Chapter 1: Balance, Pivot
Every bad deed, crossed line, horrid thought, and glorious mistake counts. Every shared fallacy, loosened worry, and freed secret lightens your load–at first. It’s ok to give air to the truth, even if you immediately wish you could swallow it right back up. Life is spent accumulating the heavy, working to lighten it, and constantly trying to keep our heads above the pull of our own judgments. Embrace the errors of others, as you simultaneously make more space to embrace your own.
Chapter 2: Proliferation, Smallness
I recently read an article for online interaction, based on the idea that if you are too prolific, you will lose followers. You can’t post more than 3 times a week, or people will feel overwhelmed and leave you. Your like counts will drop and you will not be relevant. Hmm. Isn’t this just a reiteration of the same small-minded social bullshit we perpetually drown one another in, now applied to our online extensions?
Sure, it’s useful in a business sense. We are fickle organisms. There’s so much to take in. Totally makes sense.
But then again, maybe if you are prolific, and I know I am, we will not be walking life at our own pace. Natural pace and formulaic pace sure are different. Maybe it’s useful to find a formulaic pace that is closer to your natural pace, and fuck that article, and those formulas.
Make what you make, and trust that none of these rules regarding “smallness, so as to better fit,” matter even in the slightest. They, in my opinion, are a recipe for mental illness, and some of us already have enough of that. Readers come, and readers go. Trying to manipulate the psyche of followers, as a method to ensure and/or secure your relevance, is a trap.
Besides, there are too many variations of the reader psyche, and so in real time what you end up manipulating is your own fragile, sweet, hopeful psyche, and maybe it’s better to just cheer it on instead.
Chapter 3: Speaking of Likes…
Likes matter, and also they don’t. Do you know what gets likes? Posts about my husband and our marriage.
Let’s dissect off my family (near impossible, but let’s), and consider me as a singular organism, and consider all the things I enjoy in this life, in no particular order.
Chocolate. Caramel. Good, hot chiles. Citrus, and especially lemons. Basil. Rosemary. Cheese. Eggs. All the vegetables! I’ll spare my vegan friends here, and move on. Sweet Positive Energy tea from Yogi Tea. Dry Desert Lime tea from Numi. Coffee. Travel. Skiing! Backpacking. Rock climbing. Longboarding. Yoga. Stand up paddle boarding. Kayaking. Music. Dancing. Silence. Hugs. Reading. Writing. Listening to people talk. Talking. Laughing. Vodka. Martinis. All the arts. A good bath, soak, or sauna. Flowers. Animals.
I like things that make life feel better, moment to moment. You guys like my husband. I am so fucking lucky.
Chapter 4: The Sum of It
If you have decided to take yourself, and your offerings online, none of these things matter. It cannot be repeated enough, that your online presence is a sum of only your shared parts. They are little cast off bits of your shine or shadow, offerings for others, and they are a gift. Likes, shares and follows, are not the goal, though they are nice, and they do feel good.
Sometimes a person reads a piece I’ve written, and they are sure I am a powerful key to unlocking their malaise. Then, a few weeks later, they unfollow my work. The piece they’d found, it seems, was merely a piece of their answer.
I am not the key. I am not an answer. I am a whole, robust, and wild person. I can’t make myself into an effervescent fountain of answers, because that is false advertising about what humanity actually entails, and that is a disservice.
Like all those little notches and ridges on a key, it takes so much to unlock us from ourselves, and you see there are ups and downs, right? Each delightful piece we come across takes us a bit further. Each piece we offer carries someone along. If you are a writer, or a worker of the stories, don’t waste time fretting about these constraining forces. Write on.