The 2022 digital detox

I mentioned it in posts last year, but my holiday break wasn’t any old break. I took the three and half days at my parents’ house to disconnect from all social media and news and do literally anything else.

To be honest, the digital detox was the best part of my 11-day holiday break.

I’ve mentioned this before, but over the past few years I’ve had a problem with constantly checking in for new content online, always looking for the newest dopamine fix. That fix never lasts long, which means the hunt continues for the next big fix. There’s always another thing to be found. And another. And another.

I was doing this even in my supposed relaxing time. Even when I was having fun in my interactions, there was always an inner fear of missing something new, not being the first to find out something. FOMO, but for everything digital. It became a nightmare and the exact opposite of relaxing. It’s strange how zoning out can have the opposite effect.

Any attempts to improve my relationship with the internet and being the first to know everything required a hard reset, so I used the holiday break at my parents’ house in the middle of nowhere to perform that hard reset. The rules: no Twitter, no Discord, no news, no other social media. I removed Twitter and Discord from my home screen and replaced them with more productive pursuits (Duolingo, the weather). I didn’t go hardcore and uninstall the apps altogether so I would have a nuclear option if needed.

The purists might say that this wasn’t a pure digital detox since I still let myself use my phone and other electronics, but something strange happened.


So you wanna get a bisalp: The protips the pre-op doesn’t tell you

A few people in my extended social circles have asked me about my permanent sterilization experience, and I wrote so much that it turned into two posts. You can read my lived experience in the previous post here.

Let’s get to the practical parts, the frequently asked questions that no one ever seems to answer unless you go into the depths of the internet. I’m going to get down and dirty here.


The road to sterilization

There have been a few times when I thought about children, but those reasons are the worst possible. On the few occasions I found myself wondering what it would like to be a parent, I realized I would want to raise any child of mine to be a more accomplished version of myself, succeeding at all the things I wasn’t the very best at, giving them all the opportunities that could have turned my life around sooner.

Notice there’s nothing about having love to give a child, or wanting the experience of bringing up a decent human, or wanting to nurture a family.

And to be honest… I don’t like babies. They’re loud and disrupt your entire life and their crying is like squeaky chalk. Kids are fine when you can talk to them and have conversations in complete sentences. But you have to get through the infant and toddler years first and that takes way too much energy that I could be devoting to other interests. And almost all cases of having a child involve being pregnant, and that’s a major squick of mine.

On top of that, a hypothetical child now has to deal with political extremism, school shootings, and a planet that will look totally different by the time they’re old for reasons that have nothing to do with them. Republican lawmakers enjoy attacking reproductive rights even though the general public agrees that abortion should be allowed at least some of the time.

Before now, my primary method of birth control was abstinence. I haven’t dated that much, I don’t get the big deal about sex, and I’m this close to giving up on allocishet men altogether. I spent nearly ten years of my adult life with low job security and no health insurance, so obtaining birth control long-term was iffy at best. Up to this point I’ve been picky enough about who I date that I haven’t run into anyone who flat-out refuses to wrap it up. But as I entered my mid-30s and right-wing legislatures started enacting abortion restriction laws, I knew it was time for permanent voluntary sterilization. For uterus-havers the gold standard is no longer clipping or tying the fallopian tubes but straight-up removing them, also known as a bilaterial salpingectomy. So let’s talk about my experience and recovery.

Before getting started, I should acknowledge my privilege here. I’m a college-educated cis white-passing-ish woman with a job that makes me sound fancy and intelligent. I have good health insurance. I’m reasonably well-spoken. I knew the name of the most common procedure (bilateral salpingectomy, or bisalp for short). And the big one for this situation: I was 35 at my initial consultation, when age-related pregnancy risks start coming into play.

With all that in mind, here’s my sterilization experience.


2022: Is 2020 over yet?

I wanted 2022 to be a fresh start. Surely 2022 would be the year that everything would go back to normal and I would travel and make and remake friends and do all the things I couldn’t do over the past few years.

Then omicron came along, dodging vaccines and making life look even iffier during December and January. I spent December and January on near-lockdown before accepting that new variants and moving on are the reality we live in now.

And boy is it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 2022, it’s this: Life goes on. Remember last year’s summary entry when I talked about being stuck in a metaphorical jar? That’s where I found myself at the beginning of the year before taking small steps back into the world.


The past two years have made me hate screens, and other thoughts

I used to be the epitome of extremely online. I was here for the memes, the retweets, answering everyone’s questions all at once, sharing witty commentary and updates about my life. The internet was my life. Even if we did meet up in meatspace sometimes, most of my friends were in my computer or in the tiny doombox known as my phone.

And then a few things started happening, some gradually, some all at once.