HI 2019: MY YEAR HIATUS OFF INSTAGRAM
H A P P Y N E W Y E A R and Welcome Back to ME!
I am back from a yearlong hiatus from Instagram. The idea of going off Instagram began on the little island of Barbados in December 2017. I spent two weeks there with two of my close friends. As much as we experienced Barbados together, we had a lot of time to ourselves as well. I knew going into the trip I wanted to take some sort of spiritual cleanse during the vacation, and that I definitely did. As I discovered the right balance of “me” time and friend time, I found a peaceful solitude and was overcome with clarity. Clarity led to thoughts of going into the New Year killing it off the rip. I am one of those people who gets prepared for the New Year by going into it with plans and intentions, so this clarity meant that much more to me.
Over the years, I have been building a pretty dope resume in the Cannabis industry, working to make the right connections and learn incredible information that could be valuable to hundreds of thousands of people on this planet. A lot of people began coming to me and referring me to their friends/family in regards to guidance on cannabis use. Through my experiences, I became aware of the fact that in Cannabis there is no one shedding light on it in a way that I was envisioning. From freelancing in the fashion industry to seeing how my two passions are connected, I found myself working with people my 12-year old self dreamed of collaborating with, as well as continuing to kill the personal style game every day. Eventually, I wanted to really get in my own space, uninfluenced by anyone else, speaking my truth. How could I combine fashion, cannabis and culture in a harmonious, informative, and sexy way? This introspection is what led to the rebuilding and rebirth of In A Real Cool Mood.
Flash back to October 2014, I created a blog solely to document my move to Los Angeles with my new DSLR camera I bought. I didn’t take it seriously and I didn’t care if my mother was the only person looking at it. I named the blog In A Real Cool Mood, as it seemed quite fitting for myself and the way I live life on the regular. I updated it from time to time, but I never followed a consistent game plan for it. I never saw it as a media platform to build and inspire others, but I was aware of the potential. Fast forward to Barbados about 4 years later and this is where my light bulb went off. I don’t know if it was the soaking in warm ocean water every day, but my thoughts became so clear. I’ve always been someone who is goal-oriented and pursuing my *crazy* dreams (which I find completely attainable). I’ve never had a Plan B in life and I came to the realization it was time to cut the shit and take a leap of faith in going balls to the walls for what I want to accomplish. I wanted to rebuild this digital home combining everything under the sun that has inspired me, and share that inspiration with others. I want to spread my knowledge, light, and transparency of being a human being within this world. The world desperately needs transparency, but that’s a topic for another time.
I never took social media seriously and I never put too much thought into what I was posting. As I gathered my thoughts from an oceanfront home in the Caribbean, I thought about how I wanted to move forward making sure everything in my life had purpose, e v e r y t h i n g. I refused to waste another second on anything I wasn’t 100% about; that went for people, projects, EVERYTHING. Since I was 12 years old, I told myself I would work for myself and make waves wherever I went. I came to the conclusion in Barbados I was going to get off Instagram, completely redo my website with professionals, and turn it into one of the flyest digital homes you will find online. I didn’t want to come back to Instagram unless I had something worth coming back for. So it began..
I flew back to New York from Barbados, deleted the apps off my phone and kept it pushing. I wasn’t urging to hop back on. I enjoyed my time away thoroughly. I didn’t wake up scrolling through anything anymore. When it was time to fly back to L.A. after visiting family, I made a plan. I wasn’t sure of the timeline I had when it came to not using Instagram, I just knew I wasn’t going back on until it was worthwhile. Instead, I read books to educate myself more in different areas I was passionate about. If you know me, you know I always have at the least one book on me at all times. I see myself writing a book one day and I also see my friend Ms. KC Orcutt helping me write it. Anyways, I started writing down my visions every day, ideas regardless of their worthiness, thoughts, anything to keep moving forward. I asked myself what did I want? I almost felt as though a weight was lifted off me, not being consumed with 100,000 thoughts of other people’s, on top of my own thoughts. I love feeling in my own skin and soul so deeply.
I find one of my biggest powers in life is that no one else is me.
Getting off instagram allowed me to bring the focus back to ME.
What do I want?
What do I feel?
What do I think?
I always rode my own wave and when 100 people were walking left, I was walking right. I thank God I was born just before the generation of growing up with a cell phone. I think Instagram leads so many people to wanting to look the same, be the same, dress the same, yada yada yada. It’s taking away from showcasing how beautiful it is to be different. I see too many people feeling insecurities from this app…feelings of not being good enough or not having enough. People are turning to social media for validation. How many likes did my photo get? How many followers did I gain? How many people looked at my story? I can’t imagine what type of a place this world would be if people put the energy they put into social media back into themselves and working towards becoming the best version of themselves. I mean seriously how much time do you waste on Instagram? I know with our technology there is a way to track that, but I’m not sure how many people want to see their results. Instagram is a one-sided view that a user chooses you to see. None of this matters and social media will take you out of reality if you let it.
