Just Go Left

Misplaced Connection


This weekend marks two years of Kyle and me. Of course, if you ask Kyle he will tell you this isn’t our actual anniversary (we celebrate that in July because it’s the first time we actually met. Read more here) but for all intensive purposes (i.e. this blog) Memorial Day weekend is when our adventure together began. I’ve always said that our relationship is the hardest, yet most rewarding and fulfilling work I’ve ever done but there are times we screw up or let each other down. We aren’t perfect, our relationship isn’t perfect and life together definitely isn’t perfect. (See also: the amount of dishes in our sink right now.)

Kyle and I rarely fight. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times we’ve gotten into a real argument and those arguments usually revolve around something silly (like how much I want to spend at the grocery store in a week). I wish I could take credit for our lack of fights, but Kyle wins this round. He’s a very laid-back, “go with the flow” kind of guy whereas I’m a Type A, “I’ll go with the flow if I can control the current” kind of girl so he’s really the one responsible for keeping our relationship (and me) on an even keel. Given the opportunity, I could self-destruct at any given moment, so it’s nice to have someone to balance me out, and vice versa. This is one of the (many) reasons our relationship works.

But, with all the vulnerability I can muster, I have to share: we’ve been arguing lately.

And it’s my fault.

Actually, it’s my phone’s fault.

I’m on my phone a lot, but lately I’ve noticed that I’m on it more in the evenings when I get home from work. In my defense (can I have one at this point?) the evenings are the only time I have to answer blog comments/emails, schedule tweets/Facebook posts and scroll through Instagram and Snapchat so I try to maximize that and get ahead for the next day. I’m usually so wrapped up in social media that I barely pay attention to Kyle and Gatsby, who I haven’t seen all day and are begging for my time. Kyle called me out on this on Monday night and, well, let’s just say it wasn’t my finest relationship moment.

“Hey Ashten can you put the phone down for like 5 minutes? You’re always on your phone at night.”

“I’m unwinding, but I’m listening so keep talking.”

“You’re listening like an asshole: you’re barely paying attention to Gatsby and me. We haven’t seen you all day and we missed you!”

“Seriously, I’m listening just keep talking! I can multi-task you know...geez.”

And so on.

When we lived in Atlanta, Kyle worked mostly nights, so I spent many an evening with social media as an outlet for my loneliness, but now that we have time together in the evenings, I’ve found it’s a hard habit to break.

I know I go against all well-meaning relationship advice when I say I went to bed angry. First, because I hate getting called out on my shit and second because there are times when I just want to numb my brain; coincidentally those are usually the times Kyle wants to talk my ear off. Our days are long and our time together is minimal but night after night I stick my face in my phone and shut Kyle and Gatsby out.

I was still angry the next morning when I woke up, only this time I was angry at myself. I get so wrapped up in staying connected with social media that I’m disconnecting from the two most important people in my life. We live in world that begs for connection by sharing these little, sometimes insignificant moments of our day to day life, but I can’t help but ask myself: who in my life is feeling disconnected from me while I’m busy trying to connect with everyone else?

As a blogger it’s important to be active on social media: to tweet, snap, share and be engaging with your fellow bloggers. This has always been the most fun part of blogging for me: connecting with other people, sharing our experiences and hear each other’s stories. I love it, I look forward to it, I find so much joy in it. But, it’s hard to manage it all sometimes…..and Kyle gave me that wake-up call on Monday evening: I need to do a better job of balancing blogging and personal. 

It’s time to step away from the phone (in the evenings at least), and evaluate what’s important. If we live our lives with our phones in our faces we’re missing out on the good stuff: making memories and spending quality time with the ones we love. After 30 minutes on the treadmill to sweat out my anger, I apologized to Kyle and promised to make more of an effort to be more connected to him and Gatsby at night and less connected to my phone during our quality time together…..because it’s more important for me to be connected to Kyle and Gatsby, not social media.

Am I saying you have to stop using social media all together? Eff no, have you met me? I think there needs to be a healthy balance between who you’re connecting with online and who you’re connecting with in real life. You cannot be a good blogger if you don’t have content to write about. You won’t get content if you’re not out there living and connecting with people. And, you won’t be able to relate or engage with people if you don’t have any experiences to share. So, as always, thank you Kyle for keeping us on an even keel and saving me from myself.

And now back to regularly scheduled programming, wherein we argue about groceries at Trader Joes. Stay tuned.