Monday, 9 March 2015

Blog-toxing


A.K.A 'One Hell of a Lesson About the Gift of Absence'


It can be awfully difficult to manage, when that which brings you so much hope, freedom, opportunity and inspiration in life, is simultaneously the draining, exhausting thing which equally brings the sadness, negativity and angst.

For me, blogging is the mother of all Catch 22's.

If you finally put down your foot and withdraw, you become liberated from all the bad, but at what cost? Everything you've worked so hard toward begins to quickly unravel before your eyes and it seems every moment you are painstakingly aware that your goals are slipping further and further into the unattainable, becoming but a haze on the horizon.

But stay, remain fully immersed among the swathes of people sick with the need to go viral, these enormous cyber cities of people all striving to become a success or sell you something, who inevitably dance across the line between colleague and competition, friend and foe, and like the tiniest cog in some unfathomably large machine you can feel the ever-crushing weight of your own irrelevance and futility eroding away at any happiness in the rest of your life-

ENOUGH.


What happens when you're a blogger who is really fucking sick and tired of the internet?


*

The other day, I had an idea for an app.

 I'd found myself caught up in the depths of the Doe Deere drama and the scandalous history of her brand Limecrime, and was horrified to realise I'd spent almost an hour and a half just staring at my screen reading various people's stories and opinions about the shit that had gone down of late. (And it's safe to say, it wasn't pretty.)  

It was then that I imagined an app you could install that would monitor just how much time you spend a day actively engaged in social media apps. Similar to those sleep-talking apps which operate constantly in the background, this app could be initiated at the start of the day and monitor and record how many times certain apps are opened and how much time is spent actively engaged within it.

Then I realised why it would never work.

Because nobody would want it. None of us are ready to acknowledge the horrifying truth about just how reliantly glued to our little screens and virtual lives we actually are. And how much it fucks us up.

I guess since the start of 2015, I've failed to see any good in blogging anymore. Scrolling through my timeline does nothing but bring me down, make me feel inadequate, tell me all the reasons I'm wrong in appearance and opinion, and pretty much just constantly remind me that I'm gonna die without experiencing even a fraction of what life has to offer.

Yet turning away from it was filling me with guilt that I wasn't doing anything with my life anymore, and that I was proving everyone who'd love to see my fall, right. I AM just a fuck-up drop out with a crappy part time job and no real life prospects.

Ambition, determination and direction slowly began to leave my body like it was late September at summer camp and boy did I spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. It wasn't dark, but it was sure as hell bleak.

It was at a point of near crisis that I was lucky enough to go on holiday with my family. 

And, excuse the melodrama, it was as though a sudden explosion of colour, sound and sensation flooded my drained, passion-parched body.

There was no wifi in our hotel and I made a promise to myself to refrain from any contact while I was out there. It was just me, my family, the mountains, the ocean and my book, Wild - Cheryl Strayed. And THAT is what I discovered again. My wilderness.

I plan to write about all that I experienced on that holiday when my photos are developed, but coming back, I felt different. It had only been a few days, but a few days absent in social media world was pretty much 17 years and I found myself, surprisingly delightfully out of touch. I came back having missed #THEDRESS and #FINDDANCINGMAN and all kinds of other stuff that had blown up and I realised how important it was that I didn't care.

It was then that I rediscovered possibly the most surprising and important thing which I'd been so blind to amongst all the exasperation,  envy-induced bitterness and inadequacy social media brings me - the golden side of the internet.

I began watching Louis Cole's and Devin Supertramp's videos, countless montages of 'People Are Awesome' and remembered one of my favourite music videos of all time (especially for music which isn't particularly my taste) :





I lost myself in the awe-inspiring words of Emma Gannon from Girl Lost in the City, the beautifully passionate posts of  Shannon Butler from Awash With Wonder whose words build a garden in my mind, and marvelled with respect and humbleness at people like Vicky Chandler working balls to the nail to get published and be heard.

Whilst enjoying reveling more in my irl hobbies, I began to spend my time online reading Elite Daily and Thought Catalog, indulging in a Stumbleupon sesh or two and getting myself riled up with inspiration for a building a better future on Pinterest.

