Who am I without constant feedback about who I am via social media comments and likes? Who am I if I’m not creating nearly constant content for social media consumption? What’s left when all the noise is silenced and social media chatter and scrolling and comments are no longer validating my experiences?
This is what’s up for me lately. I broke up with social media (Facebook and Instagram) in October, 2020 (you can read more about that decision here). So, about 6 months ago. Just recently, however, have I begun to feel the distance of it, the questioning of its impact on my life/psyche, the wondering of who am I without it?
I’ve been creating content and receiving nearly constant feedback on the web since 2005.
First through blogging, then through the addition of social media. That’s 16 years of anticipating what I would say, how I would say it, and what kind of response I’d receive. Though the years I developed pretty healthy habits around it all, but even so, it was always there, like a wandering pervasive presence. A pressure.
Like any relationship with a long term partner, there were many long seasons where I super cherished it, but toward the end there I felt like I was staying in a relationship that had far too many restrictions on my becoming and growing. I had to let it go.
Since letting it go, I’ve noticed long stretches of quiet in my mind. Sometimes, I have felt lonely or even bored. I can’t remember the last time I felt lonely or bored. Both felt exhilarating, like oh, that’s what that feels like!
As I stayed with it over the months, I have rediscovered my love of reading, devouring books (mostly memoirs). I have been dreaming more vividly, tapping into their meanings and significance in the way that I did long ago in my 20s. I’ve started a serendipity practice, which let me tell you, feels like a true homecoming to myself. Delight, everywhere. I’ve been going through photos of me and my life before I started an online life. Who was I then? Are there parts of her who want to come through again?
I’ve been walking and exploring outside more. I started volunteering with John and True at a no kill sanctuary farm. And I’ve quietly been tending to my little retail shoppe, Marigold + True.
It feels like I’m on an exciting, sometimes frightening, archeological dig of myself.
In my creativity practice, I’ve begun to wonder “what would I create if I wasn’t creating for my commercial/licensing business?” Like social media, so much of my art over the last 15 years has been created as a consumable. What would pour out of me if I created just for myself? For process sake? For just the love of smooshing some paint around?
I wrote a post not so long ago about signing up for creative mentorship and starting what I like to call my art sabbatical – a time of deep experimentation and exploration. And it’s been WONDERFUL! I’m painting big. I’m painting my doodles. I’m freeing up. And I can’t recommend taking Annamieka’s Let’s Go Deep program enough! I’ll share a post soon with what I’m learning and what I’m making. It’s SO LIBERATING.
I am beginning to recognize myself again.
It’s has been very strange to not share any of this via social media these last many months. For so many years of my life, I’d hop on social media with my insights and what I’m learning and what latest piece of art I made and what my family is up to and what my home looks like and where I’m traveling and and and. These days I’m letting my heart and spirit rest with long periods of integration, for time to allow deeper learnings to settle and work their way and wisdom. It feels better. And so, I’m trusting it.
I’m glad to be here, writing a blog, spilling some truths I’ve been thinking about. If you’ve read this far, thank you for being here. I adore this community.