I used to be obsessed with Facebook. I used to spend at least one hour stuck in bed when I woke up scrolling through everything I had missed on my feed. Ocassionally, I would drop my phone on my face or losing circulation in my arms. Throughout the day, I would constantly check to see what was happening. I spent more time on Facebook than I did on my goals. I was more worried about how to announce my life than I was on how to live my life.

A year ago, I posted a photo that was the most candid me I could be. I received comments, texts, and phone calls about how I should take it down. I couldn’t believe that the closest people in my life were telling me that I was wrong for being myself. For having fun. For letting go. So, I deactivated my Facebook. Some may call this a cop out. But, to me it was the best way to live the life that I wanted to live. For the first time, I was able to do whatever I want without judgement. Without an audience.

I was able to live for myself, not for society.

At first, I was a bit sad: There was a large amount of people that did not notice my absence at all. I would say roughly 80 percent of my “friends”. There were still people catching on to it over six months later. Only a handful of people asked me what happened, where I was. My initial reaction was not feeling left out or missing it like I thought. It was more of a relief that I did not have to live under a microscope of people who clearly did not remember me unless I popped onto their feed.

After about a month, I felt a little lonely. I realized that I did not know anything that was going on with anyone. Everyone assumed I was seeing their posts and there was no need for interaction. I began to reach out to friends and let them know I was no longer on the grid. Right away, something magical happened! We called each other. We communicated more. I got pictures of the babies BEFORE they were posted to Facebook. My relationships were strengthened.

In my year off: I loved more. I called more. I tried new things (things that weren’t trendy). I ate a lot (and my food wasn't cold because I had to take the perfect food pic first). I did what I wanted to do. I didn’t ask for permission, nor did I wonder.. will this look good to others? I wasn’t searching for likes. I was searching for myself.

I packed up my studio apartment in East Harlem, bought a car, and drove across the country to Los Angeles with the man of my dreams. I have only a handful of pictures from that trip, but hundreds of memories.

Now, I started a new venture in blogging. It’s funny because it is bringing me right back to social media. But, this time in a completely new way. For the first time, I am posting with no apologies. Life is good and it is reflected in every picture.

I don’t need to prove my happiness, it is living inside me.

It is almost sad to see what we have become..  Lifeless posts of “look at me, love me” when we could be using these amazing platforms to spread love and light. My journey back has been just that. I have dedicated my life to reaching others in that way. It is important not to lose yourself in a sea of approval and likes. You owe it to the world to be yourself. There is and never will be another you. Sure, we were not made to always like each other, but we should always be good to one another. We should choose love above all. Always choose love.

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