The Backslide

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…

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.

(2) author of Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence

(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.

Published by

a girl named rob

I used to be "skinny black girl." I'm now a slender woman on the other side of 35 with no new moniker who is not quite interested in writing under her given name. Still writing my life, a day (or some months) at a time. Also, still black.

6 thoughts on “The Backslide”

  1. I’m here for the vibes!!!

    Been thinking of dusting off my old blog but then I would fall into the habit of overthinking what I wrote so instead I’m back scrolling the bird narcotic though I’ve mostly resisted the urge to post.

    I do have a nice rustic looking leather bound notebook I scribble in when it gets too noisy in my brain.

    I guess for now that will have to do. Looking forward to your musings..both the couture and the carefree.


    1. “The couture and the carefree…” I like that!

      I’m going to be a little preachy and give you ONE recommendation: Pinterest is waaaay better for the mindless scroll that Twitter. If you’re going to turn your brain off, you may as well look at pretty things instead of reading stupid and wrong opinions. It was my #1 go-to during my IG fast.


  2. I don’t think our types will ever get rid of that feeling.

    I have an account where all I do, literally, is post song lyrics. I might have a “thought” here or there but by and large, I’m only there to post the bars that stir my spirit and I get an INTENSE pleasure of re-reading them at random.

    We are who we are in that regard…

    So, I’ll be bookmarking your newest blog too. Been following you this long. No need to stop now lol.


    1. You know, reading this comment reminded me how often I got in trouble in elementary school for journaling during class (I carried one of those mini steno pads EVERYWHERE). I guess I was who I was ‘fore I got here.


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