I wasn't lost. I hadn't been so bombarded with how shit social media is that it had broken me.

For want of a better phrase; I was being a lil' bitch.

I really looked at myself and I was embarrassed at how weak I'd become. I'd been lazy and making excuses, getting so in a funk that I had no motivation to get myself out of it and just dwelling in the misery that I couldn't cope - all the while ignoring the fact that I am a bad bitch with the power and control to shape my motherfucking destiny if I just put my mind to it.

I will not feel sorry for myself.

I will not let social media manipulate me into thinking things I don't think.

I am more than just who I am on the internet.

And I refuse to let all those people who are loving telling me what a mistake I have made by dropping out of uni, be right.

I know exactly who I want to be, what I want to be known for, and what I want to represent in this world, and I also know that I am never going to be able to achieve that without some motherfucking hard work behind it. 

It's time to work hard and MAKE my voice be heard because I believe I have a story worth telling.

Coming back to blogging after an absence has been a hard pill to swallow. But you know what, I am proud to say my daily hits are now a fifth of what they used to be in its peak. Because you know what I've got instead? Peace of mind. Understanding. Freedom. A part of me is screaming out in agony at the apparent undoing of all this hard work I seem to have achieved, but truly, what is stats compared to respect? What is an onlooker in comparison to a listener? What is follower count compared to mental stability?

It's back to square one, starting to build from nothing again, and this time I'm ready for the challenge.

Losing control of who I am and what I wan to do after such a monumental life change was pretty terrifying and unsettling, but although was horrible, I am so glad it happened. 'Cause that means that I am still questioning, still discovering who I am, still conscious of everything that I'm doing, creating and the existence I am curating.

And never again will I make the internet make a little bitch of me.

(But if it does, I know exactly what to do. Scream 'YOU DON'T OWN ME' to my stats and gladly fuck right off for a bit, book tucked under arm.)


47 comments :

  1. Amen sister! What a flipping fabulous post! Screw what anyone else says; with an attitude and writing style as positive as that - you can achieve whatever you want! Loved it xxxx
    www.lovelaughslipstick.com

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    1. Thank you so so much! I'm really hoping that's the case haha :) xx

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  2. This is great and I went through the exact same thing with my blog last year. It's so easy to get sucked in, especially with the blogging world and wanting to make a success of yourself online. We all have dreams for our own space on the Internet but I think it's important that it doesn't come at a cost to our mental health and happiness. I found that refocusing helped me a lot. I still keep up to date with my favourite blogs but maintain the focus on my own space and my own self and know that I am fighting to be better than I was yesterday, not with anyone else. Really great post!
    Saadiya x

    www.thatgirlsaadiya.blogspot.com

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    1. It's so difficult isn't it? I swear about half of the posts I write on here are about my struggles with social media haha. Thank you so so much for reading and commenting Saadiya! x

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  3. Fantastic post. This is how I feel at the moment. Being an artist or creator and trying to dabble in social media is essentially like putting a vice in front of an addict and telling them to only "indulge a little bit". The line is freakin hard to walk!

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    1. It so is! I was thinking as I was writing this that it's genuinely like a drug or something... It's so difficult when you want to be heard but you also want to keep your artistic integrity intact ahhh x

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  4. I can completely relate to this, brilliant post. I have a very similar relationship to social media and blogging to you and I'm taking a small break too, I think it's really important not to lose sight of your sanity! I love your point about stats etc in comparison to mental health and peace of mind - there really is no comparison. Good luck with all you want to achieve!
    Hannah x
    Hanniemc.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much, you hit the nail on the head too, it's just not worth losing yourself over. Also I'd just like to say thank you so much for being a constant reader and commenter Hannah, I seriously appreciate it more than you know :) x

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  5. This is exactly the same issue I had! I ended up blogging for the sake of the views and then took a step back and realised I had become someone I hated! I let myself get wrapped up in a community which didn't honestly suit me or who I wanted to be... and so I've just come back after a month long break as well. My blog used to be "beauty and fashion" .... it's now just simply "life + style" which gives me the flexibility to talk about whatever I want, whenever I want! :D

