Why I Shed the Shackles of Social Media
Who knew that being “connected” could disconnect me from my true self?
I was a happy child. Don’t get me wrong — I was goofy, awkward, quiet, & uncoordinated (ask my Little League coach about that last one) — but overall, I was happy. I had a loving & supportive family. I had many friends. Growing up in a small Connecticut town, I was privileged to have a good public school system with excellent teachers. In my hometown, there were a number of parks to play in, churches to attend, & many activities for the youth, whether it be in music, theater, sports, or arts & crafts. For all of these reasons and more, I was happy. But somewhere along the line, my happiness was taken away, and I began trekking a slow & insidious path towards self-destruction.
I. The Early Days
AOL Instant Messenger & Myspace (2003–2009)
I think it began in the spring of 2003. I was in 6th grade, a ten-year-old with a creative and inquisitive mind. My quiet days of early childhood were long past; I began the middle school experience with newfound extroversion. I liked meeting new people, experiencing new things, and embracing all that life had to offer. I was in band, choir, played three sports, was active in my church, and did well in the classroom. There was one area, however, in which I struggled — romance. Though I wasn’t plagued by acne (whew!) or by being overweight (wish that was still the case), I simply had no ‘game’. Every girl I had a mini two-week crush on ended up giving me the heart-breaking “I like you as a friend” line. While my closest friends were dating their first ‘girlfriends’, I was by myself, picking grass in the outfield. That is, of course, until I met Sarah. Sarah was a kind-hearted gal, a blue-eyed beauty who played soccer, a sport which I had no previous interest in until I met her. Because my best friend was “going out” with her best friend, it seemed natural for me to suggest that I tag along during one of their ‘dates’. My best friend agreed. After being coached by him on what things to say/not to say (apparently saying “I love…