My mother has never been left on read

Every morning I fight the urge to check Instagram. I know I shouldn’t start my day like this, but it is difficult to combat the desire. Typically, I succumb. I unlock my phone, open the app, and begin scrolling through pictures and videos that add little value to my mind. It doesn’t take a sociologist or psychologist to determine why this is harmful. People post their best photos on Instagram. They post pictures of when interesting or aesthetic things happen. No one posts a picture of their swollen morning eyes. No one finds the perfect angle to photograph a biology project that has caused so much stress they could cry. My Instagram feed is comprised of people’s best moments and accomplishments. It contains the pinnacle of their success and beauty. It seems that everyone is a happy, well kept, and ambitious. Sometimes it makes me feel inadequate. Sometimes I worry that my own posts make others feel inadequate. But, if you’re mindful and cautious, it is possible to resist the pressures of social media and not let it weigh you down.

Don’t get me wrong, I see the value of iPhones and social media as well. Whether it’s lost in a purse or peeking out of a back pocket, an iPhone provides limitless access to information on any topic. If you want to find a decadent macaroni and cheese recipe for dinner…google it. If you need to know the greatest common factors of a number…google it. If you’re wondering what time it is in Dubai…google it. In this way, iPhones provide our lives with immense ease but most of the time we take it for granted. Most of the time we don’t realize how we could technically learn a new language within the four corners of our phones if we dedicated enough time. We could learn the fundamentals of beekeeping or discover which fish pairs best with Pinot Grigio.

And what about the connectivity iPhones offer? What about their ability to make us feel like we are in the same room as someone thousands of miles away? Long distance relationships have never been more feasible. Phone calls. Texting. FaceTime. Audio messages. Voicemail. Email. Direct Message. All of these modes of communication foster love and friendship at a great distance. It is interesting to think about falling in love this way. How much can you really know someone through your phone? And what if they stop responding? Should you tolerate the pain or text them again? If you text them again you could come off as overbearing or needy. And that would be embarrassing.

My mother does not know the frustration of being left on read. My grandma does not know the emptiness of a Snapchat left on open.

Sometimes I think about all the time I’ve wasted being sad over not getting a text back when I could have been learning a language, discovering a new author or making home-made macaroons.

The next time I pick up my phone I want to see my eyes first. I want to see my reflection in the screen and remind myself of the magnitude of knowledge I am about to unlock.

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