Social media scares the shit out of me — but still, I keep trying.
I adore people. Though admittedly mostly from a distance. Selfish as I am, I do like a lot of time to myself as well. Finding the balance between getting the human contact I crave from my deepest core, and getting the quiet time I need to access my Little Inner Answer Voice (which also arises from deepest core) is a tricky thing, and one I’m no master at.
Though I’ve never been great with numbers, I can say with 100% surety that without people interacting here, this blog would not still be in existence. I can also say that 50% of the credit for this blog’s existence is owed to those of you who’ve interacted with it in the form of likes and comments.
The writing would certainly have existed, with or without interaction. But it would not likely be online, and it would certainly have been different. Quite possibly *very* different. More like the journalling I’d been doing for years, which, alongside other flickering topics, *contemplated* alcoholism, whether or not I “had” it; *contemplated* sobriety, whether or not I wanted it.
But blogging about sobriety (or “awareness” as I sometimes prefer to call it), and getting support from blogging about sobriety, is what seems to be working for me so well this time.
It was easier for me to give up smoking; for some reason I didn’t need to blog about that. Perhaps that’s because society is divided on smoking. It’s seen as “cool” in certain in-clubs (which it took me a long time to want to give up — but I’ve learned that most of those “in-clubs” are linked to many other negative or unproductive behaviours — and yes, learning that was thanks to journalling, finding that time to access LIAV, as I called her/it) but thanks to its stench and its obvious link to deadly diseases, it’s also taboo. I am fortunate in that most people in my current life don’t smoke.
But drinking wine… well that was another thing altogether. For a period of time on one of my earlier blogs my tagline was Rumi’s quote:
“Give me more wine or leave me alone.”
When I first found that quote, a year or two ago, I remember being delighted. I loved Rumi’s poetry. Everything about it resonated with me. If I wanted to gain access to “heart shivers” all I had to do was read a little Rumi and let his words dissolve into my molecules for awhile. And when I found the wine quote, I felt justified in my passionate love for wine and its seeming opening to the god-portals of divine connection.
I feel it bears repeating that I, in my own way at least, was a controlled drinker. I was “only” ever drinking three or four bottles per week at most, and half of those socially. But if I’d followed my urges, it would have been every night, and “all night long” (cue Lionel Richie).
“Party. Karamu. Fiesta. Foreva.”
08:10 kids woke up and knocking on door. Going for a walk with them.
09:32 did a bunch of good stuff. Including manage to wrangle my gargantuan eldest kid out of bed without getting kicked by one of his gargantuan legs. 2 km walk with all 4 boys. Exercise. And “raw foods” breakfast for all of us. (Basically a fancy way of saying “unsalted nuts and seeds and cut up fruit in small bowls.”) I don’t often like cooking but I do like the mind-body-spirit benefits of healthy foods.
No but seriously I used to pass by winos on benches and I never ever judged them. Rather, I actually kind of wanted to *be* them.
So yeah Rumi’s quote was a delight to find. It made me feel as one with the other feeling humans on the planet. Which is what Rumi’s poetry is all about. And I figured, if Rumi drank wine, then it’s okay, right? All of us who are sensitive, poetic-at-heart, philosophic, wanting to be “one” with the universe, we *all* need a little wine every now and then, just to bond deeply with fellow humans. Otherwise we’d rather be alone. Just like Rumi.
But for some reason, although I felt I was bonding deeply with fellow humans *while* drinking wine, I just felt so bad afterwards. I still don’t know why this is. No matter how much reading I do on the subject, I can’t get it through my head. Some other folks I know don’t seem to have this problem. They drink, they have fun, and, it appears, have no regrets.
But not me.
I just now scrolled through my old Instagram feed to find something I’d archived ——
Omg. Just got sidetracked and accidentally discovered Tailwind. So THIS is how the pros out there are doing it? This might change my feelings around social media forever. Posting from desktop is something I love doing and the fact that Instragram does not allow it (obviously for data collection and deliberate mobile-addiction-for-consumerism reasons, no matter what they say) makes me periodically want to give up on Instagram permanently. But I’d miss my faraway friends.
10:50 Anyway. I’m writing in between mothering. Yesterday was a lot of adulting and #doinghardthings, while today is a lovely day off since all the kids are finally out of school.
Let’s focus, Self.
That archived post was one I’d made while drinking wine, that night at fellow-crazy-lady’s place. I felt so ashamed of having “driven” on social media while “under the influence” that I took it down the next day without even watching it first. I felt THAT much shame about my drinking, and mistrust of my own abilities and sensibilities.
