Why Do We Insist On Letting The Internet Control Our Emotions?

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You probably read the headline to this post and assumed it was something about how negative comments or negative tweets put me in a spiraling bad mood, because… well, I’ve brought it up time and time again.

But this post is different, it’s not about the things people say or do to us online, heck it’s not even about the sadness and inner turmoil that comes from comparing ourselves to our peers, it’s about our addiction to those little bars of WIFI on our phone. The addiction to finding a free open WIFI in a foreign country, to having full bars of 4G that actually work – our addiction to having access to the online world.

I’m writing this on a day where I am feeling more all over the place and emotional and rollercoaster-y than I’ve felt in a little while. It’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m writing this post ready to go out to you all tomorrow. I am a bit tired. I am *probably* due on my period as some point over the Easter weekend. I am facing that crash back to reality following a long weekend abroad, and a song has just come on that I listened to on the Italian radio whilst in a mini bus yesterday morning, winding through Tuscan hills on my way to Perugia airport for my flight home.

I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to travel so much of late and that I have more adventures lined up, but also a little bit exhuasted and out of routine and flustered by the idea that I have the rest of the afternoon and evening to get all my blog posts and YouTube uploads sorted for the rest of the week because I agreed to work in London tomorrow and Thursday. Everything feels a rush and I am not mentally ready for it.

But mostly I am a bit of a mess. My face is stiff from dried, salty tears. My face feels sleepy from crying out said tears, and my bed is unmade because I keep getting back into it because life is just a bit much today.

Why? Because my internet keeps breaking.

That is all that is wrong. My internet is intermittent and slow, and sometimes there’s a full hour whether nothing happens and it’s driving me flipping insane.

I know that I’m addicted to the internet. I know that I have an unhealthy obsession with it. But I let the fact that so many of us have this same issue as an excuse that it’s not bad, that it’s not a problem, that maybe it’s unavoidable and it’s out of my control.

I have said the word cunt about 14 times today. I have thought about smashing my iMac. I have rung Sky and pretended to be married to my boyfriend with the hope of them fixing my WIFI. I have gone for a swim to destress. I have screamed into a pillow. I have eaten a Creme Egg. I have left my suitcase and all my washing strewn across the floor because fuck having the motivation for life when THE INTERNET IS DOWN.

I can’t get my work done, I can’t find out if this lamp is back in stock, I can’t listen to Spotify, or post the weekend’s blog entries to Facebook, heck I can’t even get upset about the internet not working and watch Pretty Little Liars to take the edge off because stupid online Netflix.

My addiction and need for all of these things in my daily life has caused me to have a full-on emotional crisis just because I can’t have them. Because I am out of control. Because things aren’t going the way I planned out in my head.

When I go on holiday I refuse to pay for add-ons, but I spend a holiday-ruining amount of time scouting out Starbucks and McDonalds branches because I KNOW I can get internet. I know I will get a fix. I know I will be reunited with my one true love. I know I will be able to check for exciting emails and upload fancy I’M ON HOLIDAY LIVING THE DREAM photos to Instagram.

And I have to do those things. I have to. I’m sure the world won’t break if I stop, but I’m afraid that my world just might. I don’t, like I’m sure a lot of you don’t, have much memory of life before the internet, of life before my need for the internet’s reinforcement that I’m good enough.

Back then I wanted to be in people’s MSN names, I wanted to be in people’s top 8 friends list, I wanted people to comment on my profile pictures and now I want Instagram likes in their hundreds, positive blog comments and exciting emails from PRs and compliment-crammed emails from readers. I’ve spent the last decade seeking positivity from the online world and I think maybe I’ve forgotten how to exist without it.

Today I have come close to falling apart in a way in which I haven’t done for months and months. I feared Chris would come home from work and find me swirled up in about three blankets begging for hot Ribena and Harry Potter like an ill 7-year-old. But this post has helped me, helped me get my emotions and the reasons for my emotions out of my head and make me see that they’re a bit stupid. Well OK, like a lot stupid.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it and sometimes I don’t want to believe it, but there is more to life than an internet connection. There is happiness and self-esteem to be found away from 3G signal and free WIFI.

The world will not forget you exist if you can’t tweet for a day, if you have to miss a blog post, if you can’t reply to emails. We need to learn that life is OK, heck it’s more than OK, it’s *gulp* EVEN BETTER away from our phones and iPads and laptops and computers. Our happiest memories, the things we will look back on, will not be the things we did whilst sat in front of a screen. They simply won’t be, and I know that because when I look back at some of the most exciting things lodged in my head, they didn’t involve the internet, they didn’t even involve photographic evidence that they happened.

The entire sprawling view of Ipswich – including Orwell Bridge and the football grounds – from the plane yesterday, playing N64 and drinking cider with my brothers, sitting in hotel bars scattered around Europe drinking Prosecco with Chris, having a solo coffee whilst reading a good book in a local Costa. All the good things in life, come without phone reception and that’s something we all too easily forget.

And for the things that HAVE to be done with internet connection, things like blog posts and important emails – they’re not life and death and it’s OK to admit that some things simply cannot be done. That some things have to be postponed. Life won’t end. The internet is not everything.

 

 


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