I won’t allow myself to be so caught up in sharing my life that I’m not busy enough living in it. The things I’ve seen people do for Instagram is interesting to say the very least, especially in Los Angeles… haaaaaaaa. So many people feel a need to show the world this or say that. I’ve witnessed people who wouldn’t eat their meal until they Instagram’d the perfect shot of their food. Meanwhile I’m over here almost done with my plate by the time they pick up their fork. I don’t want to judge anyone but that is just not me. There is simply more than meets the eye.
This year I spent a lot more time doing things instead of watching people doing things. I was not consumed with capturing moments, but embracing them, staying in the moment. (If you have trouble with this, you should read the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.) I was not consuming my time peeking into the lives of others. As for the people I cared for, I made efforts to keep my friendships well-nourished. I was focused on my life and I kept in touch with the people that mattered. I don’t need to know what everyone from my high school ate on a Friday night or where so and so was vacationing to for the weekend. It’s really not my business; it was just more of a distraction from what I needed to do. You ever notice that you subconsciously take out your phone and begin scrolling and before you know it you’re 36 weeks deep into your friend’s cousin’s baby mama’s photos and you wonder how you got there. This is a toxic habit, in my opinion… A waste of time. There are much more productive things you could be doing with the time you spend in a social media blackhole.
In 2018, I have taken up two new learning interest: the piano and a foreign language. I started piano lessons six months ago and have been attending class every week. I downloaded an app that helps me to study reading music, and I have noticed a stronger sense of music-reading ever since. Additionally, I have always wanted to be able to speak another language fluently enough that I could hold a conversation in said language. I went with French (for now) because I have a trip to Paris coming up. I told myself I would practice every single day up until my trip. I have practiced every day thus far. The reason I even mention this is because this allotted time used to be spent going on social media and instead I’ve learned it can be used to learn new skills. If I am going to use my phone, I am going to make it productive. Both apps, Duolingo and Notes Teacher, have made a noticeable difference in my learning. I bet you could learn a new language if you replaced your social media time with that instead!
It’s funny because I actually found myself dreading coming back to Instagram. I do want to shout out a specific book for changing my perspective on coming back though: Influencer by Brittany Hennessy. This was the excerpt in particular that helped me get excited to come back:
“Working on your social presence shouldn't make you feel like you've sold out; it should make you feel like you're telling your own story online and building a community of people who want to support you.”
I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t find my story to be an interesting one to tell.
It’s ironic because as much as I remain in a real cool mood, I say forget being cool. During my time soaking in life and studying outside of my phone screen, I learned more about different perspectives pertaining to altruism, the practice of concern for happiness of others. Those who focus on these principles likely will notice a positive shift regarding quality of life both material, mental and spiritual. At least that’s what I discovered. I want to inspire people to embrace their differences and find what their cool mood is, regardless if it’s considered “cool” or not. A major purpose of this website is to relate, inspire, bring joy and knowledge to others. I want In A Real Cool Mood to push the conversation forward on topics of substance. I want to break the cannabis stigma. I want to showcase that just because somethings Gucci, doesn’t mean that it’s fly. I want In A Real Cool Mood to reach across all spectrums and to the interests of ALL people. I think a lot of the current motivation is misguided and we, as a collective, need to redirect the culture. Open your mind, don’t be blind!
Taking a step back from the fast-paced digital world allowed me to really get clarity on what the F I wanted out of life. No one was swaying me any sort of way. I wasn’t taking in any other human’s energy unless I chose to. No more finding myself in a social media blackhole. Getting off Instagram for a while made me realize how much I really don’t need it. I am totally cool keeping my phone off for days, but we all know that doesn’t work when you work. My break in using Instagram has allowed me to find a discipline to go on it for a purpose, stay on track, and log off it as soon as my work is done. Life is too dope and too short to waste it aimlessly staring at a screen for long periods of time. Remember, this is all my personal opinion, and I know there are certain times where social media has really positive aspects to it. It has allowed people to build million dollar companies from the ground up. It allows people to connect. It allows you to create a space for your brand and for you to be in charge of putting yourself out there. There is duality to everything. I understand how crucial it is to have a social presence when building a brand; hence the fact that I am back on the exact app I took a year break from. Balance is necessary.
It’s very interesting and thought-provoking to me that the year I took off Instagram has been one of the most ABUNDANT and growth-filled years of my life. It is so important to get the inside right because when you do, the outside falls into place. I’m not here to preach to you to delete social media. I want to share my experience as I found it to be one of the best things I could have done for myself. Do what is best for you and don’t let yourself get lost in this crazy world we currently live in. Pay attention to the reality around you. Stop taking the beauty of the world for granted. When you open your eyes, the view can be pretty damn cool. Social media really isn’t that deep.
One more thing! I am a strong believer in not scrolling through social media as soon as I wake up. I think it’s one of the worst ways to start your day. I have found that I enjoy starting each day with a 10-minute meditation on YouTube while I’m still in bed. I have listed some below I have enjoyed in case you want to give it a try. When you can’t find a light, be one. Ta-ta for now!