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What Happened When I Unplugged From Social Media

Everyday, I find myself waking up, and the first thing I do is reach for is my phone. It’s like clockwork: turn off alarm, social media, repeat, repeat, repeat. Social media passes the time, giving me unlimited videos and photos that I can gawk at and wish I was doing anything remotely like I was seeing. This cycle repeated until it was getting to be too much. I was wishing for my body to look like some girl I saw on my dash on Instagram. I was wanting to do makeup as good as the girl in a YouTube video. It was becoming the comparing game, and I found myself losing every time I looked. I was falling victim to my own words hurting me, and I was falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of the “perfect” girls.

That was until I decided to unplug. July 1st, Canada Day. I was watching the fireworks, wanting so bad to take a video but at the same time wanting to look up at them and just being amazed. Looking around in the crowd of red and white clad people who were all watching behind their screens, I couldn’t help but think, “You don’t see how big the fireworks actually are.” They were a mere couple of centimetres on the screen barely showing the small bursts of lights that could only be seen off screen. I realized in that moment, I am so un present in my life. I was missing so many little moments.

That night, I decided to make my final post of the summer.

I deleted all my other post on Instagram, leaving one single picture on my account. I was free, kinda.

It took some getting use to. Not going on social media was a challenge for a girl who spent every other moment trying to know what was going on with her favourite celebrities and other people's lives. I had to find other ways to fill my time.

That’s when I started doing things for myself, pushing myself to be the best me I could be. I started going to the gym instead of wishing I was going to the gym. I started looking into a career I always wanted to be in and how to get to it. I pushed myself until I wasn’t even thinking about what was going on on my Instagram dash. I found I had so much more to live for. I was living in the moment. I was finally starting to be happy with myself. Seeing my improvement and moving on from this insecure girl trapped by her dash envy.

Midsummer, I decided maybe I could look just to see what I was missing out on but only for a mere 5 minutes tops. When I got on my Instagram, I was greeted with an overwhelming amount of information that made me anxious. I didn’t even keep the app open for the 5 minutes I allotted myself. It was too much. I felt like I did before I went on my break but worse now with the mass amount of information on people and things I hadn’t seen in so long, and  I didn’t know how to react. I just closed the app, and the overwhelming anxiety was gone in an instant.

I didn’t realize how much social media was ruling my life. I thought that it was a fun way to pass the time, even though at the bottom of my stomach I could feel something was not right with being on it all the time. When I took my break, I felt freer. I felt like I wasn’t missing anything, and for once, I wasn’t anxious over anything and was being truly me.

Since the summer, I have logged myself back onto social media, started posting, and creating a theme as most do when they start all over again. But instead of constantly being on social media, I find myself being less dependant on the likes, as I find that that my dash doesn't fill up my time like it use to. I hardly go on for more than 5 minutes at a time. I find I am just enjoying me. The likes and the mind games I was playing on myself disappeared. I found I feel happier when I am not constantly looking at the instagram models, focusing on the likes, on my theme, or on anything but myself.

This summer I unplugged, and I found a happier version of me.

Kalie Tulan

U Alberta '21

I am currently getting a double major in Linguistics and Drama. I enjoy pushing myself in new creative ways, I find Her Campus pushes me to be more creative everyday.
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