Did you know there's an actual phobia of being without your phone?
Well, I did.
Do you know why? Because I suffer from nomophobia.
When I was in my car running an errand, I realized I didn't have my phone and turned around to go get it.
It felt wrong. I felt powerless.
But most of all, I felt anxious. I needed the phone.
What if he texts me? What if there's an emergency? What if I get lost?
These "what ifs" aren't justifiable for a 10-minute drive.
They are excuses because I feel naked without my phone.
If I left my license at home while running an errand, I wouldn't turn back. I would keep going.
But my phone? Forget it.
I'd rather leave the house with no makeup on.
Knowing I'm so helpless without my phone makes me feel ill. It's pathetic, honestly.
The guy isn't going to run off with a new woman because I didn't answer him within 30 seconds, the odds of an emergency are slim and I'm not going to get lost a mile away from my house.
I know all of this. So why am I so dependent?
I decided it was time to disconnect. It was time to power down and cut the cord.
I have been disconnected before. But usually, it's been out of my control.
I was in a foreign country, in a desert, on a mountain or on a backroad without cell service. It pained me to not be able to Snapchat every moment or flaunt my exhibitions, but I handled it.
But now, I was making a conscious decision to break up with my phone.
There would be no Snapchats, no iMessages, no selfies. Just me, alone, facing the world. (So dramatic.)
Here is how I felt:
At first, it felt daring, like I was running around naked in public.
"Look at me! I have no phone!"
I felt lighter. I felt awake. I didn't feel obligated to document my every move.
If I saw something funny, it could wait. The funny wouldn't disappear.
If I had to make a decision, I would use my brain instead of Googling it.
I was a woman on the run. I was disconnected, and I couldn't be tracked.
I was being social outside of social media.
Is that even possible these days? I was looking people in the eye, and I wasn't avoiding them by looking down at my phone.
I couldn't avoid awkward run-ins. I had to grin and bear them.
I was having full conversations without side-eyeing my phone for a notification. I wasn't rudely texting while someone was trying to talk to me.
I was being a human.
I kept feeling like I was missing something, but not in a FOMO kind of way. It was as if I were actually missing something so important I would lose my breath for a second.
I would reach for a phone that wasn't there. It was my phantom limb.
I could've sworn I heard an alert for a text. Or was it a vibration?
My phone was haunting me.
This is sad.
My life cannot be controlled by my phone. It may take some time, but I need to slowly let go.
I don't need my phone to be in my hand at all times. It doesn't need to be sitting in front of me on my desk or next to my head at my bedside.
The guy will still like me, even if it takes me a little longer to get back to him.
It's not about pretending to hate my phone. I love my phone.
I love social media, being connected and staying in touch.
However, I need to make small changes to avoid being a robot. I am going to try to keep my phone in my bag so I can't look at it every five seconds.
I want to talk on the phone more if I can't in person. In person, I want to make sure my phone is out of sight, so I can have meaningful conversations.
But the worst part is, 99 percent of the people I know are like this.
Everyone I know is obsessed with his or her phone.
It made me realize how dependent we truly are on our devices, and that terrifies me.