And now I finally watched it, and it is delightful and cute and really not a big deal. It’s just a vignette of my friends being themselves. It’s showing them through my rosé-coloured glasses.
So why the next-day shame? I don’t know.
Most of my very-few-to-begin-with real-life friends don’t get why. Which quite honestly means they don’t get *me.* And the fact that they no longer seem to seek me out as often since I’ve stopped drinking feels as though they don’t *accept* me, for whatever strange person I am.
But perhaps that, quite honestly, is because *I* don’t get me. And because I don’t accept *myself.”
I still don’t know why this is. I’ve read a lot of self-help material. I understand the theories. I know the potential yet unavoidable damage of both praise and criticism in childhood, and eldest child syndrome, and being-a-woman syndrome, and people-pleasing syndrome and all that good/bad stuff. But I don’t *GET* it. Maybe *I’m* the biggest crazy lady in the ‘hood.
But… I’m getting there. Perhaps even in this moment as I type.
So… what am I getting at. Two things:
1) Social media keeps me connected, which kind of saves my life
2) Social media makes me feel like a social awk, which kind of slays my life.
I suck so bad at social media. Including writers’-and-bloggers’ social media (i.e. comments and replying to comments. Sorry in advance, and for the past). I feel I never get it right. I’m too warm, too cool, too interested, too remote… Never. Get. It. Right.
I also know that’s not exactly true at all times. Just the way I feel in the face of self-inflicted social-media overdose.
The truth is that I *crave* likes and popularity, even as I fear them and don’t even know how to deal with them.
I made a recent Instagram post of my actual self in the mirror, on my personal IG account. You know one of those selfish midlife selfies… I actually was “me” doing it. My caption was not cool, but I felt all, “you no think so, you da fool.” It was a good moment in terms of inner peace. It was the moment I was waiting for my fellow-crazy-lady friend to show up. As usual she’d depassed the agreed-upon time by more than an hour. (Story for another time.) But I felt so myself, so accepting of myself and so proud of myself for being who I was in that moment, that I did not (too much) care about the response to my selfie and its caption.
Then some (just a few!) of my favourite people in the world left sweet comments on the photo.
AND I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO.
The comments were simple. Kind. Complimentary. Not Even Complicated.
And I seriously did not know what to say or do. What I wanted to say was “Will you marry me?” or “Heart is Gushing with Happiness Right Now” or “Fucking love you so much, thank you [big red heart; cry face]” but I didn’t dare. Because in that moment, I was scared.
Scared of rejection, of being misunderstood (as in “WTF is she on, she cares WAY too much, run for the hills”)… of being ignored.
So I didn’t respond. Thereby essentially rejecting, and ignoring them, myself. Unintentionally of course.
They may not have noticed or cared. I usually wouldn’t nowadays, if the situation was reversed. Though in the beginning, when I was never publishing anything of my own, it was terrifying even to leave a comment on someone else’s stuff. But now I rampantly give out likes or love, mostly without noticing if it’s getting noticed. It’s truly the only way I know to survive and thrive in social media.
But if I post something, and people say something nice… I have such a hard time finding the balance between how that makes me feel (wonderful and grateful to the point of bursting) and knowing how to express how that makes me feel (without bursting with love all over the person who’s saying something nice).
And I still don’t know exactly why that is. Or how to deal with that.
I’ve noticed that I feel nearly as bad after trying too hard to be human through social media, as I did after trying to become more human through drinking wine.
I get “social media hangover.”
By the way, my mobile has become my baby bottle AND my imaginary paper-bagged wine-jug. I keep sipping on it with my eyes throughout the day. And the distraction and reaction-seeking it brings is giving me cavities and cancer. I can feel it in my bones.
I need to manage this somehow, but I don’t know how.
Working on it. Getting there.
Oh right, one more thing, about Rumi and wine… wine, I found out later, while writing another post on this blog, sometimes symbolizes Love, in Sufi poetry. So Rumi may actually have said, “give me more Love, or leave me alone.” That’s what I believe he meant, at least.
And that’s what I meant too, even back then, whether I knew it or not.
Give me more Love, or leave me alone.
We all need to be able to both give AND receive Love.
I’m still learning how. Still clueless.
Thanks for bearing with me, while I learn.
I’m going to try time-boxing my time on social media (including WordPress). I’ve tried that before and it helped me get a lot done offline, helped me be more present with my kids, as well as helped me get a lot done inside my soul.
No more baby-bottling nor brown-bagging the mobile phone.
More meditating under trees and being mindful of who or what’s in front of me.
At least I hope.
vision and faith.