The World is Loud. Mute it for a Month.
Introducing No Noise November.
2020. Has caused all sorts of feelings: frustration, sensory overload, sadness, heck even depression and burn out. So what a person gotta do to get some peace and quiet from the chaotic world that is 2020? Short Answer: Social Distance. Long Answer: No Noise November…read more, down below.
Hi, it’s Becca(bee)!
You can read my intro, right here!
After being told for the last 2-3 years that I need to do a podcast,
I am going to bring back blogging.
Seeing how I hate the sound of my voice, recorded and even as I speak.
Typically Ben and I cowrite the blogs, but I will start writing a sound-off per season at least if not per month.
Let’s get started.
I typically have taken a month off from work, in December since I got started in photography. It originally was for finals and holidays, then it just came down to holidays, and getting ready for the new year.
Last year that did not happen.
It also did not happen the year before that.
We had a slew of tech problems, that well had deadlines being not met for several clients,
and had us working round the clock to get done or at least caught up.
Last holiday season, blew.
I couldn’t really spend time with my sister,
who I hadn’t seen in years, who had flown in.
Harder than a nose with the flu.
Yet, amidst all of it, I had hope.
Leading up to December and the time of being around loved ones,
I thought I would try my hand at “No Noise” November.
That did not happen, due to well numerous issues between tech, and life.
And Life’s volume became deafening.
I then promised myself, that in 2020, this year,
I would make sure I would do No Noise November.
It was then that, I decided to add to what No Noise November is all about.
I also decided to track how I was affected.
Now, what is No Noise November?
To sum up, you don’t use social media for the entire month of November.
Then reflect on how that missing “noise” from social media affects you
Because social media does in fact have an astrological hold on you, here is one effect.
You can google the rest, here.
Anyhow, I remember reading about “No Noise November” in 2018, then researching it again in 2019.
Google is now no help, same with IG.
There were tons of posts a few years ago.
Now, not so much, did find (ironically) a blog of someone doing their own version of No Noise November!
Media that was going, and staying.
I typically keep my Pinterest app downloaded and logged into,
because I use it for recipes and styling, and helpful tidbits in keeping life moving smoothly.
And honestly, ways to organize all the information that I find helpful.
So that leaves out: Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and email.
This year I left Facebook messenger open, so on my days where I did check my phone,
I did not have to give out my number.
What’s the point of turning off the phone if you are worried someone can’t get in touch with you?
You will be more worried about missing them, than enjoying your time to yourself.
This No Noise November, I added on to limited to no social interactions.
I gave up on the no interactions because, well I had a few sessions set up, and a few too many birthdays.
Not to mention Thanksgiving.
Not to mention important meetings.
This is when I realized it was going to be harder than I originally thought.
SO the rules I set for myself:
On do not disturb, if not off.
Only 1 day a week to check if I had not left the house.
Phone only actively used/ on, when leaving the house, or when Ben left our town for work.
Limit to two social interactions per week.
So Birthday Dinners, better be combined.
This meant only 1-2 video chat check-in per week.
It also meant only 1-2 work appointments per week.
As well as only 1-2 physical check-ins with people.
(This was going to make me think before saying yes, and think about balance.)
Unless any emergencies transpired.
But like actual emergencies, no bad decision making/regret moments.
That did not warrant my attention or devotion, worry, or care.
“You broke it, you fix it. No complaining.”
Was my mentality… also…
“You made your bed, now lie in it.”
Not as harsh as my inner voice, leading up to No Noise.
To preface, I was exhausted.
2019 tech issues did not ease up until March of 2020,
and then we were in the middle of a pandemic.
We were then unable to travel and actually get a break.
So my inner voice, whisper growling negativity all day every day.
Especially when hanging out with people.
“Do they not hear how much they need a shrink? Aren’t there free online ones due to Covid?”
Like I said. Emotionally and Mentally exhausted, and apparently severely over people.
BURN OUT WAS REAL.
Fun fact, you can become burnt out on people, a friend in therapy did confirm this.
