Latest SuggeStory + Announcement Post!

Hello readers and/or SuggeStory listeners!

Today’s post is going to be a few things. First and foremost, it’s an announcement post for all of the episodes for the month of July! If you want to play along, but you don’t have time to get in this week’s story, you can now plan ahead and submit stories for future weeks’ episodes. After the July sentences, I’ll include the text from the story I wrote for the sentence, “I don’t think I can eat another one of these today.” If you want to hear how I came up with it & hear me read it, check out the podcast! I’ll include a link before the story.

July 6: Once he said it, he couldn’t unsay it. (Story Due: July 3, midnight)

July 13: Most days I take the left one, today I’m taking the right. (Due: July 10, midnight)

July 20: They kissed; passion on their lips, vengeance in their heart. (Due: July 17, midnight)

July 27: He hits his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.

Make sure to send your stories or first sentence suggestions to SuggeStoryPodcast@gmail.com!

Link to the June 29 episode, “I don’t think I can eat another one of these today”: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-igmqb-b60f5a

Read the story after the jump!

AnotherOne

I don’t think I can eat another one of these today.

“I don’t think I can eat another one of these today,” she said. And I believed her. It had been a few minutes since I’d looked at her face, but now that I was looking at her again, I could see the sweat pouring down her face.

“Whoa,” I said. “You don’t look so good.”

Her face was a tomato. Or maybe that was just the LSD kicking in. A sweaty, red tomato with blue hair pouring down the sides of her face, sticking to her forehead and cheeks instead of dangling beside her ears or frizzing out like it sometimes did on cloudy days.

“I don’t feel so good.”

“How many did you eat?”

“Just the one bag.”

But the bag looked a lot bigger than I remembered it being. “Is that…?”

“Yeah, I went back and grabbed the family-sized.”

“Did you eat the entire bag?!”

“I think my tongue is sweating.”

“I don’t know what to do. Should we Google it?”

“I can’t open my phone. I think my fingerprint was burned off.”

“No, you just still have Cheeto dust on it.”

“Oh, man. I think I’m a dragon.”

“Was a family-sized bag of flamin’ hot Cheetos the best idea right before taking LSD for the first time?”

“I will burn this city to the ground!”

I didn’t know what to do. This giant blue-haired tomato was covered in cheeto dust and was about to smash my Lego Castle to bits. I wanted to stop her, but my legs had turned into a puddle of water and the rest of my body was sinking and I was about to drown.

I was fully submerged. I looked up, through the surface of the water, but I couldn’t hear her anymore. There were shimmering lights between us, and I could see her, almost in slow-motion, completely annihilating the castle. Before my eyes, her tomato-head grew a dragon’s body. Her cheeto-dust covered hands sprouted into wings that were literally on fire, and she beat her wings against the surrounding air and took off. Immediately, I felt the flames wash over me, burning away the water, instantly changing it to vapor. I felt my skin heat up and I think some part of me knew that it was actually just Cheeto-dust. That I wasn’t being burned alive by a tomato-dragon. But I have to tell you, it felt real.

The dragon was flying through the air, reaching toward the sky, splitting it into pieces. Like a bullet through a windshield, the dragon shattered the bedroom ceiling, which swirled through the air and turned into flower petals as the tomato dragon disappeared into the distance.

I was either completely overjoyed or utterly devastated, and I wasn’t sure which, but I could feel hot tears pouring my emotions down my face.

“Goodbye, Emily!” I called after her. For many years she’d been my best friend. But now, she was a tomato-dragon in another dimension.

“What are you talking about?” her voice came to me as though she was all around me. Like she had evolved into the universe itself. “Dude, are you leaving?”

“No,” I said, my heart filling with love. “But you’ve already gone.”

“I put my code into the phone. It says I should drink milk.”

“Yes,” I said, contentment washing over me. “Drink the milk of eternity, my tomato-dragon.”

For a thousand years, there was only silence. I devolved into a larvae state. My existence was beginning anew as the universe reset. I could feel my thorax beginning to twitch for the first time.

“Is there milk in your fridge?”

She had returned! From within the echoes of eternity, I had transcended time as well, and could communicate with Em-atodragon by merely opening my speech hole.

“That all depends,” I said, a glint of cleverness in my eyes, “on when you are.”

“I’m just gonna go check.”

And I felt the weight of the world fall away.

I whispered into the dark void of forever: “Drink the milk of eternity, my tomato dragon.”

blorp

Advertisements

I’m (not) A Social Media Addict

“Oh FUCK!”

We all know the feeling.

We all know the terror.

The worst thing has happened: You’ve lost your cell phone. That feeling, the crippling feeling that you’ve lost not only your cell phone, but your connection to everything in your life–your friends, your family, your accounts, your money…

UnderBed

But we’re not addicted to our cell phones. It’s just that the world makes it impossible to live without them. Right?

Want a job? Apply online. Want a sandwich? Don’t forget to download our app! Join a new social club? Cool, join our Facebook page (that’s the only place we ever plan anything, haha).

Social Media Logotype Background

Everywhere you go, you need access to the Internet. Most of our money exists theoretically, not in physical cash but in ones and zeroes in bank accounts. Smartphones are, more or less, the only portal we have to access everything we need to survive in modern society.

This is not an inherently bad thing. We’re more connected than we’ve ever been before. We have more access to information than any generation before us in the history of the planet. More than ever before, we’re realizing that we’re one tiny community of humans on this speck in the Universe that we call Earth. People are organizing and coming together from across the globe to solve some of our biggest problems.

Universe

So… it’s fine that we can’t go a few hours without checking social. It’s a fair trade-off. Right? Give a little, get a lot.

Right?

