Freedom to write…just not on Twitter.

After spending a week considering a one month break from Twitter (and other social media outlets), I “stumbled across” something I wrote two years ago on my personal blog when I first tried this. (I say “I stumbled upon,” but I do not believe in coincidence.) Almost exactly like now, I had just relapsed (the one that necessitated I stop treatment) and found myself needing to prioritize my energy in order to adapt to my new normal. I’m posting it here partially as a testament to my growth, partially to explain my current social media absence using words I’ve already written (no spoons!), and partially that others might identify with any of the struggles I had back then. But trust me, this is NOT an anti-technology rant!


Tuesday, 18th December, 2012

I feel a need to be more free in my writing and not always have it dictated by a clear “purpose.” I mean, obviously there is always an intent, but this All or Nothing mindset that has still somehow managed to stick onto my creative expressions is getting me no where.

I fear having a bunch of unfinished projects because in my brain I’ve associated that with something “bad.” It’s “bad” to not finish things, and it’s “bad” to start something new before you finish what you’ve already begun. And perhaps for many things, even most things, that’s true. How will you see what you can do if you don’t see anything through? But this isn’t a major life decision–it’s expression. The All or Nothing mindset was drilled into me since I was a child, but it’s time to evaluate why I think the way I think. Do I really feel that way, or do I think that because someone taught it to me and I never stopped to question it, question them? No, I get to choose which rules I live by, which ones will serve me, and my common sense says there are exceptions to everything.

If there is an option between writing nothing because you cannot write everything, or writing a little even if it might take a while to make sense… I don’t want my brain to implode from a lack of expression.

On that thread, I really am more focused and thinking in more complete thoughts since being off of Twitter. I didn’t tell many about that experiment and I wasn’t blogging again yet, so I’ll recap. I read this blog article–“I quit Twitter for a month and it completely changed my thinking about mostly everything“–and it struck me because of this section:

“I used to believe that time was the most important thing I have, but I’ve come to believe differently. The single most valuable resource I have is uninterrupted thought.
“I’ve realized how Twitter has made me break up my thoughts into tiny, incomplete, pieces-lots of hanging ideas, lots of incomplete relationships, punctuated by all manner of hanging threads and half-forked paths. I am perfectly fine with unfinished work-in fact, I doubt I’ll ever be a better finisher than I am a starter. But I’ve found that my greatest joy, deepest peace, and most valuable contributions come from intentionally choosing where to let my focus rest.”

After reading the potential for this social networking site to do that to one’s psyche, combined with the fact that I’d recently been putting thought into what purpose Twitter served me (something I feel is important to do from time to time; weed out what doesn’t bring you where you want to go), I had to try it for myself.

It’s barely been two weeks since I told everyone on Twitter I’d be leaving until the new year, and I haven’t tweeted since…save the automated ones that post from my health blog. I have logged in occasionally to see if there were any mentions or replies, but no. Is that unusual for someone with almost 200 followers that are otherwise pretty chatty?

One major part of Adam’s Twitter ramble was how much he CARED, and how the site was draining him emotionally because he couldn’t really do anything about the bits of information that were posted. I can thoroughly relate to this because my main use of Twitter was participating in the support system us “spoonies” formed. There are lots of tweets about suffering. (It was easier to release the thought there, where people at least understood, instead of “bothering” friends or making Facebook posts.) So sure, he wanted to do something for people, but–much like myself–he liked to show sincere care and do something real to help, and how can you do that for the hundreds of little tidbits posted? Truly, they leave more questions than anything. “Twitter is outsourced schizophrenia.”

And one major facet of people like us, the “carers,” is that.. we care a whole hell of a lot more than most, meaning we get close to people and form connections with them easier than most. This is never clearer to me than when I leave behind any social networking platform I’ve ever used: I want to take people with me, but they don’t care where I go. I want to keep in communication with those I’ve formed bonds with so I leave e-mail addresses or new account locations, but they never contact me again.

And it is what it is, truly. I realize people are meant to come in and out of others’ lives. But the fact is I end up caring about others far more than they care about me, which–in Twitterland, especially–means I extend energy toward irreconcilable situations and incomplete relationships. This is not something that is conducive to what I want, need, and am entitled to as a human being. (Maybe, too, I’m just from a different time, before the internet when people called and wrote and relationships weren’t so throw-away.)

And my thoughts, it’s like they all had their potential to become something, but the goal really did become fitting them into character limits instead of expanding them. It filled the temporary niche for an expressed thought, but then it died there. Did I explore any introspection or make blog posts when I was on Twitter? No. (Of course there were other reasons I haven’t been blogging on this account, but.) It’s honestly kind of amazing, when you think about it.

I do miss Twitter, though, for when I REALLY DO have tiny incomplete thoughts. I must have been using it wrong, something it wasn’t designed for, at least not for people like me who are creatures of many words. So I call this experiment a success! More useful knowledge to bring with me into the new year. I was never a Twitter addict, but when I return to it next year, I will not be checking it as much, I will know my limits when I start to become irrationally emotionally invested, and I will be more mindful to use it in a way that adds to my life.

