Today, I’m putting pen to paper to recount a journey that’s shaped the last few years of my life. It's a story that started with a whisper, a newborn cradled in my arms, and a mind tangled in the chaos of social media.
Maybe you aren’t a total compulsive phone user like me. Maybe you are. I’m writing this for the people who have felt a pull to step away from social media for a while, but just want to hear about someone else’s experience.
Why did I start
Let me set the scene of where I was at in my life when I finally had had enough. I was 23 years old and for the previous 10 years, I had spent countless hours of my life on social media.
This is one of my first Myspace photos from when I was 12.
When I was 15, my best friend gifted me a 5 year journal. Every day it would ask me a different question and I would write a little answer to it. Each january 12th it would ask, “What would you like to spend less time doing?” and every year that I happened to open that journal on January 12, I would answer it the same way.
2012 “I want to spend less time on my phone.”
2015 “I want to spend less time on my phone.”
2018 “I want to spend less time on my phone.”
2019 “I want to spend less time on my phone.”
2020 “I want to spend less time on my phone.”
I had tried all the things to will this goal into existence, and nothing was working. I was getting fed up with myself. I wanted to delete social media forever like an alcoholic would avoid a sip of their vice at all costs.
The problem? My husband was in school and all of our income was coming from my art business that solely relied on Instagram. Nevertheless, and I cant find any other way to explain this, my soul was dying and was begging me to save it. To heal it.
One morning, I was looking into my newborns eyes while pondering about this dilemma. In what is my usual chaotic brain, iI received a very clear and organized thought that i know came from God.
“Carly you can choose to love two out of these three things but if you try all three, you won’t succeed.
- Your new child
- Your art
- Your social media”
Clearly, my first love would be my child. Wait… but was it? Was social media taking me away from him?
Surely I would choose art over social media…But was I? Was I consuming more than I was creating?
The realization hit hard. Was I giving my best to the things I truly valued? Was social media consuming more than it was giving? That inner tug-of-war demanded resolution.
So, I took a leap of faith. Six months without social media. It felt like stepping into the unknown, a risk that could jeopardize my art business built on pixels and likes. But that small voice, that soulful plea for healing, was undeniable.
This prompting gave me the strength to say “F it. If I lose my business, at least I’ll have listened to my soul.”
Another thought that encouraged me was, “you’ve spent 10 years on social media. You’ll probably spend another 50 years on social media. What is a 6 month break in the grand scheme of things? NOTHING.”
Those six months, they transformed me. It was a mental cleanse, a detox that revealed a clarity I hadn’t known in years. Looking back at the past three years, I’ve spent a total of 18 months away from social media, and the impact on my mental well-being, relationships, and creativity is undeniable.
Exiting that digital realm was akin to freeing myself from a toxic boyfriend. Only after stepping away did I truly grasp its toll on me. The revelation, once I detached, was staggering.
Yet, this is just the prologue. What unfolded during those six months? The results were nothing short of profound. In my next blog post, I'll dive into the nitty-gritty of the transformations that occurred when I turned my back on social media. It’s a tale that might spark a flame in your heart, nudging you to consider your own digital journey.
read part 2/3 titled "What happened when I went off social media for 6 months"