big, deep belly breaths.

Source: http://peacelearningcenter.org/the-mindful-path-deep-abdominal-breathing/
Source: peacelearningcenter.org

Well, I’m back at this place, obviously. I went back to my old blog after a few posts here because of the reason behind why I left it, but also because it just felt more familiar. But then I just spent all my time there woe-is-me-ing it, so I decided that, ultimately, what I needed most is to be fresh. I was completely derailed from where I’d been, say, back at this time last year…I sat and re-read a lot of blog posts I wrote at my old blog from around this time last year, thought about where I’d been then vs where I am now vs where I’d gone and what I’d done in the in-between time, and realized I’d gone way, waaaaaaay off course. I am (currently, as I type this) way, way, waaaaaay off course. I think I can now kind of pinpoint when that happened and why, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I took a big, deep belly breath, re-evaluated, and then took about 20 more big, deep belly breaths…slow, focused exhales. So I came back here, and I bought a domain. (Buying stuff makes everything permanent, I find.)

I also took a big break from social media. Actually (specifically) I took a big break from Twitter…I found out I can’t really take a break from Facebook, because I have so many family and friends to keep up with there. (okay, fine. I can take a break from Facebook; but I didn’t really want to, because it was Christmas.)

But…can I tell you what I’ve concluded about social media, even though at the moment this conclusion I’ve drawn isn’t really driving me off of it, though logically it should? And can I warn you that I’m in a really, really jaded and cynical mood right now so the following things I’m about to type may come out reading really angry and bitchy, but honestly I’m actually not; I think I’m just really life- and world-weary right now as well as slightly disappointed in other people myself included? If it’s going to bother you, my people-/life-/world-weary bitchiness, and/or you’re going to get sensitive and think I’m insinuating something about YOU personally, when really what I’m writing about is ME (all me) personally, then you probably should just stop reading right now and go do something more productive like take a walk or read a classic piece of literature or listen to some soulful music; something that’ll feed your body, mind, and/or soul. Hanging out on blogs and social media will never ever do that for your body/mind/soul, I promise.

Here’s the thing I think that I now think about social media: it’s all such bullshit. All of it. Total, absolute, complete, utter bullshit. It gives our egos a false sense of approval – I mean, really, you guys. Nobody actually gives two flying shits about what we ate for dinner the other night, do they?

I think that I feel like this, right now, because on Christmas Eve and on Christmas? I posted a lot of lovely and happy-looking pictures to Instagram and Facebook, and I wrote about how blessed I was and all the fun Miss M and I were having even though it had been a sad, hard holiday…I mean, look at all her loot! She got THREE CHRISTMASES this year, isn’t that awesome for her?! And look at how we are sitting here together taking this holiday selfie in front of the tree and we’re so happy in spite of it all. For M, this was true. Superficially, on the surface, this was true. This is what Christmas Eve and Christmas were for me and M in 2015 – traditions, happy, presents, family, love, and it was okay. Really, it was fine and lovely and good. Lots of blessings, for sure. I am always very aware of all of my blessings, because knowing exactly where and how I am blessed keeps me, literally, from drowning in my own tears some days.

And yet. It was also just complete, utter bullshit. All of it. Were you to dig deeper beyond what you were looking at on my Facebook or Instagram feeds – the happy smiles, the fun – not really quite the whole picture. Tip of the iceberg. Lots more going on below the surface than you’d ever guess from what I was posting. But then this is what online life just is now, thanks to social media – we are to be happy and positive, or sardonically witty, or intellectually deep. That’s what other people consuming our social media posts really come for, isn’t it? I mean, if I sit here and type out for you how I wept on my sofa for about an hour on Christmas Eve after my girl was finally asleep and I’d made it all lovely and magical for her to wake up to, if I typed out how I just whispered my Please Help mantra/prayer over and over as tears dripped onto my couch pillows, or if I clue you in to how many times I had to take myself into a bathroom either at my apartment or my mom’s so I could cry alone quietly on Christmas Day because I didn’t want to ruin the day for M or anyone else, but I couldn’t stop thinking about C and being worried about how he was really doing by himself even though he said he was fine, and also because I kept ruminating on how it was the first time in literally 15 years he and I have not been together on that day…well, then I’ll just be woe-is-me-ing it here, too, and that’s why I just let go of the other place. But also: you don’t really want to read all of that depressing shit, do you? Of course not. That’s not what we come to social media and blogs for anyway. We come to be entertained. We come to be amused.

I think Nirvana sang about our love of this, back in 1991 before social media was even a Thing, when they released Smells Like Teen Spirit – you know: I feel stupid and contagious, here we are now, entertain us. Feels so timely. Kurt was so ahead of his time. Tragic.

….hey, you know where else I hung out a lot on my SM break? More than on Facebook, I think: Instagram. Because Instagram is how I photographically chronicle my child’s awesomeness, my weirdness, the passing of holidays and seasons, along with everything else I can get a picture or video snippet of. Plus, I don’t think people pay attention to me there so it doesn’t technically count – in my brain – as social media. It’s more like some weird, public photo album. (Confession: sometimes I get angsty-worried about the number of photos I put there of Miss M, and wonder if she’ll be resentful about it when she’s older, and when that happens I take it private…later, I think, Nah. And then I’m back to public. This is how I do everything, online, by the way: back and forth…baaaack and forth.)

Really, Instagram feels more like your Aunt Maude and Uncle Herb coming back from a 2 week camping trip in the Ozarks and guilt-shaming everyone into coming over for a 6 hour dinner so they can make everyone watch their slide show of 10,000 pictures they took of every single twig and squirrel they saw over the 14 days they were outside in the swamps and woods getting bitten by mosquitoes the size of minivans, along with several awkward, close up photos of their poison ivy rashes in the most intimately tender of places. That’s Instagram.

At any rate. I needed a psychological self-shake-up. In addition to that, right before Christmas, I had an hour-long session with my counselor, who helped me collect myself a bit better emotionally. And that got me convinced I needed a fresh start somewhere else for writing. While with her, I also spent a good deal of our hour together detailing a recent scary thing that happened to me on the Internet, and afterwards I not only felt far more confident in myself (I AM a nice, friendly, empathetic person, no matter what anyone else thinks or says about me, because saying NO and continuing to say NO isn’t being mean and cold; it’s called having boundaries) (no, seriously, you guys. No joke: I was struggling with this, because I was sent some emails and messages that tugged on my heartstrings and became supremely worried I was, actually, being a hard-ass bitch about things…it was good to have an outsider’s perspective about it, share some screenshots and emails with another person, and be told: no, Amy, you are actually not a bad person for continuing to say NO, it is okay to protect yourself). In summary, that and really thinking hard about what I ultimately want and where I ultimately want to end up helped me feel more empowered, and feeling empowered is something every woman needs nowadays. I think THIS (very long but worth the read) ARTICLE is also a great example of why. I like it when women help other women take back their power from men (and other women) who keep trying to dismantle it. I think it’s nice.

So I’m here now. I needed to let go of the other blog for good, and start over and fresh for the new year. I need to let go of a lot of things and start over fresh for the new year, quite frankly. Because changes aren’t bad, though they can be scary. And endings aren’t bad, though they can be sad. But mostly because I made a big change in 2015, and I’m about to make a few smaller ones in 2016. A new place to write about those and that process will be healthy, I think. And the cool thing about healthy is that it may be hard, but it’s never scary or sad.