Facing the Waves

seashore under white and blue sky during sunset

So I’ve deactivated or deleted or simply abandoned all of my social media accounts (except for Snapchat, oddly enough, because I only follow close family and I like to use the map to see what is going on in the world or locally, and Snapchat doesn’t have the same pull on me that the others do).

It’s hard in an unexpected way to be free of Facebook, Instagram, MeWe, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like. I knew I wasted too much time on these time-wasting dopamine seeking pursuits. I knew that I was avoiding uncomfortable tasks and rampant productivity with my “but first” disease of checking to see how many new likes I’d gotten on my latest post.

What I didn’t realize was how I was using social media to dull difficult emotions. After the high of making the break from the tech monopoly wore off, I found myself in a hard place with my feelings and it took me a few days to realize what was going on.

What’s kind of funny about my predicament is that I am and have been fasting daily, delaying eating until the evenings. In addition, my husband and I recently decided to “go dry” for the time being for discipline, health, and financial reasons. In other words, I’ve already removed access to my main escapes from the painful emotions of the day. And by swearing off social media, I had unknowingly gotten rid of my last crutch.

I didn’t realize how I’d been using that technology like a drug. Like an escape from the real world. To avoid having to face the waves of life and all its difficulties with nothing to minimize the pain.

It even seems kind of silly to think that Facebook had become a drug for me. An addiction. But I knew, feeling so raw in the days and weeks after giving it all up, that it had been a buffer against the BS of life. Even though so much of what I saw on my feeds tweaked my anger and frustration, it was still a distraction from the real and deep pain that I’d been avoiding dealing with on a daily basis for, oh, 16 years or so.

16 years.

It makes me think of amniotic fluid. Don’t stop reading.

A fetus is surrounded by a sac of water; we call it amniotic fluid. When a woman goes into labor, her body begins to put pressure on the sac and its contents (a baby) to move it into the birth canal and from there out of the body and into the world.

Contractions come like waves, slowly at first and then closer and closer together as the time for birth nears. The sac of fluid acts as a buffer during the squeezing and contracting the body does to expel the baby.

At some point, which is different for every woman and every pregnancy, the pressure of the contractions breaks the sac open and the fluid drains out, eliminating the soft cushion that was dulling some of the pain of labor.

In my own labors, especially the final two at home, I remember distinctly the difference in the pain and urgency of contractions after the water broke. I thought my contractions were painful, but pretty manageable, until the water broke. Then the pain began in earnest, and the contractions gave me no rest. Bone on bone, there will be no rest until the baby is born.

And isn’t that the point? What good is it to dull and delay?

My hope is that my exit from social media will bring fruit like that. Let it be painful, let it be urgent, let it be productive.

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