Retiring the Internet: How I Plan to Swerve my Internet Addiction

Yep, I said it. And I mean it, somehow.

I am giving up my dependency on the internet. Maybe not permanently but def temporarily for right now.

Life feels too swirly as of late. Life in the fast lane is already fast enough without the addiction of the internet. Which is clearly just a rabbit hole waiting to suck our attention and deplete us of energy. I am convinced. Basically because I hate being too dependent on anything. Too much of anything is a bad thing, not to mention what happens when we abuse it.

I abuse technology, the main target being the internet. I just hop on it whenever I please, for however long I like, doing God knows whatever it is that I happen to like at the time. And oh boy, there are so many dungeons and dark holes to fall into on the internet. I was living in a new, big, beautiful city but was not exploring any of it because I would never leave the comfort of my laptop screen. Busying myself with the claim that I was looking up places to meet people or trying to find ways to connect with people, I rarely ventured outside. Thirst trap if there ever was one.

My Master Plan:

  1. Destroy the mf’n wifi. You read that right. I plan to disable it when I am not using it. If it weren’t for marriage, it would be in the right bottom kitchen drawer collecting dust. But I can’t torture the man like that.
  2. Plan my internet use. Do I have an absolute, definite purpose for using the internet today? No. Good, no need to log on. Yes, I do need to use the web today? For what? I plan to write down my needs for internet the night before logging on the next day. No plan, no internet. (Planning to look at cat memes or ratchet youtube videos is allowed, just not too much.)
  3. Use the Internet outside the home. For some reason, devouring countless hours of internet use at home is much easier to do in lieu of going to the library and having whatshisface from the bus stop stare at you over his computer monitor. Nothing like a nice noisy mouth breather to hurry your work along 🙂 To that end, I will be forced to make monthly trips to the place I call my second home…the library.

 

Welp, here’s to the swerving. Hope you will continue to read my journey.

 

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Breaking Up with Self-Hate

I loathe. I hate. I despise. I regret. I resent…..Myself.

I used to think that hating myself was what kept me humble but the more I live, the more I realize how muddy this water has become. I’ve managed to poison myself from the inside out, letting hate fester.

Self-hate feels like the blackest cloud or the darkest storm. Just like some storms, I enjoy the sound of the pounding rain. Sometimes I relish the steady stream of fresh tears that drip from my chin. Sometimes I enjoy this deep pit of despair I am in. It has become home for me. A place of familiarity that I can always return to.

The downside is that the more I come home and the longer I stay, the harder it gets for me to leave. Like an addiction, I feel myself craving it. I begin creating situations unconsciously that bring me back to it, swearing that I would never come back again. Yet I find myself here over and over again. Self-hate has become my friend.

Today I want to break up with my friend. I never want to see home again. Because this home is no longer my home. This place does not hold my heart. And that friend is really a foe bringing nothing but ill and woe. Today I break up with the past, with old habits and familiar routine. Today was the last time I ever go home again.

 

The Balm

Others all around me, passing by me, all seem to have it.
I ask to borrow it, most are willing to lend.
Just when I thought I have it, it slips through my fingers like water

No two days are the same.
I am never the same person

Tears won’t help;
Fighting does no good
It is always there like a sleeping giant.
Any little noise or trouble sets it off

Drained and annoyed
I resent the world for my being here
No purpose, no point.
This is pure misery. Why me?

But there is a balm.
Like the one in gilead.
It works like a charm

An Open Letter to Harriet Tubman

Dear Mrs. Tubman,

I have looked all over for you and could not find you. This saddens me to my core. I have so much to ask you, so many things to tell you. I need your advice and your help.

Today I cried harder than I remember crying before. The kind of cry that gets stuck in your chest, you know the one, the one that comes with such force and intensity that it takes your breathe away. I cried because I am lost. Lost in time, lost in labor, lost in life.

