Dear social media, it’s not you, it’s me!!!

I deleted social media for a week and I had a hard time shaking the overwhelming feeling of needing to share everything with everyone, or specific things with specific people…like I owed it to them or something. I think where that stems from is fear. Fear that if I don’t make myself relevant in peoples’ lives on Instagram, if I don’t stay funny on twitter…I won’t be relevant in their real lives.

On the flip side of things, staying off of it was way more easy that I had expected. I really wasn’t tempted to open it up or redownload the apps. Instead of flipping through instagram on my phone, I’d flip through old photos, check emails, FINALLY get rid of those annoying red bubbles that pop up on all of my apps. But most often, I kept my phone on ring on the table in my apartment and made myself busy with other things. I actually relaxed. The distraction of social media during downtime makes it hard to tune into just one thing. I find myself trying to wind down with a movie while simultaneously checking emails, posting an instagram and scrolling through pages and pages of tweets only to find that the movie is over and I couldn’t even tell you what the main character’s name is. So from a zoomed out perspective, it was easy and I succeeded and am going into the weekend feeling refreshed and present….blah blah blah.

Most people will say the key to staying off social media is to keep yourself busy. It’s kind of like a breakup in that way. In order to get over it, everyone will tell you to fill your days with activities and surround yourself with people who keep your mind off of it until, eventually, you forget you miss it. I think this method has some merit to it, but are you really healing from it if you just fill that void with something else? You can’t just put a patch over it and call it good. The hole is still there, there’s just something covering it up so other people don’t notice. So, I had one day in my 5 day hiatus that I didn’t even leave my apartment. A full day at home to force myself to relax and spend some uninterrupted time with myself. I woke up, made breakfast, cleaned my entire apartment, worked out watched a movie and then that’s when I felt it come crashing down on me. I had nothing to distract me from everything I was feeling. Everything that I had sort of let build up, because I was able to brush it under a rug, was starting to make its way out in to the open to hang out with me! How kind! With nothing to take my mind off of things, what did I do? Forced to deal with my feelings, I just sat in it (as uncomfortable as this was). Wrote in my journal…I also FaceTimed my mom. But what I didn’t do is post a photo on instagram to validate myself, tweet my feelings or creep on someone whose life appears to be 1 million times better than mine. What if we didn’t have social media to distract us from feeling this way? Would we be more in touch with our feelings as a generation? Would we be more productive? Would people actually focus on creating meaningful and lasting relationships? How do we even do that without the internet….???

What sucks is that it’s become trendy to go on a “social media cleanse” and then hop on instagram live and answer all sorts of questions about it to your thousands of followers. Was your intention really pure then? It’s all so frustrating to me and I find myself somewhere in the middle of it all. I think social media is a fantastic tool. There is so much to learn about the mechanics of these outlets and the influence it can have over people, businesses and relationships is second to none (I mean have you seen the FYRE documentary???) It allows you to connect with people from all over the world and opens you up to opportunities that would have been impossible in the past…but there’s gotta be a happy medium. I get so tired of always having the thought in the back of my mind of “I should post this!!!” or “If I post this then x y and maybe even z!!!!!” No. You should enjoy it while you can because this moment is gonna pass, probably already did.  I’m even more sick of always having the fear that I’m way cooler on the internet. What if they think my photos look better than me in real life? What if I’m not as funny as my tweets or instagram captions? I start competing with this made up version of myself. Read that sentence again. I AM COMPETING WITH MY-MF-SELF. How stupid. If anyone in the world is gonna be a fan of mine, it should be myself. At the very least. The unrealistic expectations social media (and media in general) enables us to create are out of this world.

While it’s fun to entertain the thought of what 2019 would be like without social media, it unfortunately is pretty out of the question. Sure, you can delete the apps and pretend that alternate universe doesn’t exist, but it very much does. And it’s not going away. Even if they did outlaw it, I am fully confident that there would be some sort of strange selfie prohibition or bootleg app access. Wouldn’t that be a trip. Bottom line is that there can be a lot of good done through these outlets but I think most of us could benefit from taking a step back and asking ourselves if the time we are spending on social media is helping or hurting us. And I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty good to ghost around for those 5 days.

