This Digital World...
I wrote this post the day before Thanksgiving, and am now in a settled enough spot to post it. We moved out of the RV, we are in a vacation rental for a month and then moving into a beach house for at least 6 months, and then we'll go from there. There is a lot on my mind these days, but I'm doing some therapy work and having a hard time giving to my creative pursuits while I untangle my mind. I'll write more soon about what is revealed asap...
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I rejoined Facebook. I have been channeling Beyonce.
Our digital detox ended at the beginning of the month, and I was supposed to discard the things that did not serve me. Social media mostly falls into this category. So why did I rejoin? I told myself I wanted a Facebook page again to join local homeschooling groups, use Facebook marketplace and just stay up to date on my family. All noble ideas…
What I saw as a result of not getting on social media for a month is that I read a bunch of books and became more creative. I gardened like a mofo, I wrote consistently, I exercised regularly, I meditated first thing in the morning, I was more present with the kiddos, it was generally a huge success.
During my digital detox I read a book called The Unsettlers by Mark Sundeen and I really liked it, but what stuck with me the most was the culmination of the first story. Ethan, the founder of the Possibility Alliance, a group dedicated to sustainability, self-sufficiency, and exempting themselves from the clutches of the mainstream, had a confrontation by his friends and family. This is a man who bought an old Amish farm, no electricity, no cars, growing food, cultivating skills, no cell phone, creating community. He invited the appraisal from others. He wondered why his endeavor to save the world and spread his ideas had not taken off, he felt he was missing something. He had a following of friends who would come for a few months at a time, but they never stayed for long. His friends said his dedication and perfectionism were inspiring but difficult to stand up next to. They felt guilt and shame that they sometimes drove cars or used the internet or wanted to (both contributing to the destruction of resources namely petroleum, and electricity powered by coal or some other unsustainable energy source). They struggled with the pain of giving up some of the comforts of the modern world which we are all conditioned to use and they felt alienated from the world at times. The loneliness and separateness and idealism felt too heavy and they gave in to their desires, often for convenience but also for connection. Ethan broke down crying. He wanted to save the world. His friend asked him, “what if the world can’t be saved? (paraphrased)” and he said something to the effect of “than I would move to the ocean, honor the earth, and watch her burn.”
And damn, that hit so fucking hard. Sorry to curse, I know it can be offensive. But if there were ever a time for emphasis, that was it. I follow all these vegan activism pages, I cry when I see a field full of cows, I cry when I walk through grocery stores filled with plastic packaging, I cry when I worry about the things the cartoons are teaching my kids…I know there are so many people out there fighting for what is right, and I also see the futility of it all. We have built a society of people who have no real survival skills, who cannot fathom a life without the latest iPhone, makeup, car (car payment), ad infinitum…And all I can think sometimes is “fuck it…” I have been pretty messed up since I read that line in that book and yesterday my husband said he thought I was having an identity crisis (because I wanted to buy a hairdryer).
I might be having an identity crisis. Or an existential one, or maybe a combination of the two. Recently I went to a bachelorette-spa-day. I’m not going to be a Dumbledore and say no to hanging out with my friends because I don’t do harsh chemicals on my feet man. I just don’t have the energy to be a perfectly environmental, chemical-free, alien-hippie-weirdo sometimes. And I’m not going to lie, I needed that girl-time like a plant needs bioavailable carbon. It was vital to my continued existence. I have had my head down in mom/wife/caretaker mode for years now, and just getting an afternoon to laugh and hang out with my friends in celebration of one of their weddings was eye opening as well. I didn’t care that they weren’t perfect humans, I cared that they were my friends. I’m sure there is a little utopian community somewhere where I might not feel like a freak of nature, but I don’t live there. I live in North Florida in a small town, and the people there are pretty awesome. I have been afraid, I have been in pain, and sometimes I just need life to be a little lighter. So I have been trying to honor the earth mother, but under the assumption that we are probably fucked as a species. I got my nails done, I’ve been wearing makeup, I’ve been curling my hair. I have been in the if-you-can’t-beat-em-join-em camp firmly for a few weeks. It could all change tomorrow and I could go back to my uber-environmental standing.
Here’s the other thing that has come up for me around social media, and I am on the fence about it being positive or negative. I’m just letting it be for now. Attention. I have never felt worthy of it. I have never felt that attention was okay. Lately (that I have acknowledged) I have been wanting it, craving it. This goes back to that whole mom/dutiful wife/caregiver role I’ve been honing over the last few years. It has started to itch; it doesn’t fit the way it used to. I have found myself watching Beyonce videos and just feeling all of it. Here is a woman who is not sorry for all the attention. She has something to say, she is cutting the vein and letting it bleed all over us for the sake of her art and her message. Some people may not agree, but that is what I see. I feel inspired, I feel love and I also feel sadness for myself. That I have stayed small to make other people feel okay. I have pushed my dreams aside, not that anyone really asked me to or forced me to, but because that is the society we have before us. I am a mother, and I love my girls with all my heart, but I also think that fulfilling my life’s purpose and following my dreams is one of the best things I can do for them. I don’t know what it all means for my future right now, but I know I’m not sorry. Maybe for the first time. Someone will always have an opinion about how I should live my life, what I should wear, what I should or shouldn’t post online, who I should talk to and whether or not I can change my identity whenever I goddamn-well-please.
I am not going to dismiss the fact that I will be hanging out with my family this week (namely my mom) and that I have some anxiety around it. I know that there are other forces working on my energies right now. I understand that an unhealed person or should I say, a person with unhealed trauma, will at times make decisions from an unhealthy subconscious place. Right now, instead of reacting in anger with my family (husband and mother) , I am just watching the anger rise and tucking it away until I can put on Beyonce and channel it into my run. I will save the drama for my therapist and sponsor, and I will not be giving myself away to people who do not respect me and my boundaries. My husband and I are about to embark on a 12-week therapy session to get back in balance. Owning a stressful business and having our two girls has left us in a place that we are having difficulty climbing out of on our own. He is still my best friend, and we are working toward a shared future. We are not abandoning ship, it just needs some maintenance right now.