Countdown to Quitting Social Media

At the time I decided to quit social media for one year I wasn’t sure if I was making the right decision. Although I am still 11 days away I am starting to look forward to September 1st, when I stop logging in.

In the last few days I have abandoned twitter, Pinterest, linkedin and google plus.  I have also cut down the time I spend on Facebook. So far I haven’t missed any of them.  In fact when I do log onto Facebook I see the reasons I want to leave.  There are a few beautiful reasons I want to stay for.  There are some amazing friendships I have made on Facebook that I fear losing, but friendships should be stronger than Facebook.

There are also the friends who know I am leaving, and are trying to make me feel guilty for quitting. It is nice to feel loved and wanted, but I need to leave Facebook in order to honour myself.  For me giving up social media almost feels like a calling.  The thought of it both excites me and makes me nervous, but I know I have to do it.

So far my reduction in social media time has led to several things. I feel I have more time, I feel less stressed and strangely I feel more tired.  The tiredness may be several things. It might be now I am less stressed sleep in catching up with me. or it could be that I started drinking a detox tea at about the same time.

I have decided to go further than just quitting social media. I have decided to limit the time my mobile phone is on. I have started to keep it switched off for most of the day. I switch it on enough to get anything I need from it.

Because I am using the internet less I also switch the Wi-Fi of for part of the day. I have never really understood Wi-Fi signals, but I have always thought the idea a bit strange.

For me giving up social media is not simply just about quitting social media. It is about something more.  In a crazy sort of way, you could say its a spiritual quest to find myself

Living Without Social Media

living without social mediaSocial media has been something I have both loved and hated.  On the one hand it has been a major part of my life. I’ve done the logging in daily, and spending way to much time on there. I have also done the deleting the account and taking a break for it.  Neither has made me particularly happy.

When I have been a part of social media I have made some great connections. On the other hand I have also felt overwhelmed and every so slightly addicted.  When I have not been on social media I have been more productive, but also felt isolated.

I have never been the most social person in real life. Real friends are often in short supply, which may be my own fault. Before social media I lived on internet forums, and before the internet I had over 100 pen friends.

Recently I started really looking at my social media feeds. My Facebook newsfeed was full of pages and pictures that people had shared, or even just liked. I tried hiding all the pages from the newsfeed, but there were so many. Facebook did hide many of the pages, but I hid so many pages I think I confused Facebook and it still kept showing me stuff I didn’t want to see. I also realised how few people were writing their own thoughts.  I then looked at my own newsfeed and realised I was just as guilty. I had share endless, ‘interesting things,’ but few thoughts of my own.

My Twitter newsfeed was a nightmare. I was following 800+ people and it felt like everyone was shouting and nobody was listening.  I looked at the profiles of many of the people I was following and realised most of them never even looked at my profile.  I was a mere number to be yelled at.  I unfollowed many people. I knew the number of people following me would drop, but the people leaving weren’t hearing me anyway.

My Pinterest feed I loved. Yet, I also knew I did not always check where the images linked to, and many things I shared linked to sites I didn’t want to promote. There was also no connection there. It was an endless SEO adventure.

I looked at my social media feeds and realised, it just wasn’t very social. So I decided to take a break from social media. So starting September 1st 2015 I plan a year long social media break.  This meant I could resign as admin of a Facebook group I was helping with, and give them notice. It also meant I had time to alert friends I was going missing.

I realise my decision to take a year long break is probably stupid. For starters one year may end up being more like one week. I am not sure how good my will-power is. Although I have taken social media breaks before it has never been for that long.

It is also crazy from a career point of view. I want to be a full time writer and author. Read any website or book and they will push the fact that success relies on social media.  Trying to be a writer without social media is a big no-no.

So ignoring the fact that this is all crazy here is what I plan to do. On September 1st I will no longer log in to social media sites.  I will keep the accounts open. I will however start followings blogs via their newsletters, and commenting. I hope this gives me a connection social media doesn’t.  Other than that who knows where this will lead. Is it possible to live without social media? Is it a terrible idea for a writer? I guess there is only one way to find out, and I am looking forward to it.  Two weeks today and I am gone, and I will learn if it is possible to live without social media.

Judging People not Actions

Judging people is a very easy thing to do. But, today I am going to tell you a story about when I misjudged some people. One summer I was out walking.  It was early morning – around about 4am, possibly earlier.  As I have said before I love to go walking alone when the world is quiet.

On this particular morning a car shot out of a side road at speed and shot up the hill. I continued walking thinking the car was full of young, male idiots, who were probably drunk.  It was a snapped judgment, and I kind of assumed nobody would be out driving at that time unless they had been drinking.

A minute later the same car sped back down the hill and screeched to a halt alongside me.  I looked at the people in the car and I was right. There was five young males inside.  They opened the car window and asked me if I was alright.