This was nice to hear, but also at the same time, sh.
Just a blaring huge red flag, more like on fire flags, to this empath and understanding human being,
So much so, that I knew I needed a strong detox, cleanse,
holy water tossin and “be gone demon” screamin of silence.
I should have listened and partaken in the free online therapy before burnout got THIS bad,
but lest I let life keep me loudly distracted.
Trying to hear myself think above all the noise.
Sh, Life is happening… so No Noise, November.
Did I mention, I had not really had time to myself, truly, for well two years, nearly three.
2018 – crazy year
2019- stressed and crazy
2020- well can we use 2020 as a swear word? Because 2020.
There had been more L’s taken in the last few years, than wins.
More headaches than celebrating.
So, “Done” was an understatement.
Fed up, triggered depression, over it all, emotionally borderline just negative, lost connection to the creative side, etc.
This lady was worse than a burnt turkey on Thanksgiving.
So how did this break/cleanse/detox, overall affect me?
First Day: Couldn’t even really enjoy it, because I forgot I had scheduled a session, and needed to log on, and fine-tune ideas.
Second day: Some issues popped up.
The third day was the first real day.
And man, I couldn’t be motivated to a damn thing, besides listen to sad or angry tunes, and ask “what is wrong with me? Where is my motivation? What if it never comes back? Who am I without my ambitious mentality?” Also, it was the last day to vote.
That week then turned into election watch, in-between moments of life struggles.
You know, that made perfect sense,
Give up social media, just to spend time attached to reading multiple articles from different sources, and deep-diving into an election.
You could even say, it was a patch. To wane off continually being attached to knowing everything going on.
No Noise November + Election Year
I can honestly say, choosing to do No Noise November during an election year, was probably really smart.
Not being fed everyone’s nonstop opinions.
Being able to read, research, and stick to my own opinion without influences.
To not see any drama unfold on social media, not to have energy or mind tapped into the time-wasters of what each site is.
To not be distracted and have my time back!
But let me tell you, even the few outings to the store or seeing friends.
Left or Right, you can see and feel the tension.
You can see the division and the influence.
And there comes the nagging voice again, this time a mere whisper.
“Don’t they each see, them pointing the finger at one another, is exactly what is wanted? To blame and create this hate, this distraction, and distrust? Do they not understand in history, this is a tipping point, and we need understanding more than polarizing moments and words? The partisanship is the problem in it’s blinding emotional lead.”
Only a few days, and yeah is it still negative?
Yeah, but it was longer, and less quick.
So imagine how the rest of the month went?
Pretty damn great.
As time ticked on…
During the second week, I forgot my phone.
The third week, there was an actual emergency and a friend texted ben and popped over.
And even in that present time, I voiced the lesson of the situation.
And to my surprise, they weren’t mad.
They were mad at the situation but once it was fixed, they took the lesson, the dreaded “L”…
And then acted on it.
Color me shocked.
Color me heard.
After all, this time being quiet, to be heard.
And to not be rude about it or have a rude voice on the tip of my tongue that I am biting back??
Hellllllllooo, hallelujah, praise the Lord. Blessed.
To not have noise from my own mind.
Lasting Impression of No Noise November.
I am now writing this, well finishing in my last 7 days; I am now actually missing “seeing” the noise of social media.
Missing all the pupper snaps that I get.
All the food snaps.
Missing all the life moments, name changes, and well, THE GOOD NOISE, of social media.
Keep your polarized, “No, I am right, you are wrong” to yourself.
Just here for the dogs, and good times, aight.
But you know, what I do not miss? And probably won’t ever?
The urge to be plugged in, all the time.
My phone has been switched from a noisy creature that is always on, to one that is on silence, and notifications turned off.
I have forgotten it on days where unless otherwise previously planned to expect interactions or chats.
Do Not Disturb mode, now normal. The fear of “if I don’t respond right here right now, they’ll think I am ignoring, and it’s bad.” Now quieted.
Being kind does not mean taking on everyone’s mental health while you deplete your own.
