Three different people have posted this article on my facebook page. This guy went for a year without the Internet. Just like me. I went for a year without the Internet. Except, this guy said it didn’t really change anything. And I keeping saying the opposite.
I keep saying that when I went for a year offline, I became different in like a hundred ways. I stayed married. Even happily married. Even, like, this-guy-is-cool married. I started meditating every day. I became Christian. I quit eating tortured cows. I quit buying sweatshop-made garments. I quit living in debt. I quit not-cooking. I quit politics. I quit pretending that I’m not totally, so much, so, so, so much like my mother.
What’s this all about? What was different?
I have about five minutes to write this, because I’m actually living all the changes I talked about, and I have just one day in town to bathe my kids and gather supplies and get ready for another week of trying to learn permaculture as-we-go, and I’m getting a colony of bees (a nuc) first thing in the morning. But here it is, quick and real and bullet style: my genuine response to Paul Miller and The Verge.
- It hurts that somebody else is getting famous for doing a Year Without the Internet, because I was totally going to get famous for doing a Year Without the Internet. I was going to get So. Famous.
- The fact that it actually transformed my life, for the better, is a direct result of the fact that I didn’t get So. Famous. (Now who’s the lucky one?) I didn’t get paid for doing it. I didn’t send an essay every week to a publication about what was happening to me. Truly, really, when it happened to me, this is the truth: nobody cared.
- I had to actually, truly, for real, GIVE UP, my self-created, just-for-the-movies, look-at-how-pretty-I-am-on-the-Internet secondary identity.
- This was the road, for me, to an authenticity that changed my life, my spirituality, my creativity, and my marriage.
5.The timing of this article is amazing.
- No, really. I’m going to say that again. The timing of this article is AMAZING. I just spent a whole week, up on the hill, with my pine trees, trying to boil my story down to one sentence, one subtitle: What did change so much about me during that year? Was it really that I decided to stay married? Was it really that I decided to learn to cook and garden and become a vegan and go to Nicaragua and eventually move back home to red-state Idaho? Was it really that I decided to meld my dream with my husband’s dream instead of always letting the two compete? Was it really that I decided once and for all to become a better person, which means I have to live all the time in the messy space between who I really am and who I really want to be? Was it really that I decided to become a Christian?
- And No.
- This is what changed my life. When I went off the Internet, and also didn’t get paid for doing it, and also didn’t send articles once a week about what I was doing, and also didn’t get to write the book I meant to write, among other reasons because the junkie from upstairs stole my computer (WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?), and also I had two little kids and writer’s block, and I just didn’t really know what it was that I wanted to say — This is what completely changed my life: I STOPPED PERFORMING.
- When I stopped performing, authenticity showed up in my life. And even though I’m back on the Internet now, two years later, writing to you all, authenticity is still my partner, every day. I’m ashamed sometimes, to tell the truth so much. That I’m so hopelessly religious, and so vulnerable, and not really as smart as I used to pretend to be, and not as strong, either. That I spend a lot of time doing nothing, and I love my family really, really, a lot, but also you’re welcome to babysit my kids anytime, they’re kind of driving me crazy, how about next Friday?… Every time I write here, I tell you the truth that I live pretty broken, and that’s the same thing as brave, because at least I’m out there. I’m ashamed of it, sometimes. But authenticity requires that. And it’s worth it.
Thank you, God. And thank you Valerie, Missy, and Noelle for posting that article on my page. I think you just gave me the key to unlock the final draft of this book, which has been hanging over me for TWO YEARS.
I’m okay with that. It was a good two years. I learned a lot. But if you’ll excuse me, now, I think I have a book to write. It’s about authenticity.