A friend of mine recently posted a Facebook status update explaining that she would be taking a step back from social networking and that if anyone wanted to stay in touch, they should call her on her phone. What a concept. She's not the first of my friends to make such an announcement so it wasn't the first time I felt a twinge of jealousy and curiosity. But I felt it nonetheless.
I want to unplug sometimes. I really do. The Internet consumes me because I have become a social networking whore. Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Keek... I want to fuck them all. It's not just out of pure obsession or addiction but that plays a role in it as well. I have a different reason to want to be on the Internet and I think it's a good reason... I suppose everyone thinks their reason is good though, right?
I'm addicted to the Internet because it's connected me with thousands of people who can understand me. And when I say me, I mean the me I've been through each stage of my life. People who have moved around a lot. People who have struggled with drugs and alcohol. People who were outraged by SB 1070. People who married immigrants. People who love calzones. People who are obsessed with border dynamics. People who are separated from their children. People who dream. People who love Beachbody. People who have navigated the rough waters of USCIS and come out alive but battered and bleeding.
If it weren't for this little Internet-box-machine-thingy-ma-jig, I wouldn't have met any of those people. I find that somewhat unsettling. Now, I can't deny that I've stayed awake until 2 am on a Tuesday playing Candy Crush and wondering how I'll be able to sleep if I don't pass level 140. I've had drunken nights where I watch dozens of YouTube music videos and posted some of those questionable videos to Facebook. I've scrolled through my insanely long Twitter feed until I've seen every single tweet since the last time I'd logged in. I've searched people's addresses on Google Earth before going to a party to make sure the person doesn't live in a neighborhood I might get shot in. I've seen enough Jenna Marbles videos to feel as though she is someone I know in real life. I've played 17 different games of online Scrabble at once. Maybe I did all that yesterday. I have the normal addiction, but I don't think that's the real reason I'm hooked.
I'm hooked because of the people I've connected with.
With that being said, the idea of unplugging and getting away from it all is still somewhat tempting. I've been extremely stressed in the past couple of weeks, trying to find some balance in my life, and it's certainly caused more than a couple arguments at home. Stress turns me into a raging bitch and my loved ones suffer more than anyone. This, of course, has prompted more than one person to suggest I just unplug for a bit and concentrate on life. Real life. Raymundo. Work. Sam. My home.
Maybe they're right. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention to the right things.
But I can't quite shake the idea that if it weren't for everyone I've met online, if it weren't for my Internet promiscuity, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't be content with my life in Juarez. I wouldn't understand my husband as well as I do. I wouldn't know anyone else who was in my situation and I probably would have thrown tens of thousands of dollars down the toilet with immigration attorneys only to find myself at a dead end. I wouldn't have this blog as my outlet. My family wouldn't be a Skype call away. And as intriguing as the concept of powering down my laptop is, I'm just scared of the possibility of losing any of those connections. So for now, I guess I'll just continue my quest for balance?
It's a long and winding road my friends.