Navigating Authenticity on the Internet
I'm writing this blog to avoid Instagram - and because I haven't written here in a while. Lately, I've felt quite overwhelmed by the idea of sharing myself with the world, whether it's getting short story rejections or interacting with others online.
As a result, I haven't posted very much, and I've slowed down on creative submissions. I still have the urge to share, especially when I get good news about a piece or take a photo I like or notice something funny as I'm walking to class, but I feel pretty over the idea of advertising my life to others (even though it can be a necessary evil at times, like when I'm trying to acquire new readers)!
At the same time, I've been disillusioned with how little socializing actually takes place on social media. Most of the content I see there isn't even produced by my friends or family, and even when it is, a like, comment, or message hardly seems like enough to start a conversation. I suppose I just want more conversations. (I also want to stop watching two hours of dumb videos for two minutes of dopamine but "reels" are another story).
Because social media exists, however, it feels harder and harder to start the conversations I crave. It feels awkward to text someone, "hey my short story just got accepted somewhere," when I could just post about it online. I can't even remember the last time I sent a photo of myself to someone just because I felt lovely in it.
It just feels so embarrassing to ask for attention and admiration, even though that's exactly what we all want - and exchanging affection in this way is genuinely healthy!
The only ways I've found to communicate effectively and authentically are in-person hangouts, phone calls, and long letters and emails.
Consider this my experiment to see if blogs work, too. ;)
What I'd Like to Share
If I felt like I could be honest and authentic - and like I was actually having a conversation with my loved ones - on social media, here's what I would share about the last few months of my life:
They have been very, very quiet. At times, peaceful. At other times, stifling.
I've been inside a lot because it's been freezing, but celebrating the holidays here has been beautiful in unexpected ways. I wrote a short observation about Christmas that I know is good, but I have no idea what to do with it.
I hosted a Thanksgiving meal, then a Christmas meal, and it made me feel warm inside and like I had a purpose. I was overwhelmed by the number of bodies in my apartment, but the same apartment felt too empty when they left. I felt extremely homesick for California at the same time I preferred celebrating Christmas in the cold.
I worried about my grandparents, who seem to be aging more rapidly than ever. I felt guilty about not spending Christmas with them. I worried about money because being a graduate student in literature does not pay a lot of bills.
I took a little break from writing. I missed writing, but I didn't miss everything that surrounds it, least of all being alone. I felt like a proper couch potato - and like I hadn't earned my potato time. I decided to enjoy it anyway.
I went to the Heidelberg Christmas Markets about 100 times and consumed an unsettling number of sausages, mulled wines, Christmas cookies, and other snacks. I also went to Christmas Markets in Colmar and Strasbourg.
I felt extremely depressed on New Year's Day. A robin visited my bird feeder. I celebrated my 29th birthday at a Chinese buffet and tried on my wedding dress. It fit me perfectly. I still feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea of being a bride.
These days, I miss the sun. I feel a little bit betrayed that it's still cold and wet outside even though the cozy holiday times are over. Sam got me a SAD lamp for my birthday.
I am trying to take things one day at a time and ease into a busy spring. Some days are better than others. This week feels short, but last week felt like it lasted forever.
I'm still trying to figure out how to be a writer. I'm taking another pass at my novel and I have a deadline (May 1st) because I'm planning to submit it to a competition. Otherwise, I'm following Ray Bradbury's advice to write one story each week. Some of them suck, and that's okay. All I have to do is keep moving forward.
I almost feel more disappointed when something turns out well because that means I have to take the next, more serious step of figuring out what to do with it - how to get it to an audience. I worry this part of writing will never not feel like crap to me.
In 2024, I have received two rejections and one acceptance (so far). I am excited to announce that my poem, "Suture" will appear in Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine in March. It feels like most of what I'm looking forward to begins in March.
In the meantime, I am working hard at finishing my first semester of grad school and preparing for all the sunshine, deadlines, and wonderful things I'm hoping for in the spring.
As always, dear reader, I'm curious about you. But these days I'm refraining from watching you on social media, so why not send me a message at loganrosereadsandwrites at gmail dot com or however you'd best like to reach you? I'd love to hear from you and learn about your life because I think we're all out here doing our best.
Wishing you a warm rest of the winter and a hopeful, joy-filled spring!