    Katie xoxo
    katielclark.co.uk

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    1. Aw I'm glad to hear you were able to reassess what you were aiming for and discover your true aim :) thanks for reading! x

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  6. I read your post from beginning to end. You are definitely one of my favorite writers, Katie. I may not agree with certain things you blog about, but I keep coming back, and reading everything you post here because you have the. gift. That gift to make people relate to whatever you're going through, regardless if it's good or bad. I know I'm not making sense, but rest assured that I'm here to stick around. :)

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    1. That genuinely means so much to me, especially as you say you don't always agree with what I write but you stay anyway - that is so so important. Thank you so much Jae x

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  7. I really need one of those Polaroid cameras!

    http://wiltedxfaded.blogspot.co.uk/

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  8. Absolutely fantastic post Katie! I can relate so much to this post, you articulated yourself beautifully. I myself am coming off a blogging break, I'd been getting hardship from my peers but I'm determined to keep blogging. Enjoyed your post, it's definitely one of your best.

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    1. That means so much, thank you Aveen! Honestly, I truly believe that no matter the online cost, a blogging break is imperative to remain healthy and balanced between online and real life things :) x

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  9. "What is an onlooker in comparison to a listener?"

    I love the sentiment of this sentence even more after scrolling through the comments on this post - it's easy to see people who genuinely engage with your posts and people who are just tagging as many posts as possible with their own blog links. This is why I think you're right - it's important to remember the difference in value of loyal readers who will enjoy your content, engage and revisit your blog, even if there has been a gap in posts, compared to traffic spikes which really don't mean a great deal, especially if a big percentage are just people using your blog to further their own.

    I have a teeny tiny blog and I still feel the pressure of engaging enough online, posting regularly and maintaining a consistent profile - I can't imagine the pressure you must feel. You're a remarkable writer though, Katie, with interesting, articulate thoughts on important topics, and I think that's why your blog will continue to thrive where it matters, even if you do occasionally stick two fingers up at the "blogging rules".

    x

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    1. This genuinely might be the best comment I've ever received, I cannot thank you enough for this. I wanna straight up frame this and put it on my wall forever THANK YOU. I just hope I can continue to be that person! x

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  10. I really needed to read those words right now. Just thank you. X

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    1. Ah this has made me beyond happy, I'm glad you could find something in my words x

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  11. I really needed this also! I'm a new blogger and terrified I have these far fetched dreams and I'm completely deluded. thank you :)

    arbitrarynonses.wordpress.com

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    1. Just keep a hold of your real life too and you should be fine! Good luck and thanks for reading :) x

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  12. I'm so glad I read this today because it's honestly exactly what I needed. I've been having a terrible week, really a terrible couple of months for no real reason at all, but especially this week has been bad. I got a spider bite which turned into some sort of skin infection then I realised I owe $3000 in taxes the next day and then today I woke up and the ceiling of my apartment was raining toilet water from the floor above me and I'm using all of it as excuses to miss work and school and fun and curl up in a ball and binge eat and hide from the sun which I feel is judging me. I just feel like quitting everything even though I know I'm perfect capable of doing everything that I need to do I just have this mental block telling me that I've taken too much on my plate and right now I just need to eject eject eject. So I've decided that I'm going to take the weekend here for a few much needed mental health days and then come Monday hope that I'm ready to face the world again!!

    Danika Maia
    http://www.danikamaia.com

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    1. I can totally relate to this my god, I sometimes wish that institutions and work etc would recognise 'taking mental health days' as being things which are just as essential as 'taking sick days'. The only problem is I guess there's no PROOF and anyone could just use that excuse.. It's so frustrating! It sounds like you've had a bummer of a month, I really hope you start to feel better soon x

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  13. I love the way you write and how brutally honest you are. Stay blogging gal ;) xx

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    1. Haha I think my brutal honesty gets me in trouble a lot of the time! But I'm glad you enjoy it, thanks so much for reading Shaz x

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