It started with one “Here’s what I’ve been up to for the last 40 days” post after Lent. I swore I wouldn’t go back to my old “hours spent on Instagram” ways — I didn’t even like Instagram. And those 40 days of blogging, scrolling the random, artsy photos of strangers in my VSCO feed, connecting with friends via text, and saving my clever quips for my journal… They’d brought out the best in me. A me who made stuff she liked, consumed content she enjoyed, and didn’t need her friends to applaud her pursuits to feel good about them.
Then I had a couple of socially active weekends. The photos captured at the Friday night opening of the New Black Vanguard exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art were too fly to keep to myself. And the red, calf-length, draped-shouldered Express dress that I wore to my college roommate’s 40th birthday party exhibited my burgeoning understanding of clothing lines too well not to boast about it. Not to mention the view of the Lake Erie coast on a perfect Sunday afternoon following brunch at a ritzy seafood restaurant needed to be seen by all because I hadn’t seen it in over two years. And of course, as I published blogs worth sharing, I had to promote them, and then…
Friday night, I sat on my couch and had to discuss the new Chris Pine movie on Amazon Prime(1), but I’d already been posting on my feed all week, so maybe, just this once, I could post a story and…
I was back on the junk. In a bad way.
By Saturday morning, it was time for a conversation with myself. What was happening here? What was I craving? Connection? An outlet for expression? Something to do as I sat in my apartment after doing and spending the most — holy shit, gas is HOW MUCH? — last weekend? Then I remembered last week’s episode of Offline where Dr. Anna Lembke(2) described the smart phone as a “hypodermic needle” feeding us unsatisfactory hits of dopamine that keep us hooked. In just a month’s time, I’d retrained my brain to positively respond to likes, views, and comments; when, during Lent, attention on my blog or photos were secondary to the thrill of creating.
I’m a compulsive talker. A lonely and resistant rearranger of things. It’s what kept me on Twitter for 10+ years. Additionally, I’m a creative. Forgive the inherent douchebaggery of the term, but it’s an accurate description of what sets me on fire. I like making shit; seeing an idea come to life in my hands via words, photo, or clothing choice. Instagram is the most accessible mirror for my self-expression, but it’s also the most damaging. Like your favorite mixtape god-turned-mainstream rapper of the mid-aughts(3), I’m at my best when I’m doing it for the love — not the applause.
*stage whispers* I started another blog.
Where I can scratch the “I just need to get this out” itch without manically refreshing my phone all day for head pats and belly rubs. A space for photos, quotes, songs I’m listening to, thoughts on a movie I’m watching, or the quippy bite-sized missives that had all the little birdies on Jay Bird street loving to hear the robin go “tweet, tweet, tweet.” Think of it as the little moments happening between drafts over here.(4)
Like a Tumblr. But on WordPress.
(1) All the Old Knives includes Chris Pine’s naked ass in full thrust during a love scene with Thandie Newton. And some intriguing Shakespearean/spy stuff on the side.
(3) Wale, Cole. Pick a rapper, any rapper.
(4) I’m committed to 2-3 posts per week over here. I make no such commitments on the other space. Maybe I’ll post five times a day. Maybe I’ll post once a week. I’m doing it for the viiiiibes.