Taken during an evening walk full of belly-laughs, and nothing but peace and calm in a world that feels as though it has been turned on its head (for me more directly, as it has always been turned upside for far too many of our most vulnerable), this short video is the last item I posted to my only social media account.
Some years ago, I would weave in and out of both my F@cebook and Tw!tter, deactivating either or both for months at a time. After some years of so doing, I deleted both entirely and have been without since.
F@cebook became meaningless (but now a well-documented breeding ground for the rise of certain segments of society); Tw!tter, a hellscape (though very momentarily in late Summer of 2021, I returned with a new account only to then delete it within less than two weeks).
Inst@gram is where I remained, because it was a kind space, full of photos and stories shared by those with whom I am in love, and if not in love, then by those whom I find very very interesting still. It is also where I placed my poetry and all writing for safe-keeping (95% of which, a duplicate of what I share at onefemalecanuck(dot)come, and 5% occasional other pieces of writing not kept here because they were not key to my personal storytelling).
Since the pandemic began, the nature of this last social media space shifted substantially from one of kindness to nothing but an onslaught of pain, and sadness. Occasionally, the algorithm as well as beloveds would unearth the loveliest of animal videos, or gentlest of human interactions. Too occasional for my mental health and well-being; most recently, far too occasional for my nervous system.
On March 5th, I deactivated this last space of virtual social media, about which very little remains social. While my previously public account (for purpose of giving a voice to my published works, since individuals very rarely make their way to websites anymore) has introduced me to extraordinary people with whom it is my full intention to remain in touch outside of Inst@gram, it became a distraction from my writing, while adding a new and exciting previously unexpected layer of emotional battery because of the nature of its content – a laser beam’s focus on the hate, double-standards, supremacy, and for-profit drive of dunya.
Now. While I have never been – nor do I intend on becoming – a person who buries her face pretending this world is a lovely place where there is no one experiencing pain, I have decided that to maintain the energy to keep myself, in order to keep those around me, Inst@gram – as I was using it – was simply no longer the place where I will find that information.
Meaning, I’ve chosen to return to a more old-fashioned, albeit not as streamlined means of remaining informed – books, investigative reports, works of trusted and long-standing organizations and news sites, pooled together with a critically thinking brain. (This last bit important as we continue to see the bottoming out of critical thought, while scientific fact and evidence are replaced with whatever in the world suits that individual’s experience of reality.)
Rather than a one-stop-shop, such as most of these media platforms wish to pretend they are (they are in fact no such thing, because their drive is not this, but rather the keeping of your attention span and constant time on their platform), I will take the additional possibly three minutes daily to hit several places; simply, old fashioned websites.
(Exactly as Am@zon, which I left over two years ago now; rather than going to one “marketplace,” I go to several instead. Doing the legwork myself also means I am able to shop more locally, and more ethically since again, as with social media, the intention of Am@zon isn’t to help me, but rather help itself to more of me, while taking a cut of the profits from all who enter its hallowed virtual halls, seller and buyer alike.)
In the first 48 hours after deactivating Inst@gram, my body-memory illustrated that accessing that particular space was an actually mindless gesture. Nearly half a dozen times, my finger tap-tap-tapped its way to the app in question before remembering that I’m deactivated; half a dozen times, my hate for the application increased.
I’m excited to have stepped out of the algorithm. Equally, I’m pleased to have this site which neither creates, nor feeds the addiction to receiving “Likes” (or even comments, as I turned those off long ago). I cannot express how much lighter I feel to receive the news and analysis at very specific and mindfully sought out times. Mostly, I am over the moon to return home, and write here, quietly, and reflectively, at my own pace, rather than inconsistently and in fragmented manner through Stories and Posts and Inst@gram Reels.
Which brings me to you.
It has been repeatedly illustrated that the practice of mindfulness is a key component of healthier living. Ask yourself if your social media practices are contributing to, or diminishing from this healthier life. Also ask yourself What purpose(s) does any given social media platform serve in [my] life, and if there is an alternative means by which to have these requirements met. Because make no mistake about this – social media giants are not interested in your health and well-being; rather, their intention is for you to remain within the loop which they create for you, because this is how they continue to grow their profits.
The only person responsible for your keeping, is yourself. Make sure to take as good a care of you, as you deserve, and as God intended. Because we will be asked how we spent our time on this earth.
Thank you. Love you. Owe you.
Update, March 15: It was recommended that I reactivate my Inst@gram account to ensure it’s not permanently deleted, and so I’ve done just that. Until I figure out how/if I might use it in a way not detrimental to my well-being, I’ll keep it ‘alive’ but inactive.