CHASING THE SUN : Chasing the unattainable or chasing a dream; what you want in life.
Happy Monday, friends.
I apologize in advance. I am about to word-vomit here something very raw and personal. Why divulge something raw and personal on a blog on the internet?
I’ve always said, blogging has been an emotional release for me that I don’t normally find in my life. Verbally expressing my emotions always fails me. Writing them, they tend to come together more cohesively. Posting them for anyone to at some point see gives me the illusion of being heard. Also, perhaps someone may relate and need that feeling of not being alone. That’s how I’ve felt when I’ve come across such things.
With that classic (for me) longwinded precursor, let’s dive into the deep.
I’ve just returned from a two-week vacation visiting my best friend. We haven’t seen each other in a while. I haven’t been back to Missouri in years. The timing of this vaca was crucial. Long story short, life had a lot of things happening to me. They weren’t earth-shattering or devastating. They weren’t fun things, either. The problem, I realized wasn’t so much the things individually. It was that all of them were happening at the same time. Literally, one after the other. We’ll just say, my mental health officially cracked.
Now, those who really know me (and there are few), they know about my, what we’ve called, hibernation periods; when I go all hermit-mode. I don’t answer texts, calls–I just disappear for 24-48 hrs. Then, I return and all is business as usual until the next hibernation, mental shutdown comes.
Well, this mental break was I think, officially a Break. Down.
This break came in the middle of my moving process. Five days later, I was on a plane, leaving my life and problems behind for two weeks. There was a shit-pile of stuff waiting for me that needed immediate attention but I officially pushed it all out of my mind.
Being back, I’ve had a few days to recover from vaca mode and think.
Ironically enough, I came across a bookish YouTuber (BookTuber) who posted a very raw video about the pressures of posting on YouTube, the lifestyle expectations of being on YouTube plus opening up about her Depression and Anxiety and the struggles of fighting those erratic emotions that hinder her from doing the things she wishes to do. Boy, did I relate.
I’ve shared sporadically throughout the years my own struggles on the blog. I won’t really be diving into the details of that in this post. Only in the last two years have I had the courage to admit to myself these are issues I’ve struggled with since before I was a teenager. Again, that’s a story for another day.
Social media has become a way of life. Every area of life. We shop online, we befriend online, we live socially online, we run our businesses online, we date online. We do everything ON. LINE.
Now, as an introvert whose anxiety has only progressed throughout the years, this new way of life felt like the perfect scenario. I didn’t have to engage with people in person if I didn’t want to. Shoot, call me, Sandra Bullock from the movie, ‘THE NET’. For you youngins, that movie came out 1995. I loved that movie. Funny enough, so much of that movie we can relate to now even though most of it was not at all a reality in the 90s. As appealing as I remember it seemed to be–just living/working from home, in pjs, and doing everything from your computer–that hermit lifestyle did end up biting Sandra Bullock’s character in the ass at the end.
Getting lost in the pressures of social media.
As an aspiring author and a small business owner (eCommerce), building online presence is a huge marketing necessity for both aspects of these two separate businesses. Being a writer who aspires to publish (be it traditionally or self-publishing), marketing, administration, and finances are equally necessary just as much as your creating. Writing is a business.
In addition to that, working from home, you naturally build your social circles online as well.
Suddenly, you’re finding yourself sitting in front of your computer doing much more than the day’s worth of work. You’re living your life, entirely online.
As with everything in life, we need balance. There are pros and cons to everything. I’m grateful for the opportunity the internet has provided for me to even have a platform for my small business of mugs. I’m grateful that while I go into creative mode and write, there’s a whole community available to befriend and ask for help and support. I’m thankful that the internet gives me instant access to other book lovers who I can gush and fangirl with from all over the world. And, yeah, while I’m home a lot and not out painting the town rainbows, I’m thankful for the plethora of entertainment the internet gives me from the comfort of my cozy bed.
