Silencing the Noise

January 26, 2017

modernlace6th grade-  Oh, the beauty of body odor and Axe, discovering the opposite sex, and figuring out what true friendship is. I am thankful for my 30′s, being comfortable in my own skin, which took way too long, and above all not dealing with hormonal boys.

I actually can’t imagine being in 6th grade in the year 2017. Social media and text are simply a way of life for teenagers. A “like” on a photo means someone is interested in you and phone calls and talking face to face have been replaced with text (I’m guilty of texting more than calling). When I taught high schoolers, my students often discussed their social anxiety due to only being connected digitally. Thankfully, I grew up where text and social media were just on the cusp of popularity. Dating was still traditional, and phone calls were expected. Engagements were either announced through the newspaper or people found out when they saw the ring.

I like the authenticity of having moments like that. Privacy was valued – your dinner was not published on Instagram, and you didn’t create photo opportunities to make your life look… Well, perfect. Perfection is the new standard. And I’m exhausted just thinking about that.

What a noisy life this snowballs into- and all for what? To be “adored” by many? Why are we so comfortable with trading reality with the perception of reality? And why is there such a need to share every facet of our lives as if we didn’t post it, it never happened?

One of my friends sent me a screenshot of a girl who posted a picture of herself, and the caption read: “Finally, I got my name changed back. It only took three months, but finally it’s done.” Apparently, that meant she had gone through yet another divorce. I could’ve cared less. Actually, I don’t even know this girl, never have had a conversation. I know her business now. I know that that was husband #3. Because I’ve been through the mill myself, I had no judgment at all. Actually, I loved that she had absolutely no shame. But just like my friend judged and sent me the picture, I bet many people did as well. Most of the time we give the ammo for people to fire shots at us.

This had me thinking: How much noise, distraction, and judgment could we eliminate if we just logged out and valued privacy?

A student’s mom posted on Facebook recently, “Yes, I did withdraw my daughter from school. If you have a problem with it, then ask me and not her.” Half of her “friends” probably had not the slightest clue that her daughter withdrew, but now everyone did. What this creates is chaos, unneeded advice, opinions, discussion or even arguing. She was literally asking for people to create this for her.

My church was recently challenged to stay off all forms of social media for a week. I had already deleted my Instagram app because it’s a deep dark hole that I have a hard time seeing my way out of. I catch myself logging on out of boredom and then clicking from one picture and person to the next- filling my mind with a perception of their reality. While most of the things I came across were not negative at all, I realized that perfection on display is negative. Staged photo shoots and filtered images often left my mind foggy – not seeing clearly at all what the reality was. This creates noise in my mind.

I long for more simplicity. Heck, I’d go live on a farm somewhere in Iowa if the oppporutiny was given.

But for now I have to determine how I can clear my mind, what simplicity looks like for me. We all know a little too much about the lives of people we don’t even know. I’m not sure if this is healthy, at least for me it’s not.

Have you ever thought about logging out indefinitely?

Brittany Windle

I think I’m still on Twitter. You can find me there.

photo credit: 2b Photography, exclusively for Modern Lace.