Social Media Detox
During my two week trek through the Annapurna Circuit I have decided to disconnect. This means no social media or usage of WIFI. No email, Facebook, messenger, Instagram, etc. I went completely off the grid. Just me, Jesse's backpack and the Annapurnas. I know it sounds crazy given I'm a blogger and social media is a must if I want to create a bigger following, but the truth is I needed a break. I needed to disconnect from all things and outlets to bring me back to what truly matters. I needed to start to remember the good in life again. I needed to reflect on the moments and memories I have from my past, remember the people that have been brought into my life and most importantly I needed to start living in the present moment rather than through the glowing screen of my phone. It's so easy to become distracted and completely engaged with the internet world when there's a world right in front of your face. There are conversations, learning experiences, people and many other things that pass you by when you are constantly on your phone.
It's crazy the first thing people ask about when arriving to a new place is the WIFI password rather than the person's name. I'm guilty of this as well. I never realized how much I was on my phone until I decided to do this cleanse. When we get to a new place everyone gets on their phones. When we are at meals everyone is constantly messaging or searching the World Wide Web for something. It's crazy how big of an impact social media and the internet has on our lives.
Let's start with eating disorders and social media. The act of comparing never stops with all the pictures of models and girls in bikinis you see while flipping through your Instagram or Facebook. What the western world sees as a beautiful model is a stick thin skeleton. This my friends is unrealistic. Women are all shapes and sizes. There isn't a one size fits all for body types. Everyone is unique and different in their own way. As I struggled with my eating disorder I barely wore bikinis or revealing clothing, let alone posting photos on social media. I was ashamed because I didn't look the same as the women I was seeing in the photos. I wasn't proud of who I was or my body type. When I started traveling, I realized it's who you are as a person, how you carry yourself and how you treat others that's important. Many backpackers don't care what you look like as long as you are a good person. When I flip through Instagram and Facebook I have to actively practice nonjudgment and I encourage you to do the same. The constant focus on other people's lives instead of your own can be harmful without you even noticing. These days I try to find motivation in my friends' posts. I comment on how happy they look or what a beautiful place they are in. As I have said before in a previous entry it's about changing your mindset and focusing on the positives.
As I reflect on this past year I realize that although it has been the worst year yet I am so lucky to have so many people that care about me. Without my support system and Jesse's support system I would never have been able to jump on that plane to Nepal and experience something new again. I have people that root for me. I have a support system that genuinely cares and just with that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. The way I communicate with most of my friends and family is through Facebook messenger, but I'm sure they'll understand where I'm coming from when I say I needed this time out. I needed to experience the good on this planet again, to see that the good really does outweigh the bad.
Jesse's passing has been extremely public and with that comes heaps of abnormalities. On a daily basis there are new news articles, comments, documentaries, petitions, etc that come out from all kinds of sources. All of these focus on the negatives instead of the happy go lucky, handsome, funny man I knew and loved. The constant reminders and inconsistencies from certain sources that are published blurred my reality and kept me from healing properly. It still blows my mind how inconsiderate some people have acted since losing Jesse, but that's where karma comes into play or so I hope.
I took these two weeks to talk to Jesse on the trail everyday. I still wonder if it was me that pushed him to commit suicide. If me leaving and traveling around after Australia caused him to delve deeper into his PTSD and depression. I wonder if I would responded differently to his last message if he would still be here. Boy do I wish he was still here. I miss his laugh. I miss talking to him all the time. I miss us being together. I miss him. I know there will always be a piece of me with him and I'm okay with that that. His passing with impact my life in many ways given he is the first man I truly loved. He made me feel beautiful and whole. He respected me and loved me. He made me laugh and definitely pissed me off sometimes, but that's the give and take of love isn't it?
I guess I question what love is anymore because if he truly loved me he wouldn't have done this to me. He wouldn't have left me with a lie thinking he was okay. He would have told me. Wouldn't he have? A lot of people say time heals all wounds, but it hasn't gotten any easier. I miss him more every day and the same questions run through my mind since the first day I found out he left this wonderful planet. What could I have done to save him? Was it me that made him do it? Was I not enough? Why did he do it without telling me? Why did he leave us like this? If all things happen for a reason what's the reason for his death? Why was the last time I got to give him a kiss was to his corpse? How is any of this fair? With suicide the grieving process is like a rollercoaster of emotions and unanswered questions. As I have said before I'm trying to hold on tight and keep those who support me and loved him as much as I did close by.
When I was walking alone the other day the night of going to the funeral home came into my mind... It was already the roughest couple of days meeting with the Chaplin and explaining to him who Jesse was, but seeing Jesse lifeless in that casket was gut wrenching. He was still unbelievably handsome. I thought at any moment he would open his eyes and say, "Hey babe." It was jarring to see him and feel his cold hands, play with his hair and kiss his forehead. It felt like the second worst day of my whole life. The first being the day I heard the news, but this day at the funeral home actually made it real.
If anything, this journey through the Himalayas has taught me that this world is huge and we occupy only a small part of it. You need to focus and take care of yourself first and foremost because no one is going to do that for you. Do what makes you happy, even if people try to tell you otherwise. Trust and believe that you are being the best person you can be. You need to have faith in yourself that even in the lowest of lows you'll be able to push through. People are brought into your life for a reason and I believe Jesse and I's love will stay with me forever. He made me a better person. He made me feel beautiful and loved and now I hope that Jesse is looking out and protecting me from above. I carry his backpack, wear his socks and the necklace I made with his initials on it everyday to help comfort me in believing parts of him are here with me. Although I'd much rather have him sitting next to me sharing a yak cheese sandwich these things will have to do.
Nature can heal you, social media cannot. I am a number one fan of getting outside and being active. When any of my loved ones have a bad day I would always encourage them to get outside. Go for a walk, go to the beach, do something where you can breathe the fresh oxygen into your lungs and see Mother Nature work it's magic. If you sit behind the glowing box of a TV, computer or phone screen all day you are doing yourself an disservice. It is not natural to solely focus on this other dimension that is truly made up, full of filters and people hiding behind the screen. If you truly think about it, most of the work by modern day bullies is done online. Bullying and judging others is easier because of the internet. There is always a con that comes with a pro.
During this time the only time I used my phone was to journal, listen to music or take photos. It was truly an eye opening and healing experience. I realized how much time I spent on my phone. I read more, I meet and talk to more people, I see more. I notice the massive eagles that fly by or the butterflies that follow me along the trail. I notice certain rock formations and pay attention to the interaction between locals. I love the life of disconnecting. Although I know I have reconnected now and that's why you are reading this, I am grateful to have made the choice to forego using internet for the last two weeks. This time has allowed me to remember the good instead of the bad. It has reminded me how lucky I am to wake up everyday with the ability to trek far distances at high altitudes. The connection between your mind, body and soul should be focused on without the influence of media. Maybe it's time for everyone to take a few days off. It's a challenge, but I promise you will gain something positive from it.