I quit my job yesterday. I have yet to tell my sweet, unassuming husband but I decided to take matters into my own hands. I simply could not take it anymore. Working a job didn’t feel like freedom and I wanted so badly to know what that felt like. This was not my first time quitting but this time, it was much more impactful, the stakes are much higher. Although free, I feel bound at heart. My heart is so very heavy. Today, in 2017, we have something called the internet. Its like a big book of everything you can imagine written by everybody. Just one big giant book. In that book, I found myself looking for the suicide page. I was ready to give up. I was tired of having to scrap and struggle to get by. I felt trapped. I felt like I was drowning and I couldn’t find a reason to try to stay afloat or save myself. In so many words, I felt like a slave. Most of my waking hours are spent doing something for someone else at the expense of myself and my own interests. But when I think about taking the plunge I have to think about what that would really entail. I risk losing my home, my security, food, safety, and my husband (if he doesn’t want to support a non-working wife). There’s a lot on the line here but what about me? What about my essence? I looked around to find validation and all I am met with is fear and admonitions from others. “Go back to school and get a degree to see if that will help you make more money so you can be free.” “Keep working your fulltime job and work on your own projects after hours.” “Thats just the way life is.” “Work harder.”

I am left dazed and confused. Everyone works this way, its the norm. My dad has worked two jobs all of my years on earth. My mom also works full time. People complain yes but they have accepted that this is the norm. So what is wrong with me? Why cant I be like everyone else? Essentially, I am like everyone else, I am on the same boat but I have different thinking. I have tried taking pills to change my ways of thinking to no avail. Why does everyone believe this? Why does it HAVE to be this way? Why is it this way? What can be done? Everybody doesn’t have to live this way because there are people who are free. Why should I expect that I am not entitled to the same thing? These questions keep me depressed and isolated. I figured why be in this world? Why?

In the giant book, I found the page on suicide and read that the best and most efficient way to kill oneself successful was to use a handgun. Tears dried, my right index finger aimed at my right temple, [click goes the sound] of the [cocked gun]. Here’s to freedom, I said, pulling an imaginary trigger. That made me cry again. Another gut wrenching cry that brought me to my knees and I begged God to show me the way. There has to be another way. Somebody has done it before me.

Overcome with a hot rush of blood in my veins, I suddenly felt things I can not fully explain. I felt the blood and DNA of those who had come before me, those who had fought for freedom and justice, like you. Your name came to mind as I looked down and saw that my hand was still holding the gun. I want to ask you: is that how you felt before you started your underground railroad trips? Were you fed up ? Did you see the unseen and know the unknown? Did you think something else was out there? Did you look around at your slave master and wonder how and why was it so that he was there and you were here? Did you also look at the semi-contented black faces around you in confusion at their placidness? Were you rebellious? Did you call bullshit?

For some reason, I think you did. Sorry for the barrage of questions but did you get depressed or deeply troubled the way I did when I decided to call bullshit? Were you miserable? Did you first get the gun and point it at your own head, declaring that you would kill yourself before you continued in that system? Somehow, I see you. Before pulling the trigger, you made one last ditch effort. A surge of what I like to call “fuck it” ran through your veins and you said that before you blew your brains out, you would use that gun another way. You became determined to see freedom on THIS side. So you set out taking your own risks, throwing caution to the wind and reached freedom for yourself and helped others.

I am you, Harriet. I am enslaved in a system that is designed to keep me here. A system that no one likes or enjoys but that everyone has to comply with because this system controls your life. This system is my bread and butter, This system is my shelter. This system is my life. And many, cannot see the forest for the trees. Many look at me as if I have completely lost my everloving mind. But jobs, they say, keep us fed, sheltered, and whole. At the expense of what is my response. What about my essence, I say? What about my creative and God-given abilities. What about my humanity? What am I here for? What is my purpose? Surely, it is not by design that my purpose is to merely fatten the pockets of some unseen bureaucrat or demagogue. My essence, my soul, cannot be reduced to some numerical value of dollars and cents. But this is excatly what “life” has boiled down to. I must choose everyday between being human and surviving because apparrently these are two completely separate entities.

