I wanted an out. My library card gave it to me.

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Last year, I made the decision to delete my Twitter. That isn’t a big deal for most folks but for me, it was monumental. For years, I learned to gain acceptance and validation from the internet. Social networks, message boards and comment sections gave me a false sense of importance and community. A dishonest vibe of belonging and togetherness. So much that I used to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t just so I could be counted as present.

I realized at the end of 2017 that something had to change. I also recognized the real life community that God blessed me with. I rode out Twitter-free for months, not missing the app. I felt like I had a life, I felt like I wasn’t ingesting worthless content. I went without searching for approval from people that didn’t give a damn about me beyond 140 characters.

But then I slipped. I started a Twitter for my writing and vowed to only use it to promote my content. But when I found myself unemployed with loads of time on my hands, I retreated back into the Twitter I knew. Binging all hours of the day, following old Twitter friends. Engaging in conversations that felt good in the moment but fleeting inside forever. Watching my phone for likes and retweets. Finding a false sense of importance when someone would say “I wondered where you went!” when they saw me tweeting again.

It wasn’t until recently when I realized that I corrupted my mission. I noticed the toxicity and banality of Twitter. I found myself becoming angry at things that needed no emotions attached to it. I started to loathe the Thinkpiece Twitter types who always have to be on ready, who yell at walls better than I ever could. I found more things to be offensive than funny. The app was the trashbag on bandwidth I always knew for it to be.

I wanted an out. My library card gave it to me.

It had been almost 20 years since I checked out a book. When I was young, my Mom and I would carry a milk crate to the Montgomery County library every Saturday and I would load up on books. I’d sit in my room for hours, reading books to my stuffed animals. As I got older, I abandoned the library but not my love of books. In college, I took every literature elective imaginable. Read books from authors I would have never thought to read. 18th century French lit, environmental lit (hey, Silent Spring). I kept all of my books from college. My library was legit.

As I entered the workforce, I read books during my lunchtime. Commutes would be filled with works about public policy, feminism, sports history, political science. I could finish a book in a week. However, the older I became and the more hectic my life grew into, I read my Twitter more than I read a book. I stopped reading all together. Deep down, I was heartbroken by that change.

Last week, I finished a hardcover book for the first time in seven years. I then went and checked out three more books. I plan to finish them all before their due date. Three books in 21 days? I’m on it.

That book kept me off of Twitter. I read on the ride home from work. I went to coffeehouses to find a comfy chairs to sink into. I read before I went to sleep. Looking at my Twitter felt insulting to my brain.

Starting my new job gave me the chance to be the girl again that would go outside of her building, sit in the courtyard and read. I took the long commute home to spend more time nestled in a book. I found myself not wanting to be on Twitter, not wanting to be nose deep in my phone all day. I made the decision to disable the internet on my phone so I couldn’t be distracted. I didn’t need to know what was happening on Twitter. All of it was stuff that doesn’t matter anyway.

On November 1st, I deleted my Twitter. I just finished watching a sermon on YouTube and I found those 54 minutes digesting the word of God for encouragement more fulfilling than the hour I would have spent on social media reading about content that truly made me hurl. As I finished this, the current book I’m reading sits to the left of me begging to be opened. The silence caused by the death of my Twitter allowed for me to hear it.

So make room. Get rid of what doesn’t matter and make room. God gave you time. Use it wisely and most important, use it on and for Him.

Memoirist in spirit and in truth. Christian essayist when both the spirit and truth move me. email: crjtwrites[at]gmail.com

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