ever have a pile of laundry on the floor that you can’t bring yourself to fold and put away? maybe your high-maintenance pants that need ironing are in there and you can’t be bothered right now, or maybe you’ll do it later, or maybe you saw a bug crawling on one of the shirts a few days ago and the whole pile is dead to you now. we’ve all been there. i’m there right now; my pile of laundry is the briny. i love this space but i had come to a point where i couldn’t cook a meal without telling myself to remember the specific quantities and ingredients or putting pressure on myself to capture perfectly-lit pictures at every stage of cooking. disappointment–beyond that of having prepared a sub-stellar meal, but from losing an opportunity to hit publish one more time and prove to the world i’m still alive, productive, and pursuing deliciousness and development–crept in and consumed. i’ll spare you details grittier or more tiresome than that; it suffices to say that i wasn’t feeling it anymore. not at all.
the self-inflicted pressure extended beyond my own blogging and cooking into my ability to interact openly on social media. i had fostered a stifling, restrictive mode of engagement for myself by segmenting my areas of interest: a username and social platform each for my interests in games, food, design, social issues, music, and et cetera. the ability to target specific audiences associated with such religious tailoring and categorization of content might suit a corporation, but it doesn’t suit me. catering to such a strict sense of audience had warped my perception of who i was even sharing with anymore. i wrote for faceless potential visitors. i captioned and rallied for some imaginary community i didn’t have and felt disappointed when “they” didn’t respond.
i didn’t want to continue boxing myself in, but found that sparsely injecting “unrelated” content into my tailored channels didn’t feel quite right, either (swarms of people will unfollow for landscape photos when they’re expecting food pictures, i’ve learned). and sometimes a small step in another direction just gives us a slightly different vantage of the same crusty, broken old thing. so outward and inward; onward and upward, i clear the air for something decidedly new. with it, a fresh mindset: envisioning “the internet” not as some single-minded being capable of expressing (dis)approval or reciprocation and instead as a wild and endless ocean of individual people and peoples with varying and infinite interests and passions. rather than aim for a spot in a pinterest feed, a deal with prospective sponsors, or approval from some faceless mob threatening boredom, i hope to spend my thoughts and energy and love sharing for my friends, my family (hi mom), kindred ones known and not yet known, and for me.
for fear of coming across as navel-gazey and self-indulgent, i asked bret to read this post before publishing. ever supportive and thoughtful, he suggested that i include a story to accompany my thoughts here, but after a little reflection i realized i didn’t have one (and after a little more reflection, i realized that was okay). stories have neat, clever endings, and my mind’s not in a space for that now. i’m simmering so many thoughts in a pot i’m not ready to turn off. it’s where i am most alive: in the midst of stirring, entropy–a state simultaneously destructive and creative. never finished, always tasting. for the first time in a long time, i want to pass the spoon.
thank you for being in the kitchen with me.
friends, sharers, fellow humans; i’d love to hear your thoughts, too. how do you balance social circles, interests, expression, and yourself? and how has that changed throughout life and through changes in social media?