Death and tears in the absence of Twitter
An extract from 'Free Your Mind: The new world of manipulation and how to resist it'.
It’s not what I expected. The large trees must once have sat within the grounds of a gentrified estate, but the convent in front of me is charmlessly utilitarian. It is not the cloistered classic I had imagined. This is Lewisham, not Lindisfarne. The sun beats on my head as I open and close the rusty green driveway gates manually. A dusty chalkboard ‘welcome’ greets me.
A smiling sister ushers me though the front door. I sign in. Neither of us know the date – ah, we are sisters in our unworldliness. She provides a guided tour through cool corridors. The interior is wood, vinyl, linoleum, floral fabrics and religious paintings, just as you would expect. It smells of church, village hall and washing powder, which is to say it smells of safety, community and motherliness. Smell is an affecting sense. I already want to stay and nestle and be protected for longer than the 24 hours I have booked. My eyes mist. I knew this would happen.
Just before leaving I’d told a friend that I was going for just 24 hours. That’s quite specific, he laughed, just 24 hours. The thought of even 24 hours in a silent retreat with no phone or computer made me feel itchy inside and out – the mark of a true addict.
I sensed that pressing pause on my frantic life as a single mother, hustling for work, writing a book, renovating a house, seeing friends – oh you know how it is – could potentially cause something to surface.
For one thing, I’d have to confront my social media problem. Hello, my name is Laura and I’m a Twitter addict.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Free Mind to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.