It started with Tumblr. A sort of blog. A dashboard of lovely pictures to reblog, a queue to set up, and followers to gain. It was intoxicating to see the number rise, each 100 bringing me closer to…something.
Then it was WordPress. My blog with my words. My very own space of expression. Completely me and good for the soul. I found my purpose with each new post – freedom in weaving words together into something worth reading, something I was proud of. Each “like” on a post was reaffirming; each new comment bringing a smile to my face; each new follower giving me incentive to go farther. To write more. To keep going.
Then it was Twitter – my epiphany, a crush of sorts. A new world. It’s just to promote my blog, I said. I followed some people, tweeted with sarcasm, and watched as it turned into something. A sort of community where I was accepted. I belonged. I made friends there. People I can’t imagine not knowing; people I’ve come to love. And each favorite or retweet makes me giddy. Still, even after a whole year. So I try to outdo myself. To be more clever and witty. Because each retweet could mean another follower. Another person who could read my work. My growing audience – the lifeblood of a writer.
Then it was Instagram and its likes and lovely comments. A way to show that I can be artsy, maybe sometimes pretty.
Then it was Pinterest and the repins that justified my good taste and clever finds.
Then it was Vine and 6 second videos that say nothing at all, but are a look into a life that shouldn’t be spent so entirely online.
And Facebook always lingers in the background, the mother of it all and the bane of my existence.
And of course it all resides on my iPhone, the gorgeous love of my life. The sweet temptation I couldn’t resist, my own brand of heroin.
When did I start living for the likes? The retweets? The reblogs? The red hearts and smiley faces? The growing number of followers? The encouraging comments and praise that I hold dear, like a lifeline in an unpredictable world?
When did my happiness become tied to all that – to the likes and retweets?
When did my bad days become the result of low blog stats and losing a few followers?
When did social media seep into every aspect of my life, my day to day, permeating my moods and determining them?
When did my worth as a writer – as a person – become linked to things outside of myself? Things that I can’t control? To pixels on a screen?
My soul is not at peace. There is a stress, an unrelenting torment I’ve allowed to fester and pervade my waking moments. and occasionally my sleeping ones. I’ve dreamt Twitter and Instagram, of the horror of my phone breaking, and it’s left my heart racing as I wake up in frenzy to find out it was nothing more than a ridiculous nightmare.
I’m stretched too thin, spread across a web of social media that have done so much for me, but have also left me exhausted. Because I love the people I’ve met, the encouragement I’ve found, the purpose I’ve been given and watched unfold. I regret none of it.
But I am weary of the emptiness I feel when I go a few hours without checking Twitter. The number of minutes I spend refreshing Instagram. The sadness that envelopes me when my blog stats for the day aren’t what I imagine they should be.
I want to refocus. Reprioritize. I need to rest. To carve out time for myself. To find a life outside the likes.
Annoncement #1: I’m taking a break. A hiatus from all the apps and stats and notifications. I’m logging out for ten days to try and find something that seems to be missing. Because I don’t think I’m living life as best I can when I’m more worried about summing it up in 120 characters and picking the right filter to document the moment.
Life is meant to be enjoyed and experienced, not merely recorded. I want to feel the freedom that comes with living simply.
Announcement #2: I’m writing a book! Of my very own. (Along with the wonderful book I’m working on with Cory Copeland!) And I want to do it justice. To give it good start. I’m outlining and organizing and I even came up with the best title ever, so I’m ready to make this happen. To truly step into what it means to be a writer. So get ready to hear more about Is Everyone Having Sex Without Me? in the coming weeks. It’s already dear to my heart. I think it might be special.
I’ll be back in ten days. And I’ll miss you all. Truly. I really cannot say how grateful I am to each and every one of you. You are the best readers I could ask for. The most encouraging and hilarious and lovely people, and you make writing meaningful for me. I appreciate you all more than I can say.
That being said, if you have something you want to talk to me about, or need someone to just talk to, please email me. I love getting emails from you guys. They make me smile every time. And I’d like to try and forge friendships outside of tweets and Facebook messages. (The people who have my number can text me, obviously. But seriously, text me because I love you guys.)
Thank you for you’re your patience. I’ll be back on April 15th with something new for y’all to read. And I just said y’all. Guess there’s a first time for everything. Have a lovely weekend!