Just like in your days, there have been tepid talks of freedom such as a universal income for everyone but personally, that sounds like a long way off for America. Must my essence wait that long for recognition? Must I tarry or continue to wade in the water or….should I take freedom into my own hands?

From the rebellious one,

Ron

The Essence Within

Closing my eyes, I am wrapped in velvet darkness that caresses me. The darkness transforms into the light of peace, calming the storms of my mind. Racing questions, instantaneous thoughts, self deprecating feelings all wash away here in this space. Like my secret retreat. Silent tears sleigh down the hill of my cheeks as I relish in this peace and calm, closing the doors of senses, letting the world fall away. I am grateful for this space. I sit asking the Infinite for strength to continue in my mortal form with its finite intelligence. I ask him to let the peace of this place remain with me when my eyes open. I dread opening my eyes and rising from my meditation pillow before realizing that this feeling in itself is a form of Maya. So I sit a bit longer, praying fervently for me to believe in true stillness and peace of mind. I pray for greater faith in the unseen— Peace. For me, I know not of peace. Not of what it looks like, what it feels like, or how it sounds. It takes much faith for me to believe that sitting here is okay, that this moment is supposed to be okay. That each moment is perfect and peaceful as it is.
No matter how difficult it is at times, I find comfort in meditating. My most favorite places to meditate are in the shower or in the woods while it is raining — because no one can distinguish the rain from the tears falling from my face. I cry often. Gut wrenching sobs that cripple my back forcing me to my knees. I have always cried when I pray, even from a young child. I cry out of sincerity. Out of sheer will for a greater, deeper faith for that which I am praying.
Most of my mediations, I am asking for strength and fortitude to continue with life. Pleading with God to arm with me his blessings of peace and fortitude for nothing else in this world is worth having. I beg Him to equip me with whatever it is that I need to complete this mission called life. I remind Him that I am suffering in this human form and need his help. Stretching my hands to the sky on my knees with tears streaming down my cheeks, I remind God how hard the suffering is. I bare my flesh to him, exposing deep ebony skin. I cry to him, saying “Master, Infinite Creator, please remember me. Remember that I am in this black girl form. This black skin is drenched in suffering, in past pains, past hurts. Though I know I have a mission here on earth in this body to complete, please be with me. The cross of this black skin is heavy. walk with it I must. Times come when I want nothing more than to meditate on you and practice your teachings when this brown skin fails to believe. This brown skin and the pulsing blood in my veins carry with it the sorrows of a thousand slaves. This brown skin knows little of peace and trust. Lord, you know I have the faith to believe in you even though I lack the faith to believe in myself. Lord, God, please give me the love of all loves — the love of myself. For if I am able to love myself, I am able to express that love to others, as it is your will Lord.”
I pray this prayer and have been praying this prayer for as long as I can remember. Not exactly in those words. I find it difficult to meditate deeply or to enjoy life as fully as I can because my mind always seems to get the better of me. Growing up Black, I was always told, “You have to work ten times as hard as everyone else just to get half of what they get”. This philosophy became the backdrop for my life, filling it with fear and anxiety. I overworked myself to the point of exhaustion and then would get depressed when I physically couldn’t go on because to me, if I was not working like a slave, I was worthless. At work I would arrive early and leave late, working overtime even when I wasn’t paid for it. I didn’t mention any of the injustices that happened to me because I was taught that suffering injustices is the norm for my life as a black girl and that to speak up for myself would attract attention, and attention was bad because I should just feel grateful they even allowed me to be there in the first place. I was inadvertently taught to expect and accept a life as a second class citizen both in this country and in my thinking. Was I groomed and primed to hate myself?
I continued through life always trying to prove myself and denying the luxury of knowing peace. I got to a place in life where I questioned the point of any of it. I asked God why did he make me? I felt ugly, worn, and insane. I wanted to know why God was so unmerciful to people with dark skin. We were brought out of slavery only to have physical chains be replaced with mental ones. In my thinking, I was sure that physical chains could not hold a match to mental chains, for who has the key to free a man in mental chains? Oh, how I felt conned again. I felt once more like a loser as if the pains of suffering would go on forever.
After a very dark episode of depression that landed me into a mental hospital for a week and after quitting my job, I began to get heavily involved in meditation. It was through this meditation that my pain and suffering made sense. I learned about reincarnations and the purpose of this physical body. I began to believe that I was not my body nor my mind but I was an essence that was temporarily residing in the current earthly form. It gives me solace for when times are hard. For those times that the color of my skin causes me to doubt and hate myself, I remember that I am not this black skin, I am the essence within. And if God selected this particular earthly form of black skin with all of its pains and suffering for me to reside in during my mission on earth, He must have also known that my essence is already well equipped.

