October, Thirty-One Days-No Instagram
By Melissa Marie
For the month of October, I ceased to exist on the only social media platform that I deem as “social media” for me that is with the exception of Facebook. I have two accounts, Ione is for this website and the other for posting for personal selling, not a single friend on there and even then in the near future my blogger account may be deleted since I rarely check in.
Adding to that I do not regard Youtube, Pinterest nor Snap Chat as social media platforms and here is why.
Youtube, serves as a great tool for me to learn from others. It is as though I am in a “meeting” of sorts because I learn new things every single day. No Joke.
Pinterest, well if you aren’t familiar with what Pinterest is, it is like an online magazine that you can clip interesting articles, picture visuals of inspiring things like home decor quote’s etcetera.
So, being on Pinterest keeps my mind sharp as I read other’s articles or pin visuals of clothing, faith, home and become inspired to be better.
Snap Chat, I have about 10 people and 5 are family the others are very close friends who live far away.
It is so much better than a phone call because you can see your loved ones daily and feel as though they are at your home. I share very informal things with my friends and family and it keeps us feeling close.
So, Instagram was my biggest challenge because it was a daily habit.
I went through withdrawals only for about a week but the greatest problem that I have seen was that my writings reached fewer people.
That made me sad because of some days, it seemed no one in the interweb knew I even wrote an article.
However, I must say that around the home I did accomplish more than I thought possible.
Every time I would snap a photo, I would think, “Oh this needs to go on Instagram, I finally have something post-worthy”. But on the other hand, found myself relishing the fact that I could appreciate the moment and not have to post about my experiences, and boy, there are many!
What in the world did I do with my life with no check in’s to social media?
I focused more on my health by being more present and engaged in trying to recover rather than just existing while I numbed my visual mind with pictures.
Please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong with Instagram but when it is no longer a tool to fuel your creativity then it is time for a break.
A lovely devoted friend drove me 2.5 hours away to have doctor’s appointments where I had an EEG done on my brain, two CT scans, and multiple episodes. My doctors were able to observe and video me during these episodes.
I don’t know why but they say not to stress, but somehow naturally I feel stressed under tubes, videos and barrels of radiation. It is a lonely road even with all the support I have.
I was able to not grab my phone and scroll (because I had deleted the Instagram App off of my phone) but instead talked with the staff, tried to relax and dreamed of getting better and if I did not, I figured out a plan.
The plan is still the same, to adapt my adaptations.
I was keenly aware of what was triggering my seizure type episodes and this helped my doctor’s with their notes. I usually would be glued to my phone, but since I was not as distracted, I was able to be active in my own health.
I realized that I finally do have a great team of doctor’s working hard.
So for the first time in sixteen years, I do not feel as though I am on a run around with treatment.
I have been walking better, some days without my cane so I have been able to become stronger in my legs without being so wobbly.
My dog especially appreciates the walks more than anything since we aren’t as cooped up.
I actually said yes to adventure!
My husband last year had signed up for this full marathon in an itty bitty town that is sooo far away called Marathon Tx.
I had an episode on the drive there, that almost broke my neck. It hurt so bad but I am being overly dramatic here, I just had severe soreness from having one. Medicines were in place and my husband blasted the air conditioning to cool my body down, so flying down the highway there we were adapting our adaptations.
Needless to say, I was on a carpet ride.
Upon reaching Marathon in the late afternoon, there was no cell phone reception so we were immediately unplugged unless you had a satellite phone. We did not.
The sun was setting after picking up the race packet so we scurried to our hotel in Alpine because if you did not know Pecos County is one of two of the darkest places in the USA.
The 30 or so mile stretch between Alpine and Marathon are just desert, deer, elk and wild things except we did stop at Target.
The night sky was sparkling with diamond-like twinkles but we could not get to enjoy it as much as we desired as we rushed to get to bed for the race the next morning.
The morning of the race I snapped so many photos and thought, “oh these are so Instagram worthy! I am actually traveling!”
Instead, I just looked at my photos and relished the moment in real time as I looked up and around me.
We had to drive slowly from Alpine back to Marathon because at 4:15 a.m. it is still black as night, not a dawn in the sky yet.
The finish line was in front of the Gage hotel and since I could not drive back to Alpine I lounged in the Gage hotel and was welcomed in by the staff. The place was abuzz with travelers from all over Texas telling of their runs around the country or if this was their first and so on.
You could feel the excitement in the room as stragglers came down the creaky stairs of this homey hotel. The decor was a Spanish style meets Texas western and it was stunning.
It was roomy, there was coffee, muffins and fruit served and everyone was in a pleasant, expectant mood.
The school buses arrived at 6 a.m. to take full marathoners to the starting line. I felt proud. Proud to be a part in some small way even if it was to snap pictures and wait 6 hours until he finished running.
I prayed and hoped his feet would carry my husband the distance with no injury.
So for 4.5 hours, I walked around (more like up and down one street)the town of about a population of five hundred people.
