walk to my body. I look at it like my body is my loving, loyal dog that needs a walk every day.
I need the same fresh air. The same change of scenery. I realized that my body needed to be taken on walks.
So I started. Aimlessly at first, but now I have my own special little trail I made up. I look forward to it every time.
It was something about physically getting out into the world that had such a distinctive impact on me.
Rediscovering that the real world, the physical world, was just steps away at all times. Free to explore. To observe. To take in.
That´s what my walks turned into. Observing. Taking my time. Seeing the trees breathe. Watching the birds glide across the river.
Reminding myself that I am apart of something bigger.
Reminding myself that the real world isn´t so bad at all.
In the book ´Do Walk,´ Libby DeLana says walking, is a gesture that says, ´Welcome to right now.`
Walking is how I connected to the "now."
So, yoga, reading, journaling and going for walks. Groundbreaking stuff right? I should do a seminar.
But in all honesty, this is what worked. No bullshit.
There´s other tricks up my sleeve to stay connected. Small things like hiding my likes on my Instagram photos, I don´t want to know. I don´t need to.
I also don´t feel the need to share every thought that pops into my head, with masses of the internet. Refraining from sharing every part of myself and my mind, has made what I do share, that much more meaningful.
I know I´m connected when I don´t take things personally.
I know I´m connected, when I am excited to be on social media again. or write blog posts.
I know I´m connected when I stop asking if people like me, and start asking myself if I like them.
And the best part of being connected, is that my cup is full. My needs are met.
In fact, my cup is so full that it spills out onto everyone around me. I have a limitless amount of unconditional love to share. It doesn´t take away from my supply.
Only then, can I fulfill my role as an authentic connector.
And that is what I hope got spilled out into this thoughtful blog post. The fullness of my cup. The journey of finding my way back home to myself. Connection in all forms.
I hope you can feel it.
It took a lot of self reflection and commitment to get to this point. But I feel it, finally.
I feel connected.
And now that I finally see myself, hear myself, and value myself properly, I can do the same for everyone I have around me.
Online and in real life.