Towards the end of December last year I started to recognize that feeling that is so familiar yet so alien every time it descends on me. Suddenly my horizon was one long, bleak line, and every action seemed so tedious, a chore. I was spending my time parenting three kids, constantly worrying about the declining state of this country, writing about traumatic events that I wasn’t completely ready to write about, and banging out emails and letters to my representatives, day after day. It was beginning to become tedious, tiring.
Years ago, before children, I would have taken my dark mind down to my local and washed the spirits aside with copious amounts of whiskey, cigarette in hand, laughing my way through unhealthy coping techniques. I’ve now been sober nearly 5 years, and that type of road, whiskey-paved happiness, is not an option anymore. So I went down the only other road I know best: writing.
I used to hide all of my writing away, but over the years I have become more confident in my own abilities: I AM a writer and a poet. I AM Me. But this still comes with that niggling feeling of “but maybe I’m just kidding myself, and why are people not reading me? I want people to read and comment and tell me what they think”. I know I should have started my career as a writer all those years ago with a pen name, but I didn’t, for reasons that I am currently writing about. But, for the most part, I am confident in what I send out to world nowadays.
So, anyway, back to last December. I sat down with pen and paper and wrote down everything that I was tired of, bored of, everything that was stopping me from accomplishing things in my life. What do I love most of all, what makes me happy? (Apart from the kids and Cesar of course). That hasn’t changed ever: reading, writing, traveling, and walking around taking photos of everything. What was I not doing enough of? Reading and taking photos. Why was I not doing enough of that? Because I was spending too much time reading blogs, newspapers, social media, random websites, and watching TV, and generally letting myself be distracted. So as an experiment I removed Facebook from my phone. For the past 4 months I have added it back a couple of times and deleted it again, and I have come to the conclusion that I just can’t be bothered anymore. Same with Instagram, it’s just not for me anymore... I don’t know, I feel like I have given up the privacy I used to crave, and while the whole data sharing stuff bothers me, it doesn’t surprise me, but it does make me question myself about how much I may have exposed my life and my kids’ lives to all of that. But, at the same time, if I want people to read my blog and book reviews, and buy my books, I need to be present on social media. So what does one do in this case?
I spent all of last week thinking about it. I have lived in many different places and have friends and family members all over the world. I love how easy social media makes it to keep in touch with everyone, how I can share a picture and know that those who are interested will see it. I love chatting with friends in Europe, or NYC, and being able to connect with them immediately. It helps me miss them less and also feel less isolated. However, it also makes me feel like I’m losing something. That privacy I mentioned before, and also an element of surprise. I always remember waiting for letters from my numerous pen pals when I was a kid, a teenager, so excited to hear from them, and see what they had sent me. I miss that a lot. I also missed reading book after book after book, which is something that I have done these past 4 months, and it has made me feel like myself again.
So anyway, this is super longwinded and most likely boring, so to cut to the chase, I finally decided that it was time to separate my online activities from my private life. I still want to share my writing and reading and other things that I appreciate through my FB writer’s page, and also through a new Instagram account that I have created, @fromtheinsidejade, but, for now anyway, I probably won’t be active on my personal pages for a while. I’ve also created a FB group for those interested chatting about writing and reading, please feel free to join... And drop me a line of you want to chat and catch up.
As a side note I keep seeing people talk about followers and numbers because it seems to be something that they may consider to be important. So, if I unfollowed you I’m sorry but it’s because I don’t personally know you and because my original profile is now private, and may never be updated again for all I know. I’m not ready to get rid of it just yet because I created my Instagram profile when it first started in 2011 and there are so many memories on it, and I’m still a complete nostalgic... I can’t add everyone to my new account at once because there are limits. Please, if you are interested in keeping in touch, or reading my blog, you can follow my FB Page, my new Instagram profile, or just sign up to my mailing list (see below). Thank you!! <3