To know your truth - and I mean your whole, radical, complete, ENTIRE truth - you need to be willing to peel back every single damn layer of yourself.
They say that the death of the ego is the beginning of your real life. - but what happens when ego, like an onion, comes in layers?
I thought I'd warded off my Ego a handful of years ago when my time spent barefoot in India and trekking Nepal stripped me of my egoic, materialistic ways. I sold what I owned,;Tiffany bracelets included. I traded in my brand-name t-shirts for Buddhist prayer beads instead. That's being woke, right?
Then, I thought Ego 2.0 was gone when birthing nearly killed me. Or at least, for sure, somewhere around month four of postpartum when sleep deprivation and the onset of organ failure was literally leaving me teetering on life.
So... no more materialism... no more attachment to my pre-twin-baby frivolous, hedonistic self.... there couldn't possibly be any more ego to die - could there? But then... when you suddenly lose your decade-old, lovingly curated instagram feed - the one that's a chronological reflection of your past ten years of trials, tribulations, triumphs and story - chapter by chapter - it feels a little raw to even think about starting over. This stupid account that trounced with me across, like, four dozen countries.... a half-dozen boyfriends.... even that bullshit birthing experience and beyond.... - the account that chronicled my entire 1/3 of life.... gone.
Ooof. That wasn't fun.
So, I can't help but wonder... are we imprisoned by the Selves we create online?
A few weeks ago, I was attempting to share a video on instagram. Its dimensions weren't coming up right each time I clicked to post... so I deleted... tried again... deleted again... tried again.. and suddenly my account was blocked. I felt like I'd been kicked in the face. What do you mean I've been flagged for a violation of community rules?!? The video wasn't even anything about anything!? I tried to appeal. Once. Twice. Three times. To no avail. That decade of posting... of saturating that account with loving and reflective posts - words I wrote to share my pain, share my strength, heal on every plane - 2000+ photos and their accompanying thoughts... gone.
To admit it's sparked a cascade of feelings is an understatement. Reflections about how I/we live our lives these days.. how much clout is put into online presence versus 'real life'. I straight-up had to grieve that loss. Loss of the connections I had there, the conversations I was in the middle of, the albums of saved content I'd been storing for years.... that account was an extension of me - and in an instant it was erased - by nothing more than a spam-filter over at the big-tech powers-that-be. No appeal. No human at the end of my "Ummm, can you reconsider?" pleas. The final ego death.
So.... was the loss actually freedom in disguise? god knows I spent an infinitely fewer number of hours scrolling that week.... though the spontaneous-and-entirely-mindless impulse to open the app was REAL.
Ego, in psychoanalysis, is defined as the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. It's the childlike impulse that wants to be immediately gratified - all day, every day.
arrogant and proud
repeats toxic cycles
feeds itself on feeling unworthy
The antidote to Ego is your Highest Self... Spirit.
a sacred sense of Self
leads with light
So, as if losing that IG account wasn't enough, within a day or two I was changing over my WhatsApp phone number and somehow didn't realize it wouldn't notify my contacts .... so guess what? I lost all those connections, too. Literally my entire list of chats... cut off... in one fell swoop. How's that for total previous-Self disconnect?
And THEN - and this is just the Universe laughing at me at this point - my drum circle post in the local expat FB group garnered too much attention with too many "interested" comments - and I was banned from that as well. I mean - I couldn't have scripted a more dramatic social-media-surrender if I tried. Yes, I messaged the Admin to explain - but it's been two weeks and he hasn't even viewed the note. We asked around and it seems he doesn't actually admin the group at all - so... maybe one day he'll see my message - maybe not? I don't hedge my bets that I'll be back in that group anytime soon.
Facebook. Instagram. Whatsapp. - seems I really meddled with the wrong tech gods all at once.
And all that to say.... in an instant - I felt DEEPLY cut off: from the way I'd been living life + sharing stuff, from all the conversations I've carried since I installed whatsapp likely over a decade ago, and from the largest local expat group on facebook.
The Ego serves itself. It's fed with outward recognition, sees life as a constant competition, and preserves itself by looking outward and focusing on what it lacks. It's mortal, lustful, obsessed with wisdom, keeps its eye only on the prize. The Ego feeds itself on pain and is a bottomless pit of self-serving despair.
The Ego is I.
The Soul, however, feels lucky to be alive. It serves others, sees life as a gift, pursues only its authentic self, feels abundance, and is drawn to love. The Soul appreciates the journey, doesn't pursue wisdom because it knows it is wisdom, it preserves the wellbeing of others.
The Soul is We.
Maybe you've lost a major tech-based account before? or if you haven't, have you ever stopped to consider the impact it would have? To suddenly have the plug pulled on such an intricate piece of your 'social network'? How much power have we put into the hands of the overlords in big tech? Power to feel seen. Power to be heard. Power to be in touch.
Whatever layer of my Ego this was... it fuxking HATED being suddenly ripped away.
I moved to a new country less than a handful of months ago.. it was haphazard and unplanned.. we knew barely anyone here... and to suddenly lose that well of connections (albeit virtual, but still significant nonetheless) has been an ... adjustment - to say the least.
I mean, there's not much I can do about that facebook group or whatsapp - it is what it is - but that Instagram account cuts me deep. Sure, the transformations I experienced can't be taken away from me - the memories of the moments in those photos and the core essence of the reflections I shared - but the ego death that comes from losing that presence - as insignificant as it was on the social media scale - can't be ignored.
I can't help but reflect deeply now upon why I even began sharing in the first place... and whether that's changed enough that this point to somehow cosmically force me to realign my presence and start over? What's the bigger purpose here? I can't just chalk up this trifecta of tech-loss to chance, can I? Truth be told, I don't have it in me to start over from scratch with the same kind of gusto that I open-heartedly built that account with the original-time-around. I still crave at a cellular level the outlet to release and reflect and share - but when all those years of reflecting can suddenly be - *zap!* - removed - I mean... what's the point?
I remember ten years ago I created that account when I was solo-traveling somewhere in Europe.. I was crushing on this handsome Roman named Giammarco and using those god-awful filters on my posts.... man - I am lightyears from that version of my once-upon-a-time-self. So does that mean it's really time to start anew? Begrudgingly, I opened a new instagram account. Just a single punctuation-mark different from the original but galaxies away from what that one was. What do I do with it now? Who even am I on it anymore? And, I mean .... who even cares?
I think, as I've learned to do with most upheavals in my life as of late - I'm going to tread lightly with this one. Really checking in with myself on whether the motivation is there, whether the initiative matters enough still, what the underlying impetus might be. And for sure, I'm changing the platform. That micro-blog carried me far and wide, around the globe more than once and across a myriad of beautiful chapters in this life.... but... I'm definitely no longer down for pouring myself into a space that can be voided in an instant with no hope of return.
So as I gingerly take a few baby steps back into a space of open-hearted shares - I'll do it here - in my tiny fraction of (largely) untouchable virtual real estate... simply to satisfy that molecular need just to speak. to share. Truth be told, I don't even need to be heard... I just... need... to share. And, if you're here - getting to the end of this stream-of-consciousness ramble on nothing/everything all at once... thank you - for being here. Sincerely. For witnessing me. Even here. It means the world.
Loss? or Freedom? Ego, or death? Oh... and if we were once connected on Whatsapp and we're not anymore, feel free to send me a note at Aia June facebook and we'll reconnect ASAP. ~