• Janay S.

My 2019 Lent Journey

The morning of March 5, 2019, my eldest sis texted my second oldest sister and I proposing the idea of sacrificing something for the season of Lent (March 5-April 19). Immediately I was down and I agreed to give up watching reality television. I chose to give up watching reality television because in my new journey of exploring self-awareness I have come to realize that reality television is my guilty pleasure while simultaneously serving me no purpose. Literally every time I watch Love and Hip Hop I ask myself why do I watch this stupid stuff but then continue to tune in every week for a new episode. So in that moment of agreeing to give up reality television I told myself this is my opportunity to restructure the type of entertainment I consume.


March 5-19th

Throughout this entire first week I have been extremely tempted to watch reality television. I keep seeing advertisement for some of the shows I regularly watch, like Black Ink Crew and Married To Medicine. I never realized how many reality shows are on television until I had to scroll past them on my TV guide in order to find something else to watch. Also, I have noticed that the first thing I do when I get home is going into my room, grabbing the remote and turning on the television. And I do it in such a robotically routine behavior that it is making me question myself. Am I that attached to the television or is this just where my comfort zone beginnings? Watching TV is my de-stress process after work but I have decided that I need to be more serious about my sacrifice. No more touching the remote when I come home. The television does not turn on and I have to find some other form of entertainment!

March 10th

I received a notification on my phone unveiling that my screen time has increased 8% and I have been on my phone for an average of 5 hours per day in this past week. I have come to realize that I am still consuming entertainment just in a different manner. I stayed strong and did not watch any reality television but I have now turned to Hulu and Netflix for fictional entertainment. Instead of watching Real Housewives of Atlanta I am now watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Black-ish. But since my screen time is increasing I feel as if I need to level up again about my entertainment consumption. I have decided to decrease my screen time by setting a time limit for three hours for all social media apps on my phone.

March 13th

I exceeded my social media limit (3 hours). Exceeding the limit made me realize how idle my time has become. I lie in bed or sit silently while switching between multiple apps scrolling mindlessly with no purpose at all. Social media is a diversion that I allow to distract me. I like the distraction because it occupies my attention in awkward moments when I do not want to socialize with people in person. I like it because it enables my homework procrastination. I like it because it keeps me updated on friends and family that I do not talk to on a daily basis without having to awkwardly message them saying, “I know we have not spoken recently but…” But then I realized it is not that I like it, it is that I am attached to it. I have to learn how to live without it, if that is even possible.

March 17th

I have so much time on my hands since I am not stationary watching television all the time anymore. I had a proud moment today – I stopped watching Umbrella Academy on Netflix to vacuum my room. This is an accomplishment because I have been telling myself to vacuum for months. Lately I have been listening to radio podcast more. This is an accomplishment because I have a long list of recommended podcast I have wanted to listen to and I have only gotten through like three shows. The radio podcast are way more positively stimulating. I like listening to meaningful and educated conversations because it provokes me to think more. I unfollowed a lot of celebrities on social media because I realized I only like those celebrities for whatever they are famous for and not for the content they post. My screen time decreased 29% revealing that I was on my phone for an average 4 hours a day. Baby steps. Progress.

March 20th

I am really getting into radio podcast more and more. I am slowly moving through my list of recommendations. I have realized I like watching fictional shows more than reality television because there is actually a purpose to the show. Fictional shows have better storylines and character dynamics.

March 24th

Proud moment - Love and Hip Hop was on the television in the café at my job and I had no desire to watch it at all. Instead I read my book, Becoming by Michelle Obama. I am truly proud of the progress I have made. My screen time decreased 16% showing I was on my phone for an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes per day.

March 30

I changed my social media limit for screen time to 2 hours a day and exceeded the limit before even getting out of bed. So much for progress right? Lol Minor setbacks.

April 7th

My screen time decreased 28%.

April 14th

My screen time decreased 17%.

April 19th

I have really enjoyed staying committed to this sacrifice. I am not very religious but spiritually I respect the concept of giving up something for a greater good. I am so used to not using the television anymore that I have to set alarms so that I do not miss any of the new shows I watch now. This whole process has made me pay more attention to the idealism of consumption. I find myself contemplating, what do I get out of this form of entertainment? Because there are shows, like This Is Us, where the content is great but I had to stop watching it because I could feel myself becoming more emotional after watching back-to-back episodes. Now when consuming entertainment I ask myself questions like: Does this show make me laugh because it is stupid or because it has an intelligent and complex comedic spin to it? Do the words to this song make me experience an emotion or do I just want some noise to dance to? Is what I am reading, viewing or listening to positively contributing to my psyche or is this supposed to just distract me from what I do not like about my own reality? This mini journey has prompted me to strengthen and grow in my self-awareness. I have absolutely no desire to go back to watching reality television. I am not saying that I will never watch it again but I am saying at the moment it does not serve a purpose for me anymore.

#LoveandHipHop #BlackInkCrew #MarriedtoMedicine #realitytelevision #TV #Lent #sacrifice #RealHousewivesofAtlanta #Hulu #Netflix #BrooklynNineNine #Blackish #socialmedia #screentime #ThisIsUs #podcast

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