The librarians had quilts, crochet hats, dolls, knitted things to sell to fund their small library. This hobby is becoming a dying art and I wish would make a huge comeback.
I walked to the Oasis Cafe, where no TV or radio played as Susie took my order for a breakfast burrito, there were only two diners eating in silence as we exchanged our greeting.
It was like stepping back in time. For a television reference, it was a real Mayberry, kind folk, slower time, beautiful views, and real interaction.
A time of slowness where everyone knew each other’s names and said hello with full eye contact.
***Sigh….it was lovely.
On my way back to the Gage hotel there was an elderly man with a dog with no leash ( I cannot remember the last time I saw a dog with his master with no leash) who sat by his side and every time we cheered for the runner’s coming into the town toward the finish line the dog would bark his cheer. This made me laugh out loud.
This was no staged set, this was real life happening. Was I missing this much in my day to day when I was scrolling through feeds online?
I think I was and am.
I hobbled past a woman who started her own humane society for animals and had quilts and vases for a raffle or you could just make whatever donation into a bucket and take what was on the table.
In the city, people would possibly rip her off but she was so trusting.
My minimalist heart gushed over this purple quilt that made me nostalgic for my early youthful days when my Grandmother bought me a beautiful one made of every shade of purple possible. I kept that blanket till it fell apart.
Just the day before I had reached for a $20 since it was a small quilt, but my husband insisted I let it be raffled and buy tickets instead to allow others the chance.
I reluctantly agreed and she sold more raffle tickets because of the full table of goodies and more dogs were adopted!
That made me happy. Susie rushed out of the cafe as I awaited my order saying that she was just texted that she won a raffle.
I don’t know how because I could not even receive nor send a text. Maybe they had satellite phones? It did not dawn on me to ask until now but it is okay. I did not need anything.
As I made my way back to the Gage Hotel, I ran into Susie and the beautiful purple quilt. I told her my story and she said it made her feel good because she also was going to give it to her granddaughter for her 5th birthday! I am sure she will love it.
Although I did not win, it felt as if I did. I made real connections with people and was able to be a part of their life’s storyline even if only for a day.
People on the sidelines stared at me because I was the only person with a cane and at my age, it looks quite questionable until you see my legs to the two-step for one.
It is okay though I only did the trek once, the rest of the time I sat in the lounge rooms of the Gage Hotel.
*These photos are from the GageHotel.com website and are not my own.
Back at the Gage, I retrieved the newspaper from my backpack that on the way out I had snatched off the hotel lobby table in Alpine
I cannot remember the last time I actually read the actual news in print. Real paper, real ink. When did I think it was okay to stop my subscription? I miss it.
I read, took my shoes off and laid my feet on the ottoman and got to know other people in the lobby that came to sit by me. We even exchanged numbers ( elderly women, not men) to get together when they came by where we live for a meal out. It was surreal how much putting my phone away was changing my life in one weekend.
I shot this photo on the early 7:30 sunrise at the Gage to remind me of the peace I felt by slowing down. Go ahead look a bit longer and you can almost imagine yourself there rocking to the sounds of the birds singing and your chair just a creaking.
I did not realize how much cutting the Instagram would inspire to call people instead of text and to really think outside the box on things. I thought about my husband and our future together.
I thought about the blog and how I kept trying to find my niche, the answer is, I don’t have one. My niche if you need a category is about living the best possible life, learning when to say yes, and no simultaneously as needed.
It is about the life of a chronic woman just stepping into life and saying, my niche is writing. That is it, plain and simple.
This blogger (me) will be unpredictable, slow, traveling, sick, spontaneous, vivacious, a gardener, a wifey, a good person and try to be humble but bold in my beliefs. I will write the truth with integrity and deliver from my heart and if the day comes that I don’t then the blog will cease to exist. I created my own niche, writing because my heart asks me too.
The Finish Line
Now, on October 31st of 2018, I am at the finishing line of my Instagram ban. I already have my boundaries in place on how much I may check it and how it will be used. √ However, I am excited to return and add to the creativity to inspire others.
The 26.2-mile finish line crushed, HE DID IT! Mr. Fashioned Man came in strong!
I was there, cane and all cheering him on with tears in my eyes. He is such an inspiring creature, I don’t know how I got so lucky that I get to watch him add the crazy to this life that we share. I know enough of the gushy stuff, but man 26.2 miles, I still cannot wrap my brain around the idea of running let alone walking that far!
He said the key was to pace yourself even when you don’t see the finish line for hours. Changing his words for everyday life, even when we don’t know what the future holds just pace yourself, you will make it. One foot in front of the other, the hardest part is just doing it. Now go be a better you. October has been so eventful emotionally, physically and mindfully.
I feel more blessed as I step into the month of Gratitude which is November. I used to think it was quite cheesy that people waited for certain months to be grateful, more patriotic, more giving or more loving when in October alone I felt all of these things.
It was a huge reminder that life truly is what we make it to be, not the month that dictates it.
Will you try a ban from social media or an area that you have been obsessive over?
I would love to know your thoughts or comments below!
Until next time, Cheers!