I’m the first to admit, I never thought I had a cell phone addiction. I never thought I had a social media addiction. I didn’t think I used it very much. “I just check it a few times a day,” I thought. “I’m just responding to this one post.” It didn’t matter that I was doing it at stop lights. It didn’t matter that I did it while waiting in line. It didn’t matter that any time I was feeling a little anxious, I’d open up my cell phone and get a tiny little fix of endorphins to tide me over again.

It also didn’t matter that the content I was consuming was making me angry, or scared, or heartbroken. It didn’t matter that all day, I was reading stories of atrocities being committed around the world: by terrorists, by white supremacists, by foreign powers, by our own government… It didn’t matter that most of these problems were things I couldn’t actually do anything about.

It’s hard to care. It hard to feel the feelings of everyone who is suffering, and then remember that caring doesn’t stop the pain, that feeling the feelings of those in pain doesn’t do anything to alleviate that pain.

Drowning

I struggled for a long time, not sure what to do. How can I help? And if I can’t help, then why am I so sad, all the time? At a certain point in therapy you realize the importance of prioritizing your own happiness about the happiness of others (which doesn’t mean, “stop caring about other people,” which is how I always interpreted it before I really “got it”), so I had to take a hard look at what was really causing my unhappiness.

I’d read all the studies about social media addiction leading to increased FOMO, leading to increased feelings of comparisons to others, leading to people feeling overwhelmed by how much work there still is to do for equality. “Yeah, but that’s not me, I barely use it!”

Until I stopped using it. The first change was that I permanently deleted my Facebook account. People thought I was crazy. Hell, I thought I was crazy. I thought I was going to lose track of everything in my life–my friends, my connection to reality, my ability to know what’s happening in the world… But I didn’t.

And I got happier.

happy

Now that I wasn’t consuming news, facts, information, likes, reactions, and opinions all day, even in small doses, I was feeling more positive about my life. About the future. About our species. The bad things were still happening, of course, and I’d hear about it in podcasts or in conversations with friends (because I started seeing friends more!), but it didn’t affect me as heavily. It didn’t cause me to stop working, it didn’t make me feel like a failure or a bad person for not doing EVERYTHING I CAN POSSIBLY DO RIGHT NOW to help solve every problem the world could throw at me.

Then I limited my Instagram and Twitter usage to select periods of time in the mornings and evenings. Perhaps I could have gone further, but I use those accounts to grow my business and grow an audience as part of my digital ecosystem.

(Even then, I think I was still a social media addict. In denial, of course. Because I’d taken steps to limit my usage. I’d deleted accounts. I was feeling better. I was on an upward trend. “I couldn’t possibly be addicted now,” I told myself, somehow ignoring the fact that this was an admission that I had been addicted prior to this moment.)

DigitalDetox

The scariest moment was when I beta-tested the (above) Triple-M Digital Detox. Part of the program involves moving your social media apps to a folder in a separate section of your phone for a week. One day, in mid-conversation, I looked down at my phone and realized that I had unknowingly done the series of clicks that would have taken me to Instagram, but instead had opened my bank’s app.

I stared at the screen, confused, until I realized what happened. My fingers had been opening social media apps without me even knowing it. And if the app had still been there, I might have stopped to look at Instagram in that moment. I might have taken five minutes of time out of my day to look at pictures, check notifications, and respond to comments. How often did that happen? How many times did this exact situation occur before now, without me even being aware?

confusedatphone

This isn’t the part where I get all preachy and tell you to get rid of social media before it “dEsTrOyS CiViLiZaTiOn!!1!

I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think social media and the Internet have provided more good for our society than evil, but I also think we need to learn to manage it, because it’s unquestionably an addiction.

How do we do that? It’s still nearly impossible to survive the world today without having some form of social media. Now that they’ve monetized it, “Social Media” is a legitimate career path. Influencers are the hottest new way to market your businesses and products, and that’s not changing anytime soon. The Influencer craze has only just begun, and as technology advances we’ll keep finding more and more ways to monetize and advertise our daily lives. So I’m still on social media. In fact, I even have a Facebook again (which may be how you found this article!) because in 2019, starting an online business without a Facebook account is like starting a horse and buggy business in 1819 without owning a horse.

buggywreck

Oops

Did you know that Facebook has almost 1 and a half billion daily users? Did you know that over 40% of Facebook users only access Facebook on their phones? Or that 78% of Americans have purchased something they saw on Facebook?

I didn’t. Not before I deleted my account. So I’m back. And I’m back with a business that creates digital content, but also encourages healthy social media and cell phone habits, utilizing all the ridiculous but true information I learned on my 8 month hiatus.

Am I still addicted? I don’t know. I know I spend a lot less time on the apps than I used to. I know I plan my posts a week or so in advance, so when I open the apps it’s all business. I know that I’m having less “fun” doing it, so maybe that’s a sign that I’m doing it the right way. I’ve also noticed that I think less about it. I care less about the numbers than I used to. I’m posting things that I like and care about, and it seems to be having an effect, at least in terms of the amount of interaction I’ve been having.

I’ve been more comfortable being myself. Expressing myself. And maybe you can argue that that has more to do with the other changes I’ve made in my life, going to therapy, cutting out toxic people, but I’d also argue that some of those things might not have happened if I were still as active on social media. When you’re happier, you notice the things in your life that don’t make you happy.

So, I’m actually proud to say that I’m not a social media addict. But I definitely was. And I’m constantly aware that it could always happen again.

Justin Xavier, 6/22/2019

ANP

To listen to the A New Perspective podcast episode about Social Media addiction, follow the link below.

https://anewperspectivepod.podbean.com/e/ep11-on-detoxing-from-social-media/