Holiday Disconnect

To keep the bad things away

So, I have decided to disconnect from social media for a while, at least during the holidays.  I’ll use it for my side hustle, teaching gym classes but I think my consistent strolling/ trolling through random accounts needs to cease.  It takes up quite a bit of time that could be used for creative purposes.  I have done this big disconnect before and it was like I was free… it was weird but I wasn’t bogged down by comparison and just lived my life.  It was a nice feeling.  Also, I was able to receive spiritual guidance more clearly.  I was able to make connections and gain revelation.  I was more focused on what was at hand, my circumstances and how to handle them.  Not that I’m a total mess when I am on social media, but I do tend to get clouded with confusion and doubt.

As a middle school teacher, I have noticed how social media can have an effect on children.  I never met so many insecure, anxious, depressed, confused demographic in my life… I have worked with high school and elementary, yet middle school is a totally different breed.  They are sneaky and manipulative, but sweet and full of compassion.  Some share there deepest thoughts with you and then others can’t say a word to you.  There is no common ground, the whole age group is hard to define.  I’m still amazed at how I can interact with them and get through to them.  So aside from their natural instinct to be hard to deal with, social media doesn’t make it any easier.  Likes, Stories, snap chat all do something to these preteens that I don’t remember going through when I was their age.  Yes, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, went through multiple friend groups, and was made fun, of and had my bouts with insecurities and still do now.  Yet, these kids today are on a totally new level, They are acting out their confusion, acting out their insecurities, acting out their anger in very non-constructive ways.  I try to find a level ground, of being a mentor and teacher, not a friend.  I have learned to create boundaries, and not give in too much because I’m not a licensed counselor, and there’s only so much I can do.  I am pretty strict as a teacher, there are rules in my classroom. I’ve learned to also ignore certain behaviors because really the student only wants attention because he/ she is not getting any at home… let me emphasize the behaviors I ignore are the bad behaviors.  Anyway, I could go on for days on the woes of middle school, but I have learned that these kids today, their confusion, insecurities have been heightened by social media.  There have been so many suicides, school shootings, fights that I had never witnessed when I was their age.  All seem to stem from social media, this need to promote self and this need to belong… this need to be feel valued.

My social media disconnect stemmed from obsessing over a boy.  Yes, my middle school mentality got the best of me.  I started to realize my light was getting dimmed every time I interacted with him. It is the start of our holiday breaks from school, and yesterday I realized after my morning chiropractor appointment, best friend from high school meet-up, yoga class, and talk with my spiritual mentor.. somethings not right with this “friendship.” Friends are there to encourage you, check in with you, this is all reciprocated on the same level of enthusiasm and love…there is no second-guessing their love for you.  I realized this friendship had come to nothing.  What was there is no longer there.  I was trying to force something that had run its course.  I was fighting for this friendship alone.   I was in this friendship alone.  Now, this is not my first rodeo.  I have been here before.   I could barely get out of bed.  My little sister had to drag me to church. And when I could finally get myself to attend service on my own… I broke down in tears, and stranger reached out to hug me. It was pitiful.  I didn’t want to let go but I knew I had to. That was years ago, much more stable now. Same situation, I don’t want to let go but I know I need to, yet this time around I actually have this newfound freedom.  A weight lifted. A knowing that I did all I could do… God will do the rest.  The big disconnect will only heighten my need to come back to myself.  The self God intended me to be.  To give out my energy to those that receive it with open arms. I wish him all the best, but I don’t want my light dimmed anymore, I want to create, accomplish all God has intended for me, and my light must shine…. even if I have to let go and Let God.

2020, is the year of vision.  I want to let go of anything that may hinder a clear vision from God.  I need HIS guidance in this exciting new year… I have actually received part of the vision… just waiting on Him.. or maybe it was actually Him waiting for me.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.   

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 

Do You, Even If…

Accountabililty partner: Did you create today?Accountability: Did you create today?

