diary of a chaotic humanitarian flight and my isolation from social media.

Seeing photos of my family in the 70s, smelling my father's coffee in the morning, and listening to my mother narrating the adventures of my grandmother Altagracia: These are some of the small pleasures that I rediscovered on my return to Colombia, right in the middle of the pandemic. Temporarily quitting from social media is, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I have made this year. Find out why.

Probably none of you noticed that I disabled my Instagram account for about two weeks when we were still in lockdown in Colombia, but I did, and it was spectacular. But before I tell you more about the enlightening experience and show you a couple of photos from my personal album, let me give you some context. Last June, one day after the summer solstice, I flew on one of the first humanitarian flights that went from Spain to Colombia, saying goodbye to my most recent lover, Barcelona, and also leaving behind my utopian teen movie summer that I was willing to live after being locked up for three months; but the universe had other plans for me, temporarily returning me to the arms of my beloved and (cough) not so beloved Barranquilla, where I did not intend to return anytime soon for very personal reasons. Let’s say that our relationship has been a toxic one, but real love accepts it all, the good and the not so good, right? At least that’s how I see it.

The point is that after making endless lines in Madrid’s airport and after going through chaotically improvised security protocols for about three hours in Bogotá, my only way to get home was by land, since all the airports were closed. So I enlisted in an adventure of traveling on a “Berlinas” bus (because of my unemployed student budget), taking my whole life packed in four overweight suitcases with me, after selling, giving and throwing away half of my belongings. Just thinking about it makes me anxious again, but I thank life for helping me detach myself from unnecessary things. I mean, what was I doing with my ex’s letters? Thank you, next.

“Real love accepts everything, the good and the not so good, right? at least, that's the way I see it".

“Real love accepts everything, the good and the not so good, right? at least, that's the way I see it".

Spending 22 hours on a bus in the middle of nowhere without mobile data or Wi-Fi makes you think about sooo many things. I had downloaded the first five episodes of "The Politician" by my dear Ryan Murphy on my smartphone, but at the end of the second one, I decided that it was simply not the time to be stuck in a six-inch screen while the colors of the sunset were seducing me through the window, so I decided to admire the majestic beauty of my country that I missed so much and I didn’t know it. I had already made a couple of long trips by land in Colombia, but this was the first time I did it as an adult; Seeing the way millions of people live in rural areas of the country does not feel the same at age 12 as at 25, this is a blessed land that has been mistreated for centuries, not only by outsiders but by our own internal conflicts that do not need to be mentioned. My mind wandered between all the possible ways to do something about it, but after all the odyssey of the previous days, my mind was about to collapse, so I decided to turn off and rest, but the seed was planted.

Arriving in Barranquilla had never felt so good, after complaining for years about this city, now it was welcoming me and making me feel safer than ever. However, the anguish and mental fatigue became stronger with the whole culture of fear around the coronavirus in social media. Also, I could not handle the guilt I was feeling for having exploded at people who had nothing to do with my hypersensitivity of the moment. I just wanted to disappear, and what better way to escape the world than doing it in the arms of your mother? nothing. One day my phone ran out of space to record a voice note and not even witchcraft would made me delete the videos of me in quarantine dressed like a 40’s diva. So I thought, "Fuck Instagram," I deleted the app and felt powerful. It was kind of like when you delete your ex’s contact on the phone to not have the option of doing stupid things, after that leap of faith whatever comes is profit, friends.

My mother after painting her gray hair.

He will kill me when he sees that I divulge that his gray hair is painted.

She doesn't know how beautiful she is.

But not only did I get rid of Instagram and temporarily closed my account, I also turned off all my notifications and started spending less time answering WhatsApp. Being out of the digital world brought me a little bit of the peace I was looking for, although a voice inside of me was screaming at me to come back, saying that people would forget about me, that I needed to show up and let everyone know that I was alive, that I did not disappear. But after a few days I concluded that nobody really cared, and the truth is that nobody cares. We live locked in our heads thinking that we are the center of the universe, and it has been several centuries since science has proven otherwise. I had forgotten how good it feels to go for a walk without thinking from what angle I’m going to take the photo for my next Instagram story, or things as simple as looking at my mother’s eyes as she tells me her wonderful stories without being interrupted by a fucking notification.

I also began to know myself a little more (although this is a lifetime job), to heal my relationship with myself, with my father and with my roots. I discovered that my family is more tolerant and aware than my 17-year-old self would have ever imagined and that it is possible to live with people with whom you do not share the same ideals; Today my house is made up of a Catholic man who used to be an altar boy (my father), a Christian woman who studies the Bible weekly with a group of women (my mother) and a yogi who loves kirtan and astrology who spends his days singing mantras and lighting palo santo (me).

I as well started to write again in my diary which I had abandoned more than my sex life (true story), and I discovered through my letters all the pain that I was carrying on my shoulders that I needed to release. But without a doubt one of the best conclusions I reached is that I don't need the approval of those three or four people who are not really interested in appreciating how wonderful I am; and also, realizing that it is a job that I must do alone, and I cannot assign that responsibility to anyone.

It is curious that we normally use the term “disconnect” when we talk about staying away from technology, when I think it is exactly the opposite, we disconnect from the real world when we are immersed in a screen, and we truly connect when we embrace nature, when we smell the beauty of life and we look inward and in all directions of our being.

I cannot tell you that life without social media is better or worse, in fact, now you’re reading this thanks to a link I shared on Instagram and I’m happy with that; In the middle of a global pandemic, having (virtual) contact with the world is almost a necessity, but after getting out, at least for two weeks, from the addictive loop in which I had been immersed since I was 12 years old, first with Myspace, then with Hi5, and finally with the entire empire of Facebook and Instagram, I can assure you that the anxiety that was killing me dropped considerably and my mind is now working in a much calmer way, focusing on the things that are truly important and essential for me.

"I discovered that my family is more tolerant and aware than my 17-year-old self could have imagined and that it is possible to live with people with whom you do not share the same ideals.

"I discovered that my family is more tolerant and aware than my 17-year-old self could have imagined and that it is possible to live with people with whom you do not share the same ideals.

Quitting the internet is certainly not the final solution to better mental health, but keeping a little distance certainly makes a big, big difference. I believe that we are a new generation of human beings who are capable of using the tools that this century offers, without forgetting that there is an untouchable part within us that is infinite, and that no matter how much we want to seek outside the approval of others, it is within us where we will find real love, as well as the greatest source of inspiration that we could not find on Tumblr or Pinterest.