One month ago I turned off my phone.
I bought a cheap burner phone to use Google Maps and Spotify.
I took some clothes, a laptop to write and some sneakers to run in.
I rented a car.
All packed, I went into the mountains here in Puerto Rico.
I had one goal.
To escape the noisy world and hear myself think.
Here’s what happened.
I experienced severe withdrawal symptoms. I questioned whether I had made the right decision. I felt an unhealthy need to stay connected.
I had severe FOMO.
A sudden deep well of anger, grief, and pain tsunami’d from my gut to my brain. It had dust all over it. It had been down there so long.
It rocked me. I could barely open my eyes to any of it.
Work, movement, and constant stimulation had distracted me from it all of my life. But here I was. Quiet for the first time. Witnessing the darkest parts of my psyche.
It continued for days. I wasn’t sure if I’d make it out. But I kept trekking. Hoping that the discomfort would pass.
At the turn of the second week, it calmed down. Like pressing a knot long enough, eventually it evaporated.
This is when it happened.
The thing I was looking for. The moment where it hit me. Not all at once. Sometimes on a long walk. Other times over a quiet meal. Often around sunset.
The answers to so many of my lifelong questions.
I suddenly understood why I was so hard on myself, why I struggled with anxiety, why I rejected intimacy.
The answers had been there all along but I had never gotten quiet enough to listen.
I started dancing and screaming in joy. FINALLY!
For the first time in my life, it clicked.
I loved myself.
After these epiphanies, a calm settled over me.
My breaths were slower. My mind was quiet. I was present.
I knew I would soon have to go back into the world. That I couldn’t step away forever.
But that whenever I needed to, I could come back to this place.
Not to the mountains but to this newfound strength within me that I had finally gotten to know and love.
I listened to this song on repeat throughout the month: Jaybird by Charlie Parr
Sunset on Week 3: