“Life is just a slide. Back and forth between loving and leaving, remembering and forgetting, holding on and letting go." Nicole Lyons

I dislike the notion of always being expected to be accessible. I don't believe people should always have access to us as a people. It feels intrusive, demanding, and invasive. We get to grant and more importantly, revoke access to us as we please. That's our prerogative. Both in a proximal sense, and digitally through social media, we get to decide who gets to be near us, contact us, and engage with us. All too often we shy away from rescinding access once it has been given. I am of the camp that we can, and should be constantly reevaluating who we allow into our lives. Much like Marie Kondo's tidying up method, if people do not bring us joy, contribute to our peace, or more practically add to our lives beneficially, then what is the purpose in keeping them around. That is not to say that everyone should serve a purpose, but why maintain relationships, connections, and conversations that one-sided, or even exploitative? Sometimes we hang on to people long after we should have thanked them for what they taught us and let them go. More often than we are willing to admit, we let people linger, cluttering up our lives, our sense of peace, and brain capacities. Much like we have to clean up, choose what to part ways with, and take out trash in our physical spaces, we can apply those same principles to the people in our lives. If you're not adding, you're taking space that could be better utilized by someone else, or even just us ourselves. 

As of late I have been bold in unfollowing swaths of people. I take a few moments, think of about how someone's profile, their posts, and their interactions make me feel, and if it's not an immediate joy, contentment, or thoughtfulness then I unfollow them. All the thirst follows that end up being pangs of annoyance, less than subtle thirst traps, and snubs of being unattainable - cancelled, deleted, done. There have been too many times where something pops up on my feed and I verbally articulate "why do I follow you?" That's the question. I don't feel good seeing you. All you bring me is unrealistic portrayals of life, try to sell me envy, and an unsettling disingenuousness. 

The influencers that disrupt my happiness and instead play on insecurities to make me want a staged existence, the advertisements that feature models at the tail end of the attractiveness bell curve, and thought-promoters that lack nuance, gravitas, and necessary intersectional context that ignore significant difference/life experiences - why subject myself to it all. I don't have to. I have the power. I can just delete you. I can unfollow, unlike, unsubscribe, etc. The more I've done it, the easier it's become. I am no longer hesitant. I just hit the button, and move on. There's no remorse, no regret, and no nostalgia. Immediately I feel lighter, happier, and liberated.  Occasionally people will message me about it and I'll be candid with them; I don't know you, and even when I do, doing so is not a declaration of independence, it's just a personal choice to prioritize my own happiness. If I don't add to your life, inspire you, make you think, shine light into your life, unfollow me - you get to choose who you allow into your life, wield that power, and use it often. 

2018 was the year of the ghosts, breadcrumbers, and submariners. What I learned was that people often take advantage of kindness, but kindness is also accountability. Telling people exactly what they did, how it impacted me, and wishing them well is the most satisfying way to give yourself closure from a detrimentally ambiguous severance. I've written about all the woes of ghosting and it's socially debased brethren. It's about wanting to avoid awkwardness but in doing so people cause harm, and hurt while stealing decisive closure and prolonging confusion. It's cowardice, it's poor communication, it's avoiding responsibility for an impact on another person. 

Every time it happens though it still hurts nonetheless. Now I am quick to acknowledge, address it, and most significantly move on. The final step in moving on though after being left in the dust is a conscious uncoupling via social media. That is unfollowing them from all forms of social media and any apps to which you're tethered to one another, then deleting the message thread, and finally deleting the contact. It's frankly scary, and hard, but the truth is they're not coming, and if they did, they are not worth regaining access to us. Staying connection leaves open that possibility of reconciliation, and that in and of itself is a self-induced torture. We should not chase after people who have no intention of being caught (at least not by us), or who enjoy the chase. We should not have to convince us to like us. We should not be permissive of inconsiderate behavior. We deserve better, and only when we let go of worse can we accept better. 

My favorite part of this digital area of interaction is all those who have ghosted, having the gall to continue to follow me. Even more brazen, to like, comment, or message me. Why are you lurking on my social media? What do you want? Both of those questions are null and void. The answers are unimportant. I ignore, I respond shortly and disengage, or I block. I refuse to spend any time, energy, or effort on anyone who doesn't have the gumption, guts, or grace to communicate their dissatisfaction. I am morally opposed to entertaining those who could not be bothered to express themselves. I think it's crucial to expel those who have not honored us, treated us with kindness, nor been authentic with us. It's amazing how quickly we can forget others existed, were part of our lives, or that we ever cared about them. We wean ourselves off. We tune people out. We remove temptation to welcome those we have externalized back in, we end our suffering by ceasing to see them or their content, and we move on. Always forward, never back - words to live by. What lies ahead of us is in front of us, it doesn't mean going back. If people left us, it's for a reason, and one that we would be keen to remember/adhere to. X


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