I recently went to a bible study led by one of my closet friends from college.  It’s crazy how people come into your life…some stay for a season and others stay for a while.  Those that stay for a season teach you something about yourself  and those that stay, witness your growth and walk alongside you through your transitions.  The ones that stay for a season, may encourage you from a distance or may back away from the “new” you, or rather the authentic you.  Lately I’ve witnessed and gone through some changes with friendships. One, in particular, shocked me because a newfound friendship has now come to nothing.  I had hoped it would have somehow blossomed into something beautiful.  Yet, in time it died into nothing.  We communicate but only online: texting and social media.  I have tried numerous times to see this friend face to face, IRL,  but it doesn’t seem to happen.  I am now at the point of letting go.  Not so much of letting this friend go, but my effort to connect “offline” is no more.  I don’t want to disconnect entirely from this friend, because on paper we are a pretty nice match.  We have the same interests, goals, values… yet, it is very much standstill right now.  This friend actually inspired me to go beyond my work environment and hone into my talents…  Not directly but simply being in their presence.  This friendship pushed me to grow in the arts, to create those opportunities and work towards them.  This friend was in the same ordeal as I was.  We both had this job that was in the arts but yearned to do something on our own… to build an empire.  We had even talked about building something together… I’m kind of hoping we can still build this empire and both put our egos aside.

I have also witnessed friendships changing.  A friend, who started out as a co-worker.  My relationship with this co-worker evolved when we both experienced a loss of drive in our day jobs, we started to seek joy elsewhere.  At first, we hit the pavement looking for new jobs, even open to the possibility of going back to school.  Yet, nothing panned out.  We were struggling to find peace.  Our frustrations were very vocal in conversations, and a newfound friendship started to form.  I started to get back to writing and she began a podcast with a mutual friend.  I started reading, working out, praying more… I was discovering my self outside of my work environment.  In time we both were getting our feet wet in this exciting place.  This place did not have a consistent paycheck, nor any money at all yet it brought us both joy.  We made a commitment to each other, more an accountability agreement.  “Did you create today?”

Time passed and we finished our small projects here and there and encouraged each other along the way.  I started to pull back from outings and people just to own this time to create.  Small breaks from social media did the trick… the need to compare became obsolete… well, it wasn’t so prominent as before.  Soon, co-worker/friend decided to create together.  Similar background in theater/ visual arts leads us to create a film.  In all this self-discovery, old ideas started to strip, and I started to pull back from certain people.  My desire to create became stronger… and my desire for Him, pulled me to seek moments alone.  I wanted to know more… ultimately I needed His inspiration. Also, I felt like no one could give me that clear direction… I had to do this on my own… at least for that moment. In this phase, it was hard especially when I would get a glimpse of everyone on social media.  I got distracted and put my work aside.  I had these moments quite a bit.. and in these moments I had some episodes… crying… wondering why it was not clicking for me.

The summer went by, me-time on full blast and the dynamic of friendships changed… but surprising I stayed afloat… and I managed to finish a play I started a year ago.  In finishing that project, I changed churches, (I haven’t joined this new church but the new environment is giving me that strong spiritual foundation I need right now)  and my desire to “gain access to my door beyond” has become stronger. This goes back to the bible study I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  That was The Word: “Gain access to your door beyond.”  We were asked to write down three words that came to mind after hearing that phrase.  My three words: outside of school, play, writer.  It was now time to seek beyond… to open MY door.  In breaking down the phrase, we came to the conclusion that the door is there, has been there, it was only waiting on you to open it, this door opens up to endless opportunities/ possibilities… this door is behind our fears, insecurities, doubt… access to this door takes faith, courage, and Trust in God.  It is now time for me to open this door not only to experience newness outside of myself but open this door to my authentic self.  To let go of fear, insecurities, and doubt and fully embrace me, even if I am alone for a while, even if people pull away for me, even if I am scared . It is now time to be who I was created to be: outside of school, play, writer.

 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5 NIV