Media Journal iii
No media whatsoever for 24 complete hours? That sounds illegal if you ask me. So like any other student who wanted to make sure that he or she could confidently and correctly fulfill this assignment to all of its entirety, I did it on Thanksgiving Day. I also came to the conclusion that I enjoyed every minute of it and will probably be taking more media-hiatuses in the future, just under slightly less drastic circumstances and on my own terms. I wouldn’t consider myself media-driven and I am far from an addict when it comes to that kind of thing so it was not difficult for me to refrain for 24 hours. The majority of my Thanksgiving was spent cooking, cleaning, eating and sleeping anyway. Aside from spending priceless moments with my incredible family and creating memories that no status or gang of emojis could ever describe. Like every year at about four or so in the afternoon, the day before Thanksgiving, my mom and I begin to clean the house from top to bottom, and I do mean clean. Scrub. Sanitize. Sterilize. It’s very tiresome but I wouldn’t have it any other way because it’s simply “what we do.” We start in the back of the house where the bedrooms and bathrooms are, cleaning ceiling fan blades, washing down the walls, mopping, washing bed linens, even the ones in the guest room that probably haven’t been slept on since the last major holiday. Then we make our way up front to the other bathrooms cleaning tile grout, toilets, fluffing towels and adding the last minute trims to the Christmas trees. After we’ve washed all china and Dad has managed to move the Christmas tree at least five times before I lost count in my peripheral, it’s about nine o’clock at night. My sister is on her way home from Little Rock and it’s time to start cooking! This year, my duty was taking care of all of the desserts. I managed to coexist in the kitchen alongside my mom long enough to cook two sweet potato pies, a pecan pie, a chocolate pie, a key lime pie and a pound cake before I had to call it quits for the night since it was then about four in the morning. I remember, like every year, there comes a point where my mom and I begin to slow down and question how it became so late so quickly since we had been laughing and singing the entire night. No televisions on, no radio. Just my mom, my sister and myself, covered in flour and dried egg whites trying to keep it out of our hair with faded bandanas tied on our heads that I have now deemed, “holiday head rags.” I wouldn’t trade these exhausting, physically demanding and sometimes frustrating moments for anything in the world and I would be just sick if I were to miss out over something as insignificant as an Instagram newsfeed or Facebook-post-gone-rogue about this dang election. I am THANKFUL for my family and the traditions that we can call ours. After getting a few, and I mean a few, hours of shut-eye Mrs. McGee had the entire house up at eight o’clock sharp. We were dusting silk, faux trees and polishing any and everything wooden “so the shine will be fresh.” Not that it was challenging to do, but instead of consuming media, I simply kept myself entertained with whatever task was at hand during that time. It was a piece of cake (pun intended). Why would I be on my phone or consumed by the countless reruns of trash TV? My sister is in town! Her presence is more than enough, she’s all I need! Not to mention my brothers and sister-in-law arrived shortly after eight that morning and they brought board games! I don’t need media! My big family is all of the entertainment and music that I could ever want and need! It was ridiculously easy to live without, especially on a day like Thanksgiving. It is really only when I am not entertained and dare I say it, bored, that I reach for media such as television or begin scrolling through the many pointless apps on my cell phone. I do not need media to function daily, however I am guilty of abusing its convenience in my extensive free time. If I had to state what I missed and did not miss, I would say that, while without I did miss being able to speak with my friends and family who were not able to make it to our dinner. I had to catch up with them the following day which was still okay too. Other than that, I was content. I did not like that fact that I could not use my phone during this assignment, so I guess that means I missed the privilege too. The media deprivation that I faced ultimately made me miss my friends and family members that were too far away for me to go visit that day, I guess I could’ve written and mailed a letter if I had something crucial to tell them. Overall, I feel great about the assignment and its total outcome though. It’s nice to know that I can function like a normal human being without being glued to a screen and that I am not so “programmed” to the point where I can’t enjoy the company of those in my presence as I am too busy trying to meddle into the company/ business of others. I will not say that I am surprised or shocked, but I am definitely satisfied with how it all panned out. As a person who tries consciously to remain “here” and “current,” after completing the three media journals assigned to me over the course of the semester, I have most definitely become more aware of how the media affects my life and even how it may mold/ sway my thoughts and perceptions, but the most eye-opening discovery is how much it plays a role in my daily routine. It is not that I choose for it to be there necessarily, but how much we are actually exposed to it all and the fact that we all have become so used to it being there that we don’t even notice the exposure anymore. It’s actually quite frightening, the dependence we have on the media. Some rely on it to function, we base friendships off of media, set goals derived from things we have seen on the media, form opinions and even shape our views. After documenting my media-related habits, applying them on paper and reading them aloud, I am not surprised by my own routines, however in the future I am going to work on dispersing my time better and focusing more on things that matter, because after all we still NEED the media. The media allows us to interact with the rest of the world and the people that we share it with. On the other hand, I do not NEED to know how my classmate from high school’s second marriage is going and whether or not they ate Cracker Barrel this morning, I can live without that knowledge. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 meaning that I’ve got a grip on my life and its priorities and 10 meaning that I need rehab, I would say that I am about a 3.5. I do not feel that I need the media in any way, other than being able to be contacted quickly by friends and family. I do not use any social media other than what is required by the University because I feel that if I should be talking to you, we should have each other’s primary contact (cell phone number.) It’s essential in everyday life, especially today, but I don’t need it. I take on-campus classes for the simple fact that I strongly dislike being on the computer. I prefer to interact with people and visually read the manual text script. In the future I am going to work on focusing on current events and what’s happening not only locally but internationally. I’ve got some friends in the military and I would like to know what is going on in their environment. Would I recommend to others that they complete a media journal? Yes I would. It makes it all a little more real when it’s your information and personal documentation in front of you. It hits home a little more. I know I would’ve never done this, under these firm circumstances, without you Dr. Sitton! Thank you for allowing me to experience one of the most engaging holidays with my family yet!