Social Media Eats Away at Your Soul

Does someone really exist in today’s world without a social media presence?

When I deleted my facebook a few years ago, it felt like a tiny death. A insignificant, somewhat gleeful death, but a death nonetheless. Connections were severed: all those people I knew–or had known, once–disappeared. And I missed out. On invitations, updates, information. Who knows what else.

Still, I was glad to do it. I have a hard time with social media. It makes me cynical: everyone’s selling something. An image, a lifestyle, whatever. I guess it’s not too much different from “real life,” except its inundating and constant. And my participation in it makes me complicit. On social media, we are all our own ad execs pushing a sanitized version of our lives for public consumption and approval.

I have yet to find a truly authentic way of engaging online. Technology, and therefore social media, is in bed with consumerism and the bottom line is profit. And I am so sick of being sold to.

I don’t mean to be completely negative. Social media absolutely has value–in connection, idea sharing, creative exposure. It’s not all bad. But sometimes, most times, I think it’s not for me.

I just want to exist. Actually exist. Live a life unencumbered by products. A life that’s not predicated on cultivating an image. A life that’s peopled with, well, people instead of their avatars.

Recently, I’ve been asking myself: What if I consumed less? What if I focused less on the image and more on the substance?

2020: Halfway Through

Like many of us, I’ve been thinking about how 2020 turned out much differently than I expected. So much of 2020 has been challenging, disheartening, depressing. There’s so much fear in the world right now, and I spend so much energy trying to keep it at bay. And yet the isolation has also provided time to reflect on my priorities and the space for important truths to emerge. It’s my hope that we can move through 2020 and become better for it.

Every year I do a weekend retreat where I think through my goals and plans for the upcoming year. These were my big goals for 2020, written in the obvliousness of January:

  • Attend a writer’s residency (I applied to 2 and was rejected by both; I’m not even sure many residencies are moving forward right now.)
  • Finish the second draft of my novel (I’ve started this, then abandoned it in disgust, over and over again. I think I will pick this up in the future, but it seems so overwhelming right now! )
  • Write three poems to publish (I’ve written two! Publication pending.)
  • Revise my play script (I have not even looked at it, I doubt I’ll get to it this year)
  • Go on a new hike every month (This is the one thing I’ve pretty much done consistently!)
  • Attend my first yoga retreat (Probably not possible in the current climate anyway)

Some of the plans I made at the beginning of 2020 seem outmoded or impossible. Or maybe even silly and shortsighted in the face of all the suffering happening in the world. But halfway through the year is a great time to take stock and refine these goals. I like my goals to be concrete and tangible, so I know when I’ve accomplished them, but I think I missed the mark in not including a few esoteric goals. These are a little more uncomfortable, because they’re more personal and there’s no fixed endpoint. But I’d like to add:

  • Commit further to anti-racism work, starting with self education and focusing on the local community.
  • Cultivate my own authenticity. This is an ongoing focus of mine, but rarely do I put it into words. For me this means developing radical self acceptance and opening myself up to the world in a way that’s in keeping with my values.

“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”

― Pema Chödrön