I Cannot be Available to Everyone, Every Minute of Every Day, and it’s OK 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Kalen Emsley
People expect our constant availability – phone, text, social media and email. Technology has birthed a culture grounded in a constant stream of endless obligatory chatter.

What happens when you seek quiet instead of IG, FB and Twitter feeds? Or if you decide you’re not interested in following the “behind- the-scenes look” at someone else’s life on Snapchat. You simply want to stand in your present moment, phone on the charger, or off all together for a while. Can we just be, y’all? Geez!

Apparently, this whole revolutionary non-available concept is irritating to some people. Last week I found myself in a back-and-forth exchange via Facebook which started because a new friend called me, and I didn’t answer the phone.

My momentary inaccessibility became interrupted as rude and callous, instead of an opportunity for them to pause and see it from another angle – maybe, just maybe, I was unavailable for numerous reasons. Nai and I were actually playing together in the backyard, bathing our cocoa brown skin in the emerging summer sunlight, lying in newly planted grass, our laughter overflowing, making a mundane weekday joyful.

I’m not a fan of distracted-parenting so I rarely engage in long convos with friends when homeschooling, reading or just hanging with our little Nai. Our moments together are precious.

The whole incident is causing me to reflect quite a bit on this rapid  “communication” evolution, and the impact it’s having on our personalities and ways of being with one another. Impatience is the new normal. And for far too many of us, instant gratification also means instant access to people. If we cannot have it,  we pout like toddlers insisting on their favorite snacks instead of dinner.

The concept of boundaries is somehow foreign to us, especially younger generations who have never known a world where you do not have multiple ways of reaching someone, any time of the day or night.

I am dating myself here, y’all, but I actually remember, as a kid, when very few people carried cell phones. If you weren’t home, you weren’t available. Folks connected with each other when it worked for both of them. You didn’t feel pressure to talk, and reply to incessant text messages and social media updates.

The act of cultivating genuine friendships is quickly being replaced with a vapid practice of familiarizing ourselves with people’s lives (an edited version of course) via social media, calling them friends, and then basing their value upon how often they comment, like or share our own thoughts. This isn’t friendship, it’s forced interaction and brazen selfishness.

I don’t know about you, but I am done with feeling bound by other people’s expectations of me, their pseudo ideas of friendship. If I don’t have another IG heart, or like on a post, I will survive. My soul is yearning for so much more these days, you know authentic and lasting connections based on understanding and love, not the thorny entanglement of ego. Our time is far too fleeting and miraculous to be squandered.

Talk to Me: 

Do you feel guilty if you’re not able to connect with someone right away? Why do you think so? How can you move beyond those feelings? 

Why Leaving Our Cell Phones Home Some Days is a Good Thing

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy

“I imagine a world where we smile when we have low batteries, cause that will mean we’ll be one bar closer to humanity.”
– Prince EA, “Can We Autocorrect Humanity?”

The other day I left my house in a flurry, chasing a luxury which eludes me mostly (and many other women) –  a few hours for myself. Then I did something which is rare for this organized Mama – I left my cell phone home.

I panicked, y’all. You know the tense feeling that floods your gut, nearly overtaking you. Yep, there I sat, in rush hour traffic, praying for a red light so I could continue digging for my phone.

I remembered packing my Kindle, but soon discovered that battery was nearly dead, too. I know. I am an addict. Did I just type those words?

Finally, I made peace with the silence, and became present. No checking my apps or scanning for music. I simply sat, surrending to contemplation.

Funny thing happened along the drive to the salon… I noticed buildings previously ignored, rolled down my window and heard  the natural rhythmic movement of city life anew. Ideas for blog posts filtered in one after another – and all because I allowed my mind to rest.

Perhaps we should all leave our cell phones and mobile devices home more often; digital fatigue is real. And in many ways, friends, this push and pull to stay connected is changing us. Rest is becoming a mirage in a world obsessed with productivity and multitasking.

We fill our moments with checking emails and social media, jumping to answer text messages, and apologizing for late responses. Is it really that awful if we take a few days to reply to someone?

Spoken word artist Prince EA has a line from his song “Can we Auto Correct Humanity?” that comes to mind in this moment: “Did you know the average person spends four years of their life looking at a cell phone?”

Let’s take our years back now.