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.
You’re right about getting off social media, Kelly. FB in particular is a drain. Im staying on IG tho- at least it’s more creative and authentic.
You actually realize how manipulated you’ve been on FB when you detach from it.
Kelly, I think you’re so right about getting off social media. For me it’s getting off FB, so I can build up my Instagram. FB is a drain, no mistake about it, I have one group on there I run which is fun- but generally it’s a waste of time, really just providing content for Mark Zuckerburg to exploit people.
At least IG is creative and you can promote your own biz in a more authentic way.
I just quit social media, and it’s been interesting to see already how much it’s shifted my life and creativity. Appreciating your share about your journey (and the original post), it’s helped me immensely. xo
Thanks, Stephanie. Best to you on your unplug – it’s pretty amazing!
Thank you so much for your inspiration! YOU are amazing
Thanks for sharing your journey with us! I love still being able to read your posts here and hope you’ll continue with them.
Thank you so much for a beautifully penned breaking-up story (with social media)!I am also in an intentionally simplifying-my-life journey and although I haven’t given up completely social media, I haven’t been actively using it for almost 3 years+. That alone still has this nagging-thing-feeling. But recently, I deleted my IG app and I really felt that spaciousness it made in my mentality + time. And it feels good!
It’s really inspiring that you have built your business that can thrive without social media. I’d love that one day!
Congratulations! I surrendered social media last fall because the constant nag of anxiety in those spaces felt deeply incongruent with my clear call to live and lead authentically. I poured my heart instead into a free community I’ve slowly been creating and it’s showing me so much I was missing trying to be seen elsewhere. What a gift to trust our nudges no matter how different they appear from the world around us 🙂
So agree and love your story, Andrea!
I buy your calendars every year…I’m in love! You are my tribe!!
Thank you, dear Patty! We have 17 month planners (new format for us!) coming up in July of this year. Stay tuned!
I too was on social media and starting to feel exactly the way you described Kelly! I deactivated my FB account temporarily but the longer I’m away from social media the better I feel, the more space I find in my day, and my mind. yes, I too experience boredom/lonliness but also contentment and peace, and a new voice is validating my life – my own voice! and the voices of a small group of trusted friends which are real friends not virtual friends. And yes, now that I am not creating artistic content for my FB/instagram feeds, I am free to just explore all those lost and misplaced dreams…
YES to all that you have said. I kept saying “same, same” as I read your words 🙂
So good. I deactivated all my social last summer. It was supposed to be a short break but it’s still going. Your post really resonated with me. I like to read about others’ experiences with it, so I really appreciate you sharing!! Love your site too. 💕
Thank you🌈☀️Miss you❤️
My faithful daily reusable water bottle is made beautiful by your “Grateful Soul” sticker. Every trip I make to be with my 90-yr-old mom who is suffering with Alzheimer’s, she just bubbles over every time it appears. I finally got her her own water bottle, actually bought her two, one with the “Grateful Soul” and one with the Butterfly. She just loves them!
I offered a grab bag of the stickers at Christmas-time for all the wonderful women in my life. Love to you!
Love hearing this, Nancy. It warms my heart to know your mom lights up with her own Grateful Soul water bottle!