In addition to creating constant anxiety that my life is not cool enough/ that I am, at any given moment, missing out on one of millions of themed yoga events or street festivals, Facebook has upped the ante by regularly alerting me that I am failing at writing and should “engage my followers” by making a post. Every time it happens (which feels far too often… chill out, FB), I have a passing wave of guilt.
But really, I get it. I like that Facebook is trying to help me manifest my career as a blogger/ social media personality. So famous! So much money from ads and sponsors! So “I never thought this would happen when I started out but we just reached 20K followers and I appreciate you guysssss SO MUCH”!!!
Facebook is the nagging mom, insisting I actively work to become my greatest and most successful self. I say that as if I wrote/ drew more regularly, I would become a raging success. That feels inflated, but I’m going with it
The truth is though, I can’t. I can’t write when I don’t feel it. And usually, honestly, I feel like writing most often when I’m sad or stressed. And I just haven’t.
I mean, that’s also a total lie. I feel 100% stressed. Melby’s very good and consistent sleep routine has gone out the window, which makes me bananas. We had several small house issues that I blew dramatically out of proportion. My body has had myriad small problems of its own recently. And then there’s the things to always be stressed about: money, relationships, politics, you know. I am one million miles away from not operating as a constantly stressed out person.
But it’s baseline. It’s low key stuff, routine stuff. It’s the status quo being-a-person, raising-a-kid, generally-having-issues issues.
I just haven’t felt any of the expansive, digging stress/ worry/ sadness that usually propels me to write.
And then this morning, I had a wave of anxiety about not having anxiety. Like, not having the kind of anxiety that makes me feel like my whole life and self are purposeless and floundering. I felt worried about not being worried. Is that insane?
I think the answer is yes.
I had this moment where I wondered what on earth I’ve been DOING. What do I do all day? Melby and I usually snuggle, eat, work out, maybe run an errand or two, nap, eat, play, snuggle, walk, eat, play, take a bath, and then the day is over. I keep the house pretty clean. I make a ton of food from scratch. I usually toss in some yoga while Melby’s awake if she’s content that day. Sometimes I read a little. When Melby is asleep, I watch tv. I like to pretend I will ever do something else, like maybe I will acquire some cool hobby, but I like watching tv. I bury myself under our fuzzy blankets and enjoy being still.
And that’s that.
I really haven’t minded a single bit living such a quiet, easy, simple life lately. But this morning Facebook sent me that red alert that I needed to ENGAGE MY FOLLOWERS. One small potatoes blog or the absence thereof is really not the point, but it did incite me to ask myself: Am I growing? Am I learning? Am I creating and cultivating and propelling forward? Really I think I wondered, am I interesting?
The truth is, I don’t know. I don’t know if I do laundry and make tuna cakes until I die if I will someday wake up and realize that I’m totally unfulfilled. I don’t know if, alternately, all the things we do that seem interesting are really just things on a list. That whether you’re picking up play food your 1 year old leaves around and sweeping the porch or writing successful blogs and creating small batch clothing from dead stock of vintage fabric, it’s how you do it that makes you interesting. As my girl Adriene says again and again, how you move matters.
I think, if anything, that’s what I keep coming back to. It’s not what I’m doing, it’s how I’m doing it. It’s not what I’m eating, it’s how I’m eating it. It’s not what my life looks like, it’s how I’m living it. It’s the how. The expression. The feeling. The intention.
That’s why we get so sucked into comparison by social media. All we see is the what. We imbue it with our perception of the how. We assume the beautiful what equals some fulfilled and significant how.
But only the person doing it really knows about the how.
I am unsure of my how.
I think, honestly, I’ve moved, or am moving, into a better how with a lingering obsession about the what. And a residual crappy language for describing all of it.
If I’ve become too e.e. cummings, too lost in language that’s untethered, I apologize. Sort of.
This is a confession, a little bit, and an assertion of self, really just for me:
Today, per the insistence of Facebook, I looked at my life and felt like it seems pretty uninteresting— small and insignificant— but I also looked inside that small life and felt like I am maybe doing the best I’ve done in a good long while, maybe ever, because, more often than never, I remind myself to live my life intentionally, to not just get dragged along by what I think should be happening or how it should look.
And I guess, when it matters, I’ll create what I need to create and write what I need to write and do whatever needs to be done. Not because I felt like I had to, but because it’s what I wanted.
And that feels like something.
It’s not much to write on a resumé, but I feel pretty good about it.
And here’s your damn post, Facebook. (Thanks for the push.)