I am starting something new today.
My thirties were a decade of self-discovery, spiritual awakening, and emboldening autonomy. It is serendipitous, then, that I experienced online humiliation just before my fortieth birthday. This tested the resilience of my training until then–that which developed conviction and resolve. The experience changed me, and I am grateful that it came in time for the landmark occasion.
Prior to this, my personal decisions and social activities were influenced by a tug of war between youthful lust for acclaim and a burgeoning need (born of experience) for authenticity. Adulation may be a salve for insecurity, but it only temporarily abates; insecurity is insatiable. I strove for adulation, nonetheless, thinking I’d find relief in platform growth and internet virility. I clawed after public validation, hoping to ensure a growing sense of self efficacy, if and/or when, I ever earned a little blue checkmark.
In the midst of striving, I found my spirit, my soul, the very essence of me, diluted. I became an avatar.
It took online humiliation for me to realize my online project was erasing me. I’d sold my soul for a mirage.
What does a blue check or viral post actually signify? Respect? By whom? Authority? Over what?
By indenturing myself to the algorithm, I discovered I wasn’t actually seeking mastery over others, but over myself.
Thus, I am starting something new today, and I’m not sure what this means for my “platform” or online presence. I don’t even care (insert shrug emoji here).
I bought myself three presents: a Burn After Writing journal, a collection of short stories, and some cross-stitch kits. I plan to use the journal to develop ideas for future writing projects–specifically, poetry and fiction. I plan to read the short stories to re-connect with my humanity and access universal ideals to help me be a better citizen of the world, and I plan to cross-stitch while listening to my growing list of nonfiction titles on Audible (because my hands and body need to move in order for me to effectively listen).
My goal is to create. I wish to produce something tangible and lasting (a book or ten?), and I no longer care in the least about finding a publisher or getting famous (so yes–I plan to self-publish anything I complete). I want to bring some beauty into this world–God knows we need more beauty, more hope, and more calm.
I am not leaving social media, but I certainly hope to consume far less and create far more.