It’s been about 3 or 4 months since I decided once and for all that a life lived with any sort of proximity to social media could never fully be mine.It could never feel like ‘my life’ because at the least for the moment, the best thing I can do for my soul is to live disconnected. It would not feel like ‘my life’ because I would know deep down that I would be betraying myself, that I would be withholding from myself what I really needed, and ultimately would be a choice made from the values and priorities of others. It would not feel like ‘my life’ because it would be carved out of the desires, culture and needs of friends and family far away at best, and strangers on the internet, at worst.
It would never feel like ‘my life’ because increasingly, in the months leading up to my knowing that this was a path I would have to take, ‘my life’ on social media had very little to do with MY life. It was a carefully and strategically curated slice of the parts of me that I thought people wanted to see, know, or relate to. It wasn’t a lie – it just wasn’t whole. I was presenting only bits and pieces, and eventually I started to notice how I was unknowingly leaning into living in bits and pieces too.
In the end, what pushed me across the threshold of this decision was the realization that I couldn’t live in two places or in two moments at once. I could not be in my own body, with my own soul in the time and place I was in (whether that was alone in the woods, on a date with my husband, with a mouthful of delicious food, admiring a painting I had created, or with one of my children and their big, scary feelings) AND within the ‘life’ I had curated online.
For as much as I had tried, I just couldn’t get it right.Don’t worry – this isn’t a soapbox moment against social media, you go ahead and do you. Instead, consider it an invitation to consider the ways in which you might more fully inhabit your own life. What are some of the ways, areas, or slices of life that you feel like aren’t fully YOURS? Is there any part or moment of day or week which you feel like is carved out of or shaped by the needs, values, priorities, or desires of someone other than you?
Are you living in dissected slices, pieces rather than wholly, as your entire self?
Do you feel pulled out of your real life, body present in one moment (in the woods, with your partner, alongside your children, with your art), while your mind anxiously flutters around in another? My personal decision about social media was never about social media per se, it was about learning to take up all the space that exists for me in my one, beautiful, messy, and real life.
I wonder what kind of a decade I would have had, had I learned to fully embody my life 10 years ago, and I marvel at what the coming decades hold as I learn to be more present in my own life.
I wonder what the world would become, if its women learned to take up all the space they were offered, and if they felt comfortable inside it.
I wonder what would happen if YOU embraced your space, claimed your life as your own and simply LIVED in it.
The Journey by Mary Oliver
One day you finally knewwhat you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice- though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do- determined to save the only life you could save.
Lauren da Silva has been a mother and entrepreneur for over 10 years and helps other women just like you overcome co-dependency and people-pleasing, and reclaim their power to succeed in life and business. Connect with her at laurendasilva.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org