I Refuse to Feel Bad About My Phone

It’s fine, I’m fine with it!

12.07.16
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On October 13th, during Grown-Ass Woman Month, Leandra admitted that she hates how much time she spends on her phone. “For me, the phone promotes habitually bad behavior, which, if I had to guess, stops mental expansion,” she wrote. On November 4th, during Consumption Month, I wrote an MR Writers Club prompt wherein I said the following: “If I read one more think piece about all of us being addicted to our phones, I’m going to find a loophole in the constitution and marry mine out of spite.”

Leandra, upon reading this, shouted across the office: “Haley, do you really feel that way about your phone?”

I said yes, she said write about it, I said okay. Now it’s December 7th, we’re one week into Contradictions Month, so allow me: Of all my battles to pick, I do not have one to pick with my phone.

Why would I? It wakes me up, brings music to my ears, tells me where to go, collects and records my most intimate thoughts, tracks all my to-dos, answers all my trivial questions, documents where I’ve been, connects me with people I love. My phone is my knowing totem. Fuck “technology attachment issues,” this thing is literal magic in my hands.

When I lost it during Fashion Week this past September, I did not rapturously find myself outside the confines of my iOS. Rather, I cried more than once out of genuine frustration. A little because I was bored, but mostly because I was thrust into a very modern world without the modern tools the environment called for. It felt like walking in a city without shoes. In 2016, smart phones are increasingly part of the deal and resenting them feels silly.

I understand that notifications are digital shoulder taps: greedy for our attention and a little soul-sucky, but this seems a small price to pay. Or further, one we can choose to pay or not. I mostly use my phone for music, maps, photos and googling. Tools that are useful and dear to me; tools that keep my head up instead of down and enhance the way I experience New York and my life. They don’t drive me crazy.

But no one, including Leandra, is arguing the modern convenience of a smart phone, I know. Maybe, if I’m honest, outshining my love for my phone is my principled refusal to worry about yet another thing I’ve come to rely on. I’m too tired. My penchant for self-improvement has reached its maximum capacity. That’s probably the crux of it. If I have no plans to change my relationship with my phone, why waste the energy wondering if I should?

Photo by Krista Anna Lewis.

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  • EP

    I feel this way about social media. I don’t feel like worrying about it and all its implications. I certainly don’t want to read a think piece about it. Can I just live?

  • Greenland

    Yes yes yes 110% this. I refuse to feel bad about something that objectively makes my life easier and better. Not going to apologize for having an awful sense of direction and relying heavily on google maps, as though carrying a paper map of New York with me everywhere I go is somehow a better solution??

  • Fran

    I agree — selective use is the key!
    🙂

  • Mercedes Ayala

    “My penchant for self-improvement has reached its maximum capacity.” I know this is false. Your phone just doesn’t have to be a hassle, and believing self-improvement requires this detachment from technology is almost close-minded. Shouldn’t technological improvement be something to welcome with open arms?

    …I say, while spending hours playing hex instead of studying for my finals

    • Haley Nahman

      lol

  • Luvmyphone

    Can I get an Amen?! Hallelujah ! 🙌🏻

    • Haley Nahman

      AMEN (is it weird if i say the amen?)

  • Tori

    It’s all about perspective. Many of us have lost sight of how far we have come with technology in the past ten years. Providing there’s service/wifi we can communicate with anyone around the world and pull up information or content in a matter of seconds; by the way, all that now fits in your pocket or bag. It has evolved into much more than a communication tool. We have these amazing devices that can be used for self-improvement, to create, learn, and connect, yet many of us are using our devices for self-destructive, mindless entertainment. It takes a huge amount of discipline to grow out of that negative habit.

    On notifications: don’t like them because they control your life? Scale them back or turn them off. The settings on our devices allow us to control every aspect of this. Personally, I scale them down for all of my social platforms. Sometimes notifications are a necessary evil in life because work depends on it, when this happens, I always ask myself the question: Is this notification something I have to engage with right now or can it wait? We have crazy amounts of control over this, its all about how we choose to engage with it.

  • Chloe Bruderer

    I said this earlier today, but you always nail it girl

    • Haley Nahman

      Love you for this

  • i cancelled my phone plan this year but find that it’s still one of my most-used belongings because it’s so damn useful; google maps pre-loaded with the whole city and my starred places, the subway map, and my google calendars that tells me what to do and where to go is the most helpful assistant i could have.