Balancing life with social media

Computers and internet are great inventions. Anything and everything can be answered with the click of a button. But there are tradeoffs. Nowadays, I can’t go anywhere without my phone. I can’t qualify it, but it just feels like I’d be missing out on something, a text, a phone call, not being able to immediately look up a piece of information (although how important could that really be anyway?).

Before arriving in Japan, we were told that there wouldn’t be wifi at the place where we were staying and honestly, I was quite relieved. Here was a place where I would be forced to be alone or at least alone with the people around me. Turns out, we do have wifi here. It was exciting at first, to be able to call my parents if I needed to, to connect with the outside world, to be able to blog even. Obviously it was convenient to be able to take care of some of the work that I needed to deal with as well.

But… social media. I honestly feel obligated to keep up with the workings of the outside world. To connect with people so that when I return to real life, I’ll still have some friends left. But there are so many problems with social media. Of course there have been studies that being on Facebook actually makes you an unhappier person. People post their fun and who they’ve been hanging out with and where they have been. For me, I think its a matter of being able to see what I’ve been left out of.

And then there’s chatting online. I don’t think its ever been said aloud, but being the last person to write back kinda sucks. To be quite honest, whenever I write to someone, I have a very vague but real worry that they won’t write back. Because maybe they just don’t care enough about me. Ugh, and read receipts are the absolute worst. There is no way to make me more frantic about checking over and over again wondering if someone suddenly decided that they hate me. Typically, the reality is that someone read the message, didn’t have time to write back, and later forgot about the message. But my insecurities take over long before I have time to think things through logically, at which point I become obsessive as fuck.

So now I don’t really know what to do. I feel like if I don’t communicate, everyone will just end up forgetting me, realizing how unimportant I was to their life. But social media also makes me anxious like no other.

I wish I was secure enough with myself not to care about stupid things like this, but I do.

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Learning to Lose Control

I haven’t written in a while. Some of this stems from the black hole that Williamstown creates when it is sucked into a polar vortex containing approximately six hours of sunlight a day, thus encouraging the 2,000 students that remain on campus to enter hibernation. The other part was me wallowing in self pity for coming down the seasonal flu for the third year in a row, complete with vomiting. During this time, I discovered that I enjoyed way too much the joys of having a month with no obligations except for the task of finishing as much of Netflix as possible. I’m sure I’m not the only one to get down in the dumps over the winter season. After all, its only natural when the majority of the year is filled with the stresses of finishing the night’s paper before the midnight deadline while attempting to simultaneously study for your midterm for your 8:30 the next day. Then there’s the question of your future, your summer internship or studying for the MCAT or LSAT or GRE or deciding what to do with your life, while trying to make sure you don’t end up alone and living with cats in the future.

And that’s part of it. I worry about being alone. Its not having friends or family that I worry about. It is the fact that no matter how many people I surround myself with, no one is going to be responsible for my life but myself. I am only starting to realize this fear now, but growing up, my parents and family were responsible for making sure I got through school, made the right friends, didn’t end up in juvie, and basically stayed on the right path. After getting my drivers license, like so many other teenagers, I started going out on my own, finding jobs when I needed money, and finally going off to college and living essentially on my own for the first time. Now I feel free. I feel happy. I have friends that I consider my family. And yet I feel more alone than ever. Although we all face the same challenges, I am ultimately responsible for what I become in the future and every decision that I make from now until then affects what I become and what happens to me. I feel like this is part of why I am so scared, why I often self-sabotage and don’t go for the things that I want, and why I put off what I need to do.

I know there are those cliches that say “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” or that every mistake makes you stronger, but I feel like sometimes it is these sayings that make me regret so much of the past rather than looking toward the future. A facebook friend of mine shared a quote from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline the other day saying “Sometimes it’s okay if the only thing you did today was breathe” and it really struck me. Not every moment in life need to go toward that destined future for greatness. If you waste a day or a week or even a month wallowing in self-pity as I sometimes do when my mental health is feeling unstable, there is no need for regrets. And with this cycle, if you start regretting the fact that you are regretting, take a deep breath and let it go.

I have to admit that I have lived a very uptight life, striving for perfection in everything I do, not to say that it ends up perfect because most of the time, it doesn’t. And most of the time, its because I’m being a control freak with my life. You know those times when you have a list of work to do and it just feels so overwhelming so you just beat yourself up for staring at it for the past hour and not doing it? Don’t do it. If you have a little bit of time, set an alarm on your phone for five minutes and do what you want to do. Lie in bed and listen to music. Go poop. Don’t play flappy bird (trust me). Look up a short youtube video that makes you smile. Just breathe and put a smile on your face. But don’t hate on yourself. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or just take some time to cry. Whenever I have what I consider a life crisis or hit some hurdles in life, I beat myself up for not being able to get over it. I try to control my feelings, but I’m starting to learn that its okay to lose control once in a while. Not every problem has to be fixed right away. If you have something that’s bothering you, write it down. If it is a person that is bothering you, write down what you are feeling then go talk to them. Think of the worst possible scenario and I guarantee it will never be that.

If you read this far, thanks for listening to my brain ramble. I have hit a few bumps in my life recently and I’m still working on trying to be okay with losing control. I know it’ll take time, and that’s okay. If you wanna help me out, comment below with some youtube videos that make you laugh.

Metta.

Learning to Love Myself (All of Myself)

I’ve always been told that everyone has their own insecurities and that everyone thinks of themselves as imperfect in some sort of way.  But growing up, I felt for the longest time that everyone was so much more beautiful than me and I longed to have someone else’s body, any body but mine.

I was diagnosed with eczema at birth, atopic dermatitis in scientific terms, but to me, it meant itchy nights with no sleep, waking up bleeding with raw skin and oozing rashes covering my entire body. It meant that as a baby, my parents sometimes had to cover my hands when I slept so that I wouldn’t scratch. It meant that it hurt to shower and even sometimes just to move. It meant that when I finally started going to school, I tried to cover up as much of my skin as possible so that nobody else would see how ugly I was. It hurt that I had cuts in my skin that were constantly infected, but what hurt even more were the stares that I got whenever someone saw my rashes and asked questions like why I was risking infecting others with poison ivy by not covering up my skin (that’s not even how poison ivy works).

Through the years, I discovered that my true friends didn’t care what I looked like because they liked me for being me. But I still longed to be beautiful, to have perfect skin, to be able to show off my body at the beach. When the eczema finally spread to my face, as it often does, I had had it. I holed myself up in my room refusing to go out unless absolutely necessary and my anxiety reached an entirely new level (which obviously did not help my skin). Eventually, I got better with the help of a very controversial medication and believe it or not, some blessed water from a monk, along with some prayer and meditation.

Image

My lovely face eczema in recovery.

 

This was only last year, and to this day, I still check the mirror when I wake up just to make sure my rash hasn’t returned. It seems no matter how hard I try, I still have trouble overcoming the materiality of my physical appearance (no matter how shallow that sounds). I have made a few revelations following my experience at IMS. My winter break was filled with an extremely ugly period for my skin where I would wake up every two hours at night with bloody sheets and cuts in my skin. I’ll be honest, I stayed in the house mostly out of comfort because it hurt for me to move. But I had time to think that I could be so much worse off. While we were at IMS, the teachers commented that we were lucky just to be able to be there because so many people have not had the opportunity. And as I lay in bed moaning in misery, I remembered that I had a home, I had parents and friends who loved me, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a college like Williams, and I was young with a life of so many possibilities. Its true that often times I still end up feeling sorry for myself and conveying this misery on other people, but I have realized how important it is to gain some perspective, to look at the positivities in my life, since after all, brooding in misery was doing absolutely nothing for me. I can’t say that I no longer care how I look or what other people think of me. But I am starting to learn that the first step is finding the beauty in myself and learning to love who I am.