They can wait, your life can not.
Definitely can see my phone becoming more of a mobile camera and paperweight.
Although, I have had to adjust back to the people and the energy they carry, as well as my own.
I can eagerly say, from planning my time and learning what was a waste of time, and what was not, has definitely raised the bar on what I want from life, and what I do not.
Wasted time, is definitely not on my gift list.
So maybe next year, I will not limit social interactions as much, but think this was a good reset.
That being said, I think it is now time to go on a soapbox.
On something that continued to happen.
Being called“Brave”, “strong”, “amazing”, and “impressive”…
For taking a month off of social media. Got old. Quick.
So much that I just don’t think I could quite soapbox long enough to explain how aggravating it got to hear.
FIRST OFF: Reminder, back in the day, there was no need for No Noise November.
Do we not remember the days without a smartphone?
It was just 13 years ago since the first iPhone, and even then blackberry was out but it was seen as a business need for email.
Not for scrolling excessively in a day.
There wasn’t a soul not being fed information at a fast pace or consuming useless bits out of boredom.
No one wasted hours, obsessing over what we are “missing” out on.
We lived, free of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
It was not considered brave then, so why is it now?
Secondly: No Noise November epiphanies.
Social media has always had a sort of place in the world, but it has never dominated it like it is now. We do not “NEED” social media, if anything social media needs us to be on every day, to get paid. Social media needs us, to have a purpose.
WE.DO. NOT. NEED. SOCIAL. MEDIA.
If you “need” social media, then you “need” to detox.
Everyone can always call family and friends, you can video chat.
No one “needs” the “noise” of social media.
You want the noise, to stay distracted, because you fear missing out or fear miss being seen/heard, and or the fear of being bored.
Think about what do you do nowadays when you are bored?
Go to 3 or more apps? Read… statuses or books? Write… captions or stories?
You don’t plan your life or focus on dreams.
You get engaged in debates, you get sold to, your data gets recorded to be used against you.
Think about it, what happens when you can’t join friends/family out-
You wait for the posts.
To react, to comment, to “see it”
To feel included.
You surf longer, you react more, you scroll more.
What happens when you are busy living without cell reception?
Are you scrolling?
Because you are living.
You might think about posting when you get back.
OR you might forget the more life you live.
Because you aren’t being controlled by FOMO when you are living a life you want to live.
All that being said, it would be a life to say social media is not fun.
The creators made it fun to use.
Even update it to keep it new, fun, and shiny.
That’s how they get ya.
And the creators hate it when you don’t use it.
That’s less money: one less person they can’t sell data from or push things to buy on,
one less person that isn’t easily distracted.
One person short, that isn’t easily buying the lie that social media is for connecting.
One mind down, that isn’t easily controlled into keep using it all day every day.
One less heart who is not being crippled with anxiety, confused as to where exactly it is coming from.
One less, plugged into a machine.
Yet, one more person saying, “Shhhh, Life is happening.”
Anxiety + No Noise Nov = Less Daily Anxiety?
Speaking on the anxiety point: Holy water and spitting hellfire.
People I talked to before departing social media, already told me the peace waiting for me.
The patience waiting for me.
ALL OF THE JOY WAITING FOR ME.
Like some kind of promised land.
And they were not lying, in the slightest.
It’s been beautifully, joyously, and exuberantly freeing.
As someone who fights anxiety daily, I have not had to fight as hard as I typically do.
Less need for fail-safes when you aren’t sitting being swarmed with everything but dogs and good times.
I bumped into a few of these individuals throughout coffee running and grocery shopping and we shared sentiments and they asked how I was adjusting.
And then we spoke on peace, mental clarity, the self-awareness.
We all got to the same point:
When you are constantly plugging in, anxiously taking on all the dramas and frustrations, we are more prone to comparison based thinking, and justification for our own behavior. We are owned, with shame and guilt, and our ego is being fed, through an onslaught of emotions and moments.
