I’ve embarked on a media cleanse. All sorts of media, social, news, the lot of it. I subscribe to a few newsy newsletters and I’ll skim those, but my habit of filling every spare moment with news has had to stop.
Originally it was because the news is quite crappy, actually. But the real reason is my realiance on filling spaces. Waking up? Coffee and the New York Times. Going to the loo for 30 seconds? Bring the phone and skim the headlines. Commercial break on TV, check if someone has commented or messaged me. Waiting in line anywhere? ON MY PHONE DOING SOMETHING. It’s relentless.
When I was a kid, I suffered from extreme boredom and loneliness. As an adult, in the age of smart phones, none of us has to feel bored or alone. Not ever. So I traded empty spaces with my phone. I said “there’s no way I’ll ever be bored again!” Boredom haunts me. It triggers me. I’m also the person who starts conversations, fills the silences.
I’m done with being that person. I want to hear the silences, to hear what’s in the space in between that we all fear so much. And it is fear. The fear of being with ourselves.
This easy accessibility of information is turning us into the kinds of people that a handful of billionaire men want us to be. Wired. Attentive to their every need and whim. Well, this chick refuses to be in your thrall any longer, boys.
And it’s hard. Really hard. Scrolling is such an easy way to pass the time. I scroll Facebook, Instagram, the papers. I even read them. But as my therapist once asked me, why am I seeking out the stories that make me angry, that trigger me? That confirm my biases? What am I looking for?
And it’s fucking connection. It’s to feel like there are others who get me, think like me, are like me. But you don’t get that by scrolling.
And yet it’s so satisfying. So easy. And, of course, by reading the New York Times I get to show people that I’m “really smart” and “such a reader”. Ugh, just writing that makes me cringe. But it’s true.
So who am I now? How do I fill my time? Do I even need to fill my time?
It’s a work in progress. I’m a work in progress.