There’s a pressure that comes with building an online presence. It’s self-inflicted as well as provoked by the expectations from audiences, competition, etc. As a writer building–hopefully–a future reader audience for future publication as well as marketing to build sales for an eCommerce, it’s hard not to get sucked into the numbers game.
Sometimes, I wish I could just hide the number of followers on all socials. There’s that obnoxious freak out you might get if the followers counter goes down one day. Some days, or weeks, seeing it stagnant for whatever reason. Getting psyched when it shoots up only to feel a crash of confusion when four days later it dives down minus 20 and you don’t know why.
There’s a reason people actually get paid to be social media managers. It’s a full-time job. There needs to be daily activity, appealing content that pulls people in, inspired communication you create and tend to because the minute you drift a bit, the numbers shoot down in an instant. It’s a fickle, delicate game that you need to be on top of.
TAKING A STEP BACK…(on personal socials)
I have a huge workload ahead of me that I was not anticipating to be doing alone. In addition to that, I’m still trying to hold strong to the things, the dreams I want. The toxic thought to just throw in the towel on it all did come to mind a few times. I hate how weak that sounds but it’s the raw, honest truth.
Then I’d read a book I fall in love with, I’d watch an author’s live video chatting about previous book characters and those to come and something in me comes to life. I want that to be my daily reality. Creating.
Specifically, through writing.
So, I’ve made a decision. I’m choosing to take a step back from my personal social medias; not my CRW business’.
Does that mean you won’t see me posting at all? Most likely not. I’ll probably pop in and like, comment and post occasionally but I think, I need to give myself the permission to not post, be it for days or weeks if I’m not feeling it. Sometimes, we feel the pressure to present some aspect of our daily lives just to keep people around. I get it. It’s the way of our world now. Especially within creative communities.
Unfortunately, I think I’ve allowed all the ways we now live through social media to distract me (negatively and positively) from focusing on specifically, finishing my stories; the one’s half down, the ones still whispering for me to bring to life. It’s not all social media’s fault, of course. There are other things in life that have been relentless in having my time and mental state. There’s also just plain ol’ me to blame.
My stepping back also means, friends I care about and cherish may not hear from me for some time.
I need to wage war against my own mental health which isn’t so hot these days. And I’m going to try everything in my power to self-medicate this state into submission.
Interesting, there was a time I would never have admitted to any of that. I was ashamed to. I was conceived by a strong, independent, and amazingly resourceful, optimistic single mother. I was taught to push through. Bad times come and go.
‘This too shall pass,’ she’s always said.
So, I learned to look strong.
Look…strong. And some days, it’s exhausting.
The hope in this decision?
That I catch up on the pile of work that I need to get together and accomplish for the company.
That I immerse myself back into writing the way I used to. Blinders and all.
Forget about the social media pressures, forget about the business pressures, forget about ALL THE DAMN PRESSURES, and just enjoy writing like I used to. It was always my escape. Back when there was no social media–GASP! I know. There was a time, folks. And it wasn’t a bad way to live either. Back when you couldn’t get distracted for hours surfing the internet with the world at your fingertips. Them AOL chat rooms eventually would get boring. Back when all I could do was have some music playing on my boom box while I sat in front of a boxy desktop computer and just wrote. Create worlds and characters.
I would write and be engrossed in tons of stories I knew no one would ever read. I wrote for me. I need to get back to that. Even though now I carry the hope of sharing it one day in the back of my mind, I need to put it all aside and just chase the sun.
Did you actually make it to the end of this post?
Bra-freaking-vo! And thank you. Thank you for your ‘listening ear’. I needed to get this off my chest and put it out there somehow for those few I know and care about to see and hopefully not feel like I’ve just stopped caring. This demon on my back sometimes makes me a shitty friend and it’s frustrating. Unfortunately, at the moment, I’m not even being good to myself, less able to be good to anyone else.
Here’s to chasing the sun. Here’s to at least trying. All we can do is try. And keep trying, until.