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.)