I don’t think I’ve struggled this hard to write in a long time. I mean, sure, I’ve had a ton of writer’s block; gone years even without putting pen to paper, but this… this feels different.
It’s not quite the same thing: to not want to write, and to not be able to write. And I suppose a simple person might say here that writing anything is being able to write, but if you know then know that that’s sort of bullshit… you know?
It’s been different now that I’ve graduated university. Writing on my blog used to be pretty excruciating, to be honest. I love my talent and I think it’s God-given, but when my fingers and brain were constantly being whored out to academia, any sort of writing felt like a chore.
I did love being able to control what I wrote, though. I love being the master of my own artistry, the Beyonce-Oprah hybrid of my own kingdom. And God, I love the attention. Feedback for artists is like sugarwater for bees. It’s not honey, but it sure fucking tastes like it.
I’ll rework that analogy:
It’s like… Almost what you want, you know.
It truly, almost feels like exactly what you want. As an artist, getting positive feedback feels like it. Those first few moments, scrolling through comments, or listening to a friend. Feeling the connection between your brainchild and another being. It almost feels exactly like what we are all searching for…
But then it’s not, is it.
How many artists do you know that have stopped creating after one successful project? We all have the same beast to feed. I see it as I scroll through Instagram. The rat race that we’ve entered at cybertronic speeds.
What’s in your bio? What part of yourself do you have up for sale? Which windows of your home did you wipe clean so that we can peek inside? What’s your purpose?
What are you doing?
What are you doing?
What are you doing?
It trips me out a lot of the time. The energy on that application is extremely aggressive and loud. It’s a complete overload of images, sounds and moving words that for the most part, are quite superfluous. My mind gets so junky, that it enters a loop.
Scroll, click, scroll, click, scroll click.
I’m not even reading anything anymore. A funny meme here or there seems to make it worth it, but in the back of my mind I’ve been screaming for hours. It feels like liberation when I can manage to delete the app. I always take an audible sigh.
Remember back in the MSN days, when you would log in, and literally none of your friends were online? Like every single username greyed-out?
That’s how it feels, ironically, to be off of social media.
It’s shocking and not shocking, that the internet is the primary hub for all of my extended relationships. It’s a one-stop-shop to check in on everyone, share a laugh, have a moment.
And texting is a thing obviously… but it’s not quite the same is it?
It’s another layer of the simulation; even more orphic and insubstantial. But somehow still ubiquitous, in that those apart of it, have no idea that there even is an “it” to be apart of. Those so plugged in think that this is apart of real life. And to the credit of the media oligarchy, it’s almost headed there. Our businesses, relationships, artistry and sometimes personality itself, have all merged with our social media persona and has created an inescapable vortex. A false democracy where to “opt out” is to sacrifice, and to unconsciously participate is to sell your perfectly packaged soul.
I guess I never really made the connection that clearly exists between my feeling unable to write, and my poor relationship with social media.
See, social media platforms were created with bitches like me in mind. Those whose voices were not yet developed or respected, or who didn’t have one. Those who had to carve their own spaces, and decree their own personalities in a way that allowed us to share and present in an environment that we control.
I got my start on Twitter. It’s easily my favorite and most used social media platform. I’ve had a million handles. “@_JacktheRipper”, “@xxJezebel”, “@UnderAgedSexBomb”… You see a theme, here.
Twitter helped me reach into myself, and pull out the best and worst parts for display. I loved curating the conflicting and confusing aspects of my personality; a perfect collage that is as messy as it is honest and fun.
The best part, of course, is the connection. That tiny little sentence that would not leave me alone for the past few weeks, has managed to put a laugh in someone's belly. I don’t think there’s much else I love more than that feeling.
So it becomes a conundrum of sorts; the paradox that is conscious social media. How to plug in without being submerged.
There was this anecdote one of my professors spent the term teaching us about. You’ve probably heard it - about the fish in the water. It goes:
There are two fish swimming in the ocean. One says to the other “Hey, the water is pretty nice today”, to which the other one responds “What the hell is water?”.
And I think that encapsulates the hegemony of it all. I want to be like that first fish, who by nature is in the water, but is aware and present enough to notice the quality and above all - remember the nature of the water.