I finally feel free from myself. It’s like taking a sip of your favorite tea 24/7 or always being hugged by the person you love most. With this new life, I am also free from the real or imagined judgements of other people, and there’s nothing more fulfilling than living without this self-destruction. That being so, this freedom is one I want to share with you in hopes that you will free yourself if you are otherwise imprisoned.

One of the best places to start your unbounded life is by letting go of social media. I know it sounds simple, but it’s fucking powerful. If you deactivate your Facebook, you may experience freedom. If you shut down your Instagram, you may be more compassionate. I’ve recently become a better me, and this has been a direct result of deactivating my social media accounts for two months. I feel more grounded. I feel more loving. I feel less judgmental. This is a better me, and the beginning of this self-development was merely one magic touch away. So, I want you to click it all away, too. Click away your problems and turn off your things, because you are not a thing. Today, you have the power to turn yourself back on and it’s a perfect day to feel good again, baby!

Let’s start a new life in the mornings together. I have experienced two ways of waking up and there’s only one that brings me joy. One of them is how I spent my mornings, afternoons and nights since I made Facebook and Instagram accounts, and the other is what happened to me when I deactivated both accounts for the past two months.

Scenario #1: Wake up, but not really…

It’s 7:37 a.m. on a hazy Del Playa morning, and the ocean greets you in a breeze along your window pane. It’s an invigorating beginning, but you don’t feel it. The tragedy of waking up is that you don’t notice the world. You’re only with yourself and in this lonely mess you are deceived in believing that your morning starts off with many other people because of the notifications you wake up to. But let’s face it, Mama Earth cares for you in a way that online presence never could.

I check how many likes I got on my profile picture. I’m nervous that too many girls liked it and not enough boys. I check how many people have read, liked and shared my articles on the Daily Nexus. I get nervous that not enough people like me anymore. Does my writing make them judge me in a way I wouldn’t want them to? I check how many people tagged me in pictures. Do I look good? Do people think I’m smart? I decide to change the quotes under my personal information tab. I go on Tinder. I die a little inside. I have no new matches. I hate myself. I want to change everything about myself in real life so I can be more appealing in a fake world. I hate myself.

I’ve recently become a better me, and this has been a direct result of deactivating my social media accounts for two months.

Ten minutes have passed and you’re still not conscious. Your hands are preoccupied by phone addiction and you forget to clean your face. You forget to brush your teeth and you forget to dress yourself in a way that is tender and self-loving. You do not read a verse of poetry before waking up and you refuse to stretch because it’s getting late and you only have time to press the refresh button. You forget to pledge to universal growth in sustaining a better day, but you did write a status about it yesterday and that’s enough to make you feel committed to living a life worth living. What other people see and think is the most important aspect of waking up and carrying out intention nowadays.

I can’t stop searching my phone, but then I try to remember what waking up used to be for me. There was my childhood routine of snoozing the alarm, moving to the window to open the blinds and trying to fall back asleep. I would finally rise from my pillows with fresh drool on my PJs, hitting the snooze button and feeling silly enough to write something funny. I would roll over to my journal and ignite its blank pages with my sunrise soul and have poetry for breakfast. I would wake up experiencing what it means to be a person.

But today, my drought-ridden journal is burning. My poetry is dying, and my soul, in its silencing of such expressions, is dying. It only takes 10 minutes of a new routine to kill me.

You are not in tune with the rebirth of day because your news feed demands your attention. The morning wants to be with you, but you would rather be with pictures of the ocean instead. You upload your picture of last week’s sunrise and wait to see who approves of your nature-loving, selfless pretending, artistic aura. You wait and wait and wait all day to see if you can break your previous records of being famous (only in your own mind because you’re not fucking famous).

Here, I am not anything I can love. I am not mysterious. I am not intimate with myself. There is no privacy, meaning; no anonymity or room for mistakes. I miss adventure and a life I love to be a part of. I need a change.


Art by Tarush Mohanti / Daily Nexus

Art by Tarush Mohanti / Daily Nexus

Scenario #2: This is real life, baby!

It’s February and you deactivate your Facebook. You are going through some self-development because you refuse to hate yourself for any longer and you refuse to let the opinions of others get you down. You don’t want to judge other people, either. You want to get to know people and have the privilege to learn about their opinions, beliefs and passions as a result of building a relationship. Facebook makes you hate people.

Click. Deactivated. Clicking away all of my problems; now I’m just doing me. Feb. 27, 2016, I stopped clicking away my life.

