Dear Aliens: Episode 2, The iCleanse

10.10.2013

By Jeffery Self

Jeffery Self gets shot down (not by a man) and decides to take a break from social media. He documents it for posterity, and for the extraterrestrials.

Dear Intergalactic Friends,

How was your week? Mine was pretty good. My mom and niece came to visit so that was cool. What about y’all? Just general run of the mill alien stuff?

The weirdest part of my week has been taking a break from social media. I’ve always been a very unfiltered person. I’ve never really thought about social media as anything other than an extension of my own voice or rather a different version but all from the same place. So often times, I tend to over share.

At the start of last week I was on pins and needles worrying about a call back I had for a new sitcom, to play a funny small town gay in the big city, series regular, gig. How to explain this to you? Um. Okay. We have this thing called television. It is basically like the touch screens you have in your stomach except you couldn’t touch it and all it did was play videos. Ugh. Again. Videos are basically moving pictures. NOT to be confused with the hologram people running your congress.

Anywho, I was a wreck of nerves going in for the call back and then the eventual rejection hours later while in line to buy six bottles of chardonnay with my mom, who had just landed in town.

In the midst of all this, my manager-friend-voice of reason suggested I shut down my social media for the week. Or rather, he demanded that he change my passwords. It was a wise move and not even for a second did I think twice about it. Almost a week in, in two days, I won’t have seen Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of it. Now, if you aren’t addicted to these things like I am, you don’t see the significance of this statement. However, I am finding this social media cleanse to be the closest thing to cleansing myself of toxins that I’ve ever felt. I know that sounds ridiculous or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you aliens understand that this constant output of personal information/opinions/feelings/likes/dislikes is taxing on one’s heart.

So in the past few days I have been forced to experience things as just me. Not me with the world of Internet connections. It’s so strange and lonely and freeing and limiting and frustrating. Even now I just took a break from watching House Of Versace starring Gina Gershon. Oh right. Have you guys heard of Gina Gershon? So you know how you guys survive on digitalized nutrients made by the guy who invented those electronic massage chairs we see in malls (which have had a HUGE ironic comeback)? That’s basically what Gina Gershon was for us.

Plus she’s playing the sister of famed fashion designer Gianni Versace. Fashion, by the way, is this wacky industry all about the human obsession with clothes. It’s been a weird few centuries on this planet. I digress.

Little things like experiencing this crazy movie and all my thoughts being stuck with just me, a pen, and paper, has been really interesting. Instead of announcing live how I feel about something, I’m stepping away from that something to actually think it through. It’s forcing me to actually think even AFTER I speak, which is something the Internet has made me forget how to do. You just sort of put it all out into the universe, because by handing it to a world of online followers, you’re giving over your problems, or your pain, or opinions—or hilarious tweets you guys are just HORRIFIED to miss out on.

So that’s what this week has been. Unplugging a bit. Something you guys should try. Maybe someday that’ll be a thing you guys just automatically do—like in the morning after you’ve been plugged in at night to regenerate. Who can tell? Your brains might be cable-ready. Sometimes, whether dark or light the mood, it can be really helpful to step away from the digital version of your actual self, and remember who you are again.

JEFFERY SELF is the author of 50 Shades of Gay and Straight People. He was the co-star of the sketch comedy series, Jeffery & Cole Casserole on Logo. You can view his blog atJefferySelf.tumblr.com and follow him on Twitter at @Jefferyself.

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