I was surprised. For starters none of them appeared to be drunk or even tipsy. What I was really surprised at was just how concerned and caring they were towards me.  They were very reluctant to leave me, and asked me over and over again if everything was alright.

I felt completely overwhelmed by them. They cared so much. It was like a modern day version of knights in shining armour, except I did not need rescuing.

Yes, they made judgements about me. After all what kind of young woman goes out walking alone in the middle of the night. Yet, they were more worried that there was a problem or that something bad had happened to me.  They wanted to help.

I learnt a lesson that day. I had judged every person in that car based on the way the driver was driving.  Yes, the driver could have caused an accident. If I had crossed that road end at the time he flew out, he would not have seen me due to the bends, until it was to late.  Technically he was not breaking the speed limit, but yes he was not driving to the conditions. But, the judgement I should have made is that driver was not driving sensibly.  He, like me, has assumed we would be the only person on that road at that time.

The rest of the things I assumed about him and his friends were completely wrong. It was not fair of me to judge them like that. I admit I was wrong.

It did make me think, and I do now try to make sure I am judging actions not people.  People are often far nicer than we think.

I Believe in Fairies

fairiesFairies are one of those things that people think only children love. For me though fairies are something I have never stopped believing in, and I have met real fairies

The mythology and folklore of fairies can be traced back so far into history, and stories flood in from all over the world. It is hard to believe so many people who had no access to the internet or mass media could possible have the same delusions. Could so many people imagine the same thing?

Because I am a tiny person people often comment that I look like a fairy, and so for me there is a natural link to who I am and my love of fairies. I grew up in an area where fairy folklore were part of everyday life.

Believing in fairies in one thing, and filling your home with fairy items is simply classed as quirky. It is the sort of thing people smile about, as they give you a funny look.

When you get to the I’ve met fairies bit – well then you just must be crazy. Maybe I am crazy, but I do believe that I have met fairies.  I have met many fairies.

Maybe they are simple part of my imagination or maybe they are real. I am not always so sure it matters. What matters is what you feel inside. If you feel magical then it is magical.

Meeting fairies has never put me in danger. Although at times I have worried because I have met fairies who by folklore are not so nice to humans. In my head I have wondered if I am putting myself in danger and at times because of this I have rejected fairies from my life.

Yet there is something about fairies that I can relate to. I think they are misjudged and misaligned. When I look at the human world I see many lovely people who are unfairly judged.  Many untruths are spoken as truth. If that is true of the human world then why not of the fairy world too? Maybe the fairies I meet are what fairies are really like, and it is the books that are wrong.

When I say I believe in fairies I don’t just mean I believe they are real. I know they are real. I believe in fairies and I have faith in them.

Be Yourself When You are Different to Others

be yourself when you are different to othersBeing different is something I have always been, and yet have always tried to hide from others. My second earliest memory is from when I was about 18months old. My parents had taken to me to the local zoo. I remember everyone around me being so happy, and yet I just couldn’t understand why. There was a bear in pit. I remember looking down at him, and he looked up at me. I could see nothing but sadness in his eyes. I simply wanted to jump into the pit and give him a hug and tell him he was loved. To me the whole zoo was filled with sadness, and yet I was surrounded by people who did not see the zoo the same way I did.

As I started to grow up I found I loved nature. I wanted to learn everything there was to know about the natural world around me. A barn owl lived in the tree opposite my home. At night I would sit in the dark on the windowsill and simply watch him. For me it was one of the most beautiful things in the world, and so much more magical than TV.

Yet, when I went to school and was asked to write about what I had done that week, I realised nobody else did such things. So, I wrote about the most, ‘normal,’ thing I could find in my life.

Then I got to senior school, and I desperately wanted to fit in. I wanted to belong. So, I started ignoring all the things I enjoyed doing. I stopped reading for pleasure. I stopped going for walks on my own into the middle of nowhere. I stopped taking an interest in nature, and tried to care about fashion. Until then I had never shown any big interest in pop music – and suddenly I was the biggest fanatic there was.  I wanted so much to be accepted, and yet I was still bullied and rejected. And it hurt.

After that for years I felt lost. To follow my heart and to follow my soul’s calling was madness, at least in the eyes of all those people I so longed for approval. I realised many of these people were not the sort of people I wanted as friends, but at the same time I feared there harsh judgement and their rejection.

So I drifted. I met people I liked, and wanted to be friends with. Yet, I also feared making that step into a world, where I knew my former school classmates would laugh. I never fully connected to anyone, as I was always hiding a part of myself.

It took me a long time to accept  myself, but I am glad I did. I realise I have nothing to hide, and I have nothing to be ashamed off.  In fact just the opposite. I have much to be proud off and many interesting tales to tell.  I may be different to others, but I am beautiful the way I am.