I thought I had been doing that, but when I started to delete people, I felt like I was doing something wrong. I felt guilty pruning through the lists of users to leave only the ones that inspired me to be greater–a thought that, when I type it, seems absurd! As Adam wrote,

“Ultimately, I still *like* a lot of those people and like much of what they have to say. I don’t believe that restricting the people I follow to only the ones I agree with 1000% of the time is healthy.”

But if I cannot find a way to keep balance with it, it has to go until I can do so. As I always say, if you’re not going to use social media for what you want out of it, why is it in your life?

I knew the Universe had something to show me when it brought that article to me right when I was contemplating my relationship with Twitter. As Oprah would say it, I have learned to listen to the whispers before the bricks start flying!


I remember how well that one month break ultimately worked for me the last time, and reading this old post solidified my decision to do it again. I laughed at how, even in my old entry, I mentioned Adam’s post appearing right as I was contemplating a break. This time, my own old post came to me! The Universe always sends us what we need, if we pay attention. With my newly-limited energy, I need to focus. I don’t have spare energy to do it all anymore. The situation has changed, and I must change with it.

If it’s not bringing you where you want to be, let it go. “Let go or be dragged.”

a rainbow at night

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4 thoughts on “Freedom to write…just not on Twitter.

  1. It sounds like a very intelligent decision. I’ve never had any social media accounts, only email. I never understood the “friend” thing. Having 200 (or more) friends seems to me impossible. Friends are people you can talk extensively to about the things affecting you and also their lives. 100 words or whatever the twitter limit is is surface scratching.
    I grew up before social media and I communicated with my 2 or 3 friends with hand written letters. Email doesn’t even let you do that because no one wants to read long emails. It’s tiring on the eyes. And there is a lack of personality because it is a “font”, not your personal handwriting. And holding something physical that your friend wrote to you makes you feel closer to that person.
    I believe social media has left us more detached from real life and lacking in true compassion of human interaction.
    Bravo. You may find social media at some point is no longer useful to your journey.
    Theresa
    Oregon

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    1. They’ve done some studies that showed your brain can only ever keep up with about 150 people at a time…even THAT seems excessive, but I guess if you’re out in the world, functioning, you’ll have more business-type relationships that might not necessarily constitute a “friend” as much as someone you want to keep in your circle for networking.

      I’m really waiting on something to come out that replaces Twitter’s 140 character limit…or for Twitter itself to expand this character limit.

      I don’t think I will ever find social media useless. The technological advances we’ve made let me do so much and reach out to so many; life would be unnecessarily isolating without it. This month I started going to online meditations (via webcam, but people can just come and lurk if they want) with people all over the world–that’s INCREDIBLE. Technology isn’t bad, we just have to learn how to use it.

      Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee explains the internet and the way we communicate today as the world gravitating toward its natural state of Oneness. The way we approach anything determines what we’ll get back from it. Watch this. http://vimeo.com/36582144

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      1. First of all, it is good to hear from you again. I have been wondering how you’re doing. I hope your IVIG treatments are helping.

        As for your IVIG treatments, there is a lyme blogger out there, “Lyme Inside” by someone named Bryan. He is going through those treatments too. It may be a point of comparison for you. He is in his early 30’s.

        You were probably raised in the age of social media and have never known a world without it. I wasn’t. I miss the touch of a human hand. The ability to converse with someone one on one about anything (not lyme related). You find it isolating to be without social media. I find it to be a factor in fomenting isolation. It’s easier to “post and run” rather than staying in the conversation until some understanding is reached.

        Social media will never go away. I know that. But it is not being used to successfully protest or advocate for lyme (or any other disease). No doctor, researcher, IDSA dr, ILADS dr, CDC or any research funding foundation ever reads any of the millions of blogs out there from people suffering from diseases like Lyme. There is no encompassing foundation that funds lyme research ( like there is for cancer and AIDS).

        Until social media “learns” how to become a powerful advocate for an illness and that advocacy actually makes something happen, pushes a movement forward to find a cure, unites all people under one website banner (like the american cancer society does) then social media will just be a place for people to post things.

        I do find out a lot of information by reading blogs, forums, PubMed, PLOSone, etc. However, good the information is, it is not ACTIONABLE information. It doesn’t move the situation forward to a cure.

        The California Lyme disease association (lymedisease.org) is the closest thing I’ve found to an organized professional effort to combat lyme in California. Yet, they have been actively advocating, with lawyers and doctors on staff, for over 25 years. And still the battle rages.

        I will certainly watch the video you recommend and I will keep working at meditating. I am bad at it but I do work at it every day or every other day. And I do enjoy your wisdom. I still have the early emails you wrote me about finding out what my soul wants. I read those often.

        Thank you for responding to my post. I’m getting oxidative blood therapy now through my PICC line (take out some blood, infuse it with ozone, run it through a UV. Light and back it goes into you). It increases the oxygen in your blood which the Borrelia hates. It’s doing something because I’m Herxing like hell.

        Thanks, Theresa Oregon

        From T’s Ipad and this is REALLY Theresa (to hopefully distinguish from a spammer)

        >

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        1. To clarify some misconceptions:

          I was not raised in the age of social media.

          I also still wrote letters until about two years ago, when the M.E. meant I could no longer physically write.

          And I’m ambiverted, which means I cycle between introversion where I prefer intimate, one on one connections and find anything else absolutely draining, and extraversion, where I can be energized by social situations, however they might be experienced.

          Kit

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