We are killing ourselves; mentally + emotionally, each time we give in to the “need” (want, sometimes even addiction) to plugin, so to speak.
We are conforming to whatever we think is the “right” version of publicly accepted appearances; we are being programmed.
This brings me to the next segment.
We all need a bloody time out.
Sh, Life is happening. No Noise November… but for life?
Growing up, I had a weekly day designated to “quiet time”.
No tv, no tech besides radio or mp3 player plugged into a speaker.
Things I could do during this day: read, write, color, clean room, do chores, call 1 friend or family member (but not the entire time), and then write a letter of how I felt.
And honestly, I used to adapt this into adulthood, but the last 2 years happened, and when fighting an uphill war, you tend to forget your best weapons when battling battles back to back.
And now to sit here and preach: We all need a weekly timeout.
Honestly speaking, unplugging might be the best thing for society.
We all need to shut up and stop making noise.
To more than just one another, to ourselves too; it is time to silence the inner negative voice that can often come out.
More than just a month of the year.
A month is 30-31 days long.
A day per week, is 52 days, nearly 2 whole months out of the year.
That is 52 days a year, a sixth of the year, where we gift ourselves peace.
Your I can’t with justified reasonings are looking a little weaker now, aren’t they?
See when I said emergency only, I meant that.
And funny, that boundary was beautifully listened to.
So what if we take that and modify that to fit calling to just calling, not just liking a post.
What if we brought back being okay to be unreachable?
“Sh Life is happening, right now, please wait for me to return call.
If it is an emergency, please call back, I’ll know to pick up or call back immediately.”
Might become my new voicemail greeting.
Back to the healing effects of unplugging…
Finding my creative spark again: popped out 500+ artworks, redid and swapped websites, and cowrote several blogs, and wrote this guy (the blog you are reading that is 3k+ words).
I journaled instead of scrolling. I blocked out time for myself.
Taking the screen time use statistics, and applied it to my planner.
Planned the daily life that I would want to live again and again, like the Groundhog day that you actually would be okay to not end.
No Noise November greatly helped that negative inner voice too.
It became softer, quieter but still strong.
And I realized this was my inner boundary, for an unhealthy pattern of behavior choices, unthought out decisions that could be summed up in the following questions:
–Why should I care, when this person obviously doesn’t value their selves/times/life to do better?
And it hit me.
This is exactly how my Grams got when I repeated the same life experience of poor decision making.
This was why she would say “I don’t care”, followed by “why should I? You obviously don’t.” when I got overly emotional.
This would be the same woman, who made sure: I never went hungry, had the knowledge I needed to survive enough to learn how to thrive, made sure I was self-sufficient, made sure I had a backbone, and that I knew my limits and when to rest and nourish my body with time off.
She didn’t mean she did not care about me at all, in those moments.
She meant, she didn’t care that I did not value my time/self/life, to want better or be better, or make better decisions.
We as a society need to understand that we are in charge of our own character growth, and no one is required to support bad behaviors or even good ones. Just because they understand the root of them, or because you want them to.
My Grams and I used to go rounds, over whether or not people should be saved.
Her winning line every time: “You will drown if you try to save everyone who jumps. Either they realize they want to live and swim-up or they blame others, not their lack of control over their lives, and drown themselves in blaming. You can do whatever you want, don’t you forget it, you don’t owe anyone a damn thing.”
Thinking I am beginning to understand her more in her passing than I ever did while she lived.
Funny how I think we could sit in silence for hours, after this dispute.
Never once did I hear her.
She is almost whispering in every life learning moment.
That might be considered haunting, or looking after me… or me going crazy.
Take your pick.
“If you require applause to succeed, you will limit your own growth.”
(Saw this on Instagram, before taking a break, and it kept coming back to me on my retreat)
This No Noise November of a month off has been stunning.
Getting more creative work done without feeling the dread of not getting everything done.
Return of mental clarity and mental reset.
My inner voice returned to a less negative level.
I would like to say I got my life back, but it feels really instead like I stepped back into it.
So sh, life is happening.