(I realize this is the second entry with “anyway” in its title. Oh, well. I shall write it anyway. 🙂
I’ve written about my love/hate relationship with social media before, but I haven’t felt its negativity as severely as I have in the past week. How people are choosing to present themselves in light of catastrophes such as school shootings is only part of the demise for me. (But it plays a part, nonetheless. Chances are, I understood your position 50 posts ago on the topic, and if I agree with you, I agreed with you from the start, and most of the logic put out there to convince me otherwise is rather weak, so more does not mean you will wear me down into agreeing with you.)
It turned out to be so much more, though. I attempted to hop on to Facebook fewer times a day, and it would always start out okay but it would end with me checking it obsessively. At first, I thought it was some fear of missing out (FOMO), but it’s not that so much. I realized how much of it is more of an identity crisis than anything.
You see, back when I was working at a church job full time, I felt terribly out of place. There were friends and acquaintances I liked, and we’d chat about things we could chat about (like music or gardening), but otherwise I felt like there wasn’t a soul there who *got* me. And at the beginning of my life being sucked into the internet’s social media portals, I thought I had found the others who were my people. They were mostly friends I made online through dance forums. A few were people interested and secondarily involved in some of the same historical music areas as I was. It was cool to be all edgy and snarky about everything. So life sucked in person, but it was still okay, because I had Online Life and Online Me to make it seem like I’m more well-rounded and more involved.
As time has gone on, I learned, back in 2011, that many of those weren’t real friendships at all, by 2013, I tried to assimilate with artists and dancers and musicians in real life, and felt like I still didn’t fit. And, through the last three or four years or so, I have been experiencing burnout in music and understanding where I’m really at with dance.
And all of this distills down into feeling not just like a square peg, but like an amorphous blob that has worked hard to jam herself into places to make it work, when in reality, nothing ever did. And there doesn’t seem to be a place for amorphous blobs.
So, though my habitual incessant checking of social media kept escalating with the hope that something good would come, that something would change, that something would help, the result has always been coming away with nothing.
Then I thought about leaving social media overall. Not the announcing I’m leaving as the typical grownup version of running away from home, no, I’ve done that enough. But simply doing what so many people seem to do effortlessly. Check in once a day, perhaps twice, and call it good. I thought about how some of that would change things I’d do for the sake of proving to others that I’m interesting enough or even a bit surprising. For instance, I’ve been considering getting my daith pierced. I love the way it looks on pretty much anyone who has had it done, and occasionally, those who have had it done claimed it has lessened the frequency of migraines and headaches. Though I get very few of those in contrast to eight years ago or so, I would love it if this would help. The flip side of this is that it would cost money I could definitely use somewhere else, and because of the stretchiness of my skin, it doesn’t tend to heal great. In fact, when I got my lobes stretched, I made a mental note to stick with tattoos, because it’s less painful and the healing process is much easier. And I enjoy the end result more. And like the reasoning behind the piercing, same thing with getting a different (shorter, edgier) haircut. I’d show people that I’m up for such a badass look, but, then, am I really up for going back to a salon every six to eight weeks to keep it up? Nope. And am I willing to put time into styling it every day? Absolutely not.
I guess I’m coming to terms with my boring, non-edgy self. I don’t need to do anything for anyone to think I’m cool or interesting enough. I’m also seeing how hard I’ve hung on to those concepts that should have died back in 2008 (or 2011, or definitely 2013). And I’m now (at this very moment) concluding that is the same kind of stuck thought pattern that has kept me stuck on my dissertation as well. That is my only connection to seeming like anything close to an intellectual. When I let go of that, it’s just me with a failed music career, a job that doesn’t pay much that isn’t the best fit, and lots of ideas for dance productions that won’t ever be because they are big and spectacular and costly.
So that leaves me with me. The meandering human. The one who loves her family lots, enjoys taking her time to cook for them and others, gardens to grow beautiful food, listens to theorbo music to calm herself down, runs and dances to feel like she’s part of the earthly realm instead of being entirely caught up in her head. I’m also feeling like healing the music burnout might be possible IF I continue this kind of awareness in that area. I’m already not playing things because everyone else loves them, nor am I feigning crazy love for pieces and programs so many cherish. I willingly support performances of friends and colleagues, even if it’s not my kind of thing, but I feel like that is different than forcing myself to put on the oh-I-love-this-so-much mask that fell off around 2014 or 2015.
It feels like such a low point in life. But it also feels like such freedom is possible. Perhaps, from here, life will start to look up.