Supplementing My Public School Education

Becoming frustrated with life will cause you to do a total evaluation of your life. I found out several things very early in life about myself:

  1. I am horrible with money;
  2. I am controlled by my emotions meaning that I am very impulsive and reactive; and,
  3. I found it difficult to really know what I want and to make a decision.

Reflecting upon my life I noticed that I was not taught several fundamental principles in life about time, money, and self-control. For most middle class or families that fall into any class below the middle, most children spent the majority of their time and attention in a public school classroom for hours at a time. Learning. It is safe to assume that school curriculums expect parents to teach their children those precious fundamentals about time, money, and emotions. I get it. School is not meant to be all-inclusive. But what if your parents do not know themselves or what if they do not have the time to teach you those principles?

You would end up like me in life: debt-laden, impulsive, and depressed.

If you are here where I am, you will most likely need a supplement to your public school education. You will need to learn the fundamentals to go along with your academic degree elsewise your degree will be pretty much worthless. Real power is knowing how to use the knowledge you have, much less about how many degrees you have or languages you speak.

Having the fundamentals of life will prepare you to use the knowledge you gain in life to your advantage and the greater good of the world. If you are eager to begin, please start by reading one of the books from my recommended book list. I know, these books cost money but I can guarantee you that reading is one of the best ways to invest in yourself. The ROI (return on investment) will reveal itself. Besides, sometimes all it takes a show of faith in yourself, an investment. So let yourself know that you are worth the investment and get ready to take charge and change your life!

 

 

Emotion Check

Do you have issues dealing with emotions whether stemming from your own thoughts or from situations involving others? Or have you acted impulsively based on an emotion you’ve experienced?
Looking back through my life, I can see so many instances of when I have let my emotions control me. Not good. At all. I know that during those phases and places in my life prior to this very moment, others have probably labeled me as an emotionally volatile person. Unstable. Unpredictable.
To that I say, cheers to the dawn of a new day. I have since learned to tame the beast of emotion and ego that dwells in the very depths of my mind. How? Mindfulness and meditation. Those two words seem vague in and of themselves but the more you practice and read about it, the more you understand what they mean and the relationship they have with each other.
What steps can you take today to experience the difference of living in control of your emotions vs living with control of your emotions? I will give you a golden nugget to hang on to for today:
See if you catch yourself before or during the middle of an emotional episode. If you can see it, you can stop it. Once you identify it, make a pledge with yourself that no matter when you notice it such as when you can name it as being an emotional experience, that you will stop, take 3 deep breaths focusing on the breath on each inhale and exhale, and stretch your back. No matter where you are. If sitting in a straight back chair in a suit and you began to get heated with a co-worker, you can notice that you are being driven by emotion, either stop yourself mid-sentence or excuse yourself from his presence, breath deep 3 times, and stretch your back.
I know this will help you as much or maybe more as it has helped me. I spot the experiences less and less because the stronger my awareness of them become, the less they appear. One must learn to outwit the mind 😉