Thursday, January 7, 2016

First Week

 
Day One - Because I haven't quite figured out how to do this yet. 

During my first week without Facebook, which was also the first week of a new calendar year, I learned a few things I’d like to share here, because even though I have closed one door of virtual communication with an indeterminate and possibly imaginary audience, doesn’t mean I could resist opening some windows. This space is in fact quite an old window, with its own structural and operating quirks, but its exasperations are at least familiar and mild, whereas Facebook, don’t get me started.

Day Two – It's a stale old practice, but I need more structure and routine in my daily life. I don't however need the truffles I received as a holiday gift. Today my truffles will come with me, but by the end of the day I will have left them all behind.  

The first thing I noticed is that I prefer my morning tea without aggravation, indignation and needlessly ego brutalizing comparisons to other people’s probably entirely misrepresented happiness, intelligence and good looks. Also turns out I can wake up just fine without memes and political rants too, breakfast choices free of both healthy calories and unique, appealing or lasting flavor. Next, I found myself not even an hour into my day ready willing and able to do things on my list of things to do instead of staring at a screen wondering how it got so late when I got up so early. I accomplished morning workouts and did a little real writing in the time it would normally take to scroll through my newsfeed, in which there was really nothing newsworthy, make and answer comments, which provided no answers to anything actually affecting my life, and follow links to articles and videos that were, okay, interesting, but, I am here as living proof after seven days, I can clearly live without. 

Day Three – How I get undressed after a night on the town.  

Enough with the Facebook bashing. I am still an (embattled) optimist, and I tried, I truly tried, to use this most prevalent and potentially useful social media platform for good and not evil, to find others with similar intentions, and create within a cluttered chaos of vacancy and pretense, my own little well-maintained corner of culture, art, candor, and genuine connection.  It can happen if you desire, accept and embrace Facebook Experience Management as your full-time unpaid no benefits job. As they say, good luck with that. If I really miss being briefly amused and enriched amidst lotsa ignored and exasperated, I can always go to a bar on a Saturday night.

Day Four - On the anniversary of her death, my beautiful mother Julia (1929-2015)  

Being a solitary person with a huge self-expression habit, I had misgivings about depriving myself both of the company, albeit virtual, of others, and the comfort, albeit spurious, of being seen and heard that Facebook, for all its flaws, offers to the user. Even an imaginary audience is better than none at all, right? Wrong. Turns out, I actually feel less lonely talking to myself than addressing myself to 170 people and still ending up, most of the time, talking to myself. It also turns out that my proven conclusions about the failure of Facebook to provide any but the most minimal and hardwon meaningful contact with people far outweighed my unfounded fears of failure to thrive without those crumbs of social nourishment. Many of my alleged friends didn’t even know I had disappeared, or what happened to me, even though I spent a few days prior to deactivation posting about its imminence and my reasons. When no one even hears you announce you’re leaving the party, or notices you’re gone, it’s a party you needed to leave, without regret, and without looking back.

Day Five – It's that time of year again when sudden single digit temps inspire my windows to make morning frost art.  

That said, one by one, my real friends found me again later, beyond the virtual party, in real life, because they already had other ways than Facebook to contact me, or made sure to secure them and make use of them before I left. And anything or anyone I have missed because I left, well, I just have to have faith that I can do without.  That includes what little attention and validation I received when taking a good photo, or complaining about my loneliness in brave and eloquent ways, or sharing the perfect poem, painting or song. I will keep doing that in other places online, each with its own dubious and erratic audience reach, and I can even do that in person, risking rejection the old fashioned way. I am not that hard to find, even without a trail of selfies pointing the way. 

Day Six - Shadow of a Doubt

But the confessional shutterbug habit is hard to break. The challenge for me was to find a way to take and share pictures that were connected to who I am and what I am up to, but not connected to the quality or quantity of possible acknowledgment from the outside world, a process not unsimilar to one going on in larger and deeper ways in both my creative and social life, in which simply being and doing have, over the years, become more important than being recognized or rewarded.  Introducing…Instagram.

 
Day Seven – Nothing says I don’t  care who’s looking like a selfie. 

On Instagram, I now post one photo a day, taken with my phone, which, by the way, now released from its draining hours of Facebook activity, spends far less time connected to its recharger, talk about being literally and figuratively unplugged. The photos, the first seven of which are offered here in this post, are representative of each day, and for each day provide both routine and a miniature creative challenge. They need to be good, and they need to be meaningful, and tell a story or convey an emotion, with minimal personal commentary or context and no expectation of response. On Instagram, you don’t go looking for “friends” and find that the more you have the less the word means. You acquire “followers,” and you follow people. It’s about a community of  shared images, not promoting self-image, at least the posters I am following, at least the way I intend to post, as more of a private practice than a public outreach. If I have just left one fool’s paradise to take up residence in another (which has been my relocation situation more times than I care to admit) that remains to be seen. Until then, things are looking up, but don't necessarily care who's looking.

10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Kass! It's taking some getting used to, but so far, it feels like a good thing. Expect to see me here at least twice a month from now on, more if I get lonely, less if I get busy. You, for one, always seem to find me regardless! I do appreciate your company. Wishing you all the best. Hugs, G.

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  2. Hugs.
    I have never joined FB. I spend too much time on line as it is.
    I hope you find your way back to yourself without its distraction.

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    1. Hugs to you too! EC you are wise never to have joined. I have been spending time today deleting some of the dormant accounts I have created over the years on various sites for art sharing and whatever. It's amazing how not too long ago I didn't even own a computer and was mightily resisting its uses and abuses, and now, even late to the party, so much of my life is either documented or maintained through being online, much of the effort utterly unrewarding and ultimately pointless. Ditching FB has reclaimed some precious daily time and energy for me, but the work continues to simplify and focus.

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  3. Hi G - one thing I have really liked about blogs is that one is able to hear the story behind the art of others. I look forward to more great black and white images you capture. Go well. B

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    1. Thanks so much B! I am going to try to stick to a more or less biweekly schedule here. Already have a new post in the works for this weekend - and it will indeed feature some new black and whites and the story behind them. So glad there are still a few people out there who appreciate such things! All the best to you and F.

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  4. Good to see you back - so much richer to converse here than there. I have likened blogging to a good meal with wine; and FB to drive thru take away; and my experience suggests that analogy still holds...have enjoyed your posts, thoughts and images(working backwards, we've been away and I've been, mmm, distracted). Enjoy the new combo, F

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    1. Perfectly expressed! And I can say, after one month of these good meals with wine, and no more drive thru takeaway, I can happily (not surprisingly) report that I am feeling much better in body mind and heart! Thanks for visiting and may we some day soon share more than a virtual glass of red together!

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  5. If it matters, you were mentioned today when a friend wanted to find someone who could knit a beret. I wondered if you decided to kick the facebook addiction.

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    1. Of course it matters! Always nice to be mentioned. Unfortunately beret-making is not within my current skill set. Hope you're well. Yes, I am indeed still facebook-free lo these 10 weeks. My TTC business page continues but sticks to my professional doings, and it's the place to go in FB land if you or your friend want to see what I'm up to or message me about matters creative. And I had to set up a minimalist personal profile just to administer the biz page, which will come up in a search, but it's on lockdown and neither permits nor commits activity, which is working out really, really well for me! Thanks for checking in! As suspected, even without my personal fb postings, I really am not that hard to find.

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