Now, two months have gone by. I do not have social media apps on my phone. I notice the silence of mornings mixed with the ocean’s gorgeous roars and I am ready to live. Social interactions don’t make me nervous anymore. This is freedom. I don’t have to anticipate telling someone that story attached to my posts online. I feel so good. I don’t have to be anyone at all.

When I get out of bed the air feels good. I am lucky to be privileged and alive. I didn’t take any selfies today and I didn’t take any selfies yesterday. I don’t do a hunch and hold my breath, sucking in my tummy to upload a picture of my gym progress. I don’t check how many likes that guy texting me or not texting me has on my pictures and I don’t creep his profile for likes from other women. I don’t see my family members uploading articles that I don’t agree with and therefore, I don’t give them an immature silent treatment at the next family party. I don’t have to worry. I feel less judgmental, and thank God for this. I feel more grounded.

I am on my phone way less. I sit with myself on the bus without a phone in hand. I am willing to read flyers and spontaneously go to events by myself. I meet people and cherish moments because I know that without using social media, I may never see them again. There are no obligations to talk about politics or feminism or promote an event coming up that I really believe in, even though these things come up anyway because they are a part of who I truly am.

I meet people and cherish moments because I know that without using social media, I may never see them again.

There is no starting a conversation with, “I saw on Instagram that your mom came to town!” or, “Congrats on getting that position! I saw it on Facebook!” I am becoming less egotistical, which is what I need. I became accustomed to promoting myself on Facebook and completely objectifying myself in this capitalistic, dehumanizing society. No more time or sould room for that bullshit.

Scenario two was the most cleansing experience of my life and I urge you to try this. I was so stuck in scenario one that I felt lifeless. Deactivate your accounts to reactivate your life. So many amazing experiences came out of turning off social media. First, I started to care less about what people thought (those that thought in terms of social media images) and more about what I valued. I deconstructed why I didn’t like certain people and trained myself to stop judging others based on what I hear from others. I felt free. I stopped pursuing guys who were not into me.

I did not change myself to grow on certain people. I was self-compassionate. I did not say derogatory comments to myself as often as before. I started to take less pictures altogether. I turned off my phone a lot and felt so much happier. I had fewer obligations, which is what I needed in the state I was in. I had no one to answer to. It was a lack of taking responsibility that healed a lot that of otehr areas that neeedd attention.

When you delete social media, you are finally free. You are anonymous in a town that you’ve lived in for four years. You don’t feel insecure if you have always had insecurities. Things online do not define how the world perceives you when there is nothing online to be judged. There’s no more idealizing other people based on what they post without really knowing them, and upon meeting them, feeling confused about how they are with you in a specific setting.

Things online do not define how the world perceives you when there is nothing online to be judged.

It can be quite disappointing when this happens, or when other people think your projections online are how you are always supposed to be in person. If you are in an otherwise opposing state of mind or emotional place, you are then perceived as disingenuous. None of that! You now have time for hobbies. You get personal invitations to cool shindigs via text message or in-person embraces that you wouldn’t have gotten before.

You are feeling fun, spicy and ready to do whatever the day has in store for you. You get to know yourself better and others better. You only spend time with people who you really want to and you live a more lovely life.

I did jump back on that social media train as of a week ago, but only with Facebook. I felt my social anxiety coming back when I first reactivated a world that seemed like impending doom. I was generating self-destructive thoughts again. The difference this time was that I stopped these thoughts early on. I reactivated Facebook while remembering social media is not my life anymore. Real life can never be controlled by what is posted online. I reminded myself that I valued people as they are away from social media and myself as I am away from it as well.

I reactivated Facebook while remembering social media is not my life anymore.

I wanted to challenge myself and keep Facebook because I felt ready to enter this space in a less dependent way. I have my Facebook now, but I forget about the online world because it’s not the best world to live in. Now I naturally spend my time in the real world.

Rest assured that if you go on a social media detox for a couple of days, weeks, months or years, you will feel more competent and rejuvenated.

Create something real again. Become your truest, most loving self. There’s a different life out there for you and it’s one that has been begging for your attention. I hope you go out without your phone and delete your social media apps. I hope you delete your profiles and see what happens. It’s a fun experiment and soon you will forget what it’s like to wait on a network that cannot nurture you the way a spontaneous hike can, or a true friendship.

Leilani Leila Riahi hopes your life is all you’ve dreamed of and more. Deactivate it to reactivate it.