Who has two thumbs, is 23 and also has arthritis??!

If you would have asked me how 2019 was going to start for me, I wouldn’t have said in an Orthopedic surgery center listening to LANY Pandora while getting an MRI on my knee.

My trip home for the holidays was full of travel, good food and catching up with friends I shouldn’t have let myself drift from. I saw so many people and spent so much quality time with my family, but my two week escape from Los Angeles ended on a pretty heavy note. I found out that I will be needing surgery on my right knee due to severe ligament damage and beginning stages of arthritis. Oof. That’s not exactly the news you want to receive when your three current jobs are at a cycling studio, a HIIT training center and dancing for an NBA team. Just three days into the new year and I had found out that I would be spending nearly half of 2019 in recovery. Trying to swear less this year but….Fuck.

I can’t say I was blindsided by this news. Actually, I don’t even think I could tell you the last time I didn’t feel discomfort or instability when I’m dancing. It’s been something I’ve dealt with for about 10 years so at this point, the pain and distrust in my knee had become normal for me. When I was around 13 I dislocated it for the first time. From that point forward, my medial petellofemoral ligament stretched out, and only continued to do so, as I went on to dislocate it somewhere around 15 more times…not something I would wish on my worst enemy. As you can probably imagine, this has created a plethora of other issues. Hip, back, ankle, and more joint specific, additional knee problems. My patella does not track the way it should because the ligament that keeps it in line looks like a stretched out hair-tie (and we all know how annoying those are). That means I’m 23 years old and have the beginning stages of arthritis from the wear and tear. I always knew I was an old soul but I was hoping that wouldn’t translate to wrinkles and joint damage.

On the bright side of things, the surgery isn’t emergent (as I’ve basically done all the damage I can do aside from injuring it again). But my ortho did say that if I put it off for too long, I will likely have to have a full knee replacement by the time I’m in my mid 30’s. How the hell does someone whose livelihood is based off of activity process that information?

Like I said, I am not shocked by any means. I had hope that it could be fixed with physical therapy and maybe a little rest. But to hear the ortho say that someone will be calling me in the next few days to schedule my surgery has really thrown me for a loop. Being completely candid, I do not plan to spend the next 10 years pursing dance as my sole career. That doesn’t mean I love it any less, I just learned a lot about myself this last year and I am confident that 2019 will be full of lots of change and big decisions regarding my career path (and life in general) yada yada yada. But as I thumb through my planner trying to find a date to get this thing taken care of, it’s tough to accept that some of these decisions are probably going to have to come sooner than planned. And not because I said so, but because my stupid knee did.

Dance and activity have become part of my identity. It’s the reason why I even moved away from my friends and family, who I feel so fulfilled around. I have sacrificed a lot for it mentally, physically, emotionally…even financially. I’m not writing this for sympathy or to be overly dramatic. I am aware that this could be so so much worse. I will be back and better than ever after 6 months, I don’t have to have a full replacement, it’s not my ACL, it’s fixable. But it’s a lot for me to process. I’ve spent the last few days with my mind racing about what this means for my career, my hobbies, my fitness level, my calendar, where I live, what I do, what if there are complications, what if my body rejects the new tendon, spiral spiral spiral. I am writing this because the first thing I wanted to do, as I sat in the specialist’s office fighting back tears, is pull out my laptop and vent the best way I know how. The way that seems to allow me to get out everything that I’m thinking better than any verbal conversation I could ever have. Maybe this is God’s way of telling me I need to slow down. Pack my schedule less, learn how to relax, focus on nurturing relationships in my life more, write more, learn how to play that guitar that’s collecting dust in the corner of my studio apartment….the list goes on. I plan on doing all of the above things and know I will be better off in the long run. But, boy oh boy, are times a changin’.

As far as scheduling goes, the plan is to wait until late spring, early summer (and hopefully after basketball season has officially ended). Until then, catch me with my sleek new brace soaking up the next 6 months of activity.