People often ask me how I can stand it as an extrovert – being housebound and unable to see friends very much. One answer is that I just have to – so that’s how I stand it.
But another answer is ‘the Internet’. I started blogging when my brain energy was just good enough to be able to write once a week or so, and since then my cognitive energy has improved, though my mobility hasn’t. So I write, and I chat. People are so quick to condemn social media as ‘anti-social’ and destroying ‘real’ friendships and interactions, and I appreciate that it can be a danger. For me, though, it has been a lifeline, and I spend much of my day idly ‘chatting’, or keeping up to date in people’s lives. Reading the bite-sized bits and pieces is not as demanding on me as reading a book. There are so many with M.E. who can’t look at screens at all; I am profoundly grateful for the friendships I have been introduced to through Twitter and blogging.
All of which is to say how much I am dreading next week.
For my online writing course, Story 101 with Elora Nicole, we have to spend a week without social media or the Internet. Because I have relatively little ‘real life’ contact with friends, this is the equivalent of going on a silent retreat for a week, and I am HYPERVENTILATING at the thought of it. What if I miss something important? What if… (Actually that’s probably the only valid ‘what if’ – the other what ifs just start sounding a bit hysterical: ‘what if I get bored?’)
It’s only a week*. And I need to work on the book some more, keep my new-found writerly angsty diva-style moments to a minimum (hopefully – but no guarantees), breathe in. If I’m honest, I am afraid of silence, stillness; even in my housebound and often isolated state. I distract myself from the silence with the noise of others’ lives and opinions. And sometimes I wonder if in letting so much noise in, I’m keeping God out, as well as the silence.
So this is where I’m at. It’s a funny sort of in-between place. Sometimes bravery looks like getting up and doing the routine of your life again today, just as you did yesterday. Sometimes bravery looks like saying no, changing things. For me, this week, bravery means embracing silence, and seeing what it brings.
*um… The week starts tomorrow. After I’ve posted my monthly ‘what I’m into’ for April. That’s allowed, right? I’m sure it is.
Over to you:
- How would you feel about a week without any Internet?
- What does ‘brave’ look like for you, at the moment?
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