Self-care, or donning my own oxygen mask first

I saw this image on facebook the other day and laughed:

I realized, some hours later, it was the first time in a very long time that anything on social media had made me laugh.

That’s a problem.

I wrote a post way back in 2009, when I first started using twitter, titled Creativity, Laughter and the Element of Surprise. It was about how unexpectedly and delightfully fun twitter was and how important the fun of play is to my creativity. In it, I wrote:

“So for now at least, Twitter has become my place to play. I’d forgotten how much I need that, how imperative playfulness is to imagination.”

Twitter stopped being fun or playful a long time ago. It has morphed into a place where information is shared– and that’s a good and helpful thing, as much of that information is about writing and publishing. But increasingly, it consists of information and opinion about world events and politics and civics. My feed is currently a stream of unrelenting rage and despair. For good reason.

Facebook isn’t quite as depressing and people do still post entertaining tidbits, but it has become something I almost dread, never knowing when I’ll read something that simply enrages me. Again, for good reason.

The thing is, feeling this rage is neither helpful nor productive. For me. It doesn’t change anything for the better. I’m already doing all I can, in my own small ways, to improve the world. Getting angrier and feeling more helpless every day doesn’t change that.

In fact, the constant onslaught of rage and despair is, slowly but surely, destroying my imagination and my creativity. Destroying me.

Am I being too sensitive? Probably. But I consider that sensitivity an asset. It’s certainly not something I can turn off and on at will.

I’ve tried cutting back, limiting my time on social media to small bites. It has been less than effective. So I’m stepping back, making a clean break. Taking a hiatus, if you will, for the month of July. Maybe August as well.

I need to focus exclusively on my offline life for a while. And on my writing. Because stories are one small way I can contribute, to provide a brief respite when those who struggle mightily take a much needed break to escape into fiction. Perhaps one of the stories that entertain will be mine. But that won’t happen if I’m too outraged to write, as I have been recently.

I’ll leave you on a positive note, with a few daughter-approved pictures of A Most Adorable Granddaughter.

 

 

 

 

 

Take care of yourselves while I’m away. Be strong and brave and thoughtful. Be kind if you are able, especially to yourself. And laugh, without reservation, every chance you get.

 

11 Comments

Filed under creativity, deep thoughts, health and well-being, social media

11 responses to “Self-care, or donning my own oxygen mask first

  1. [My selfless, noble side] You take care of yourself. If that means concentrating on writing, well, the world needs good stories, especially now. Plus, I want to read your book!

    [The rest of me*] Hmph. What’s the point of leaving a comment if you’re not going to be here to read it? Honestly, some people. You’re just trying to force me* into doing social things like using the telephone and writing postcards. It’d serve you right if I brought a gang of party animals (human and otherwise) and we Occupied this blog with wild parties.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh, occupying blogs with wild parties while the owner is away??? Don’t know where this Evelyn person gets such crazy ideas. *she says while carefully avoiding looking anyone in the eye*

    The grand baby pictures are gorgeous. So alert and happy, and good grief already so big! Get some cuddle time in, because that right there is what’s important.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I, um, well . . . I don’t really think of *my* blog as being something that causes rage or despair. Unless I think too hard about how no one reads it anymore. Or how badly I neglect writing posts on it. :ponders cause and effect: Probably I can handle interactions over here during my hiatus. But I’m definitely keeping an eye on you two. I’ve seen what you’re capable of.

    McB, it’s funny how big she looks in pictures (and she really does!) compared to real life. She’s still just a tiny little thing. I love how expressive her face is at such a young age.

    Evelyn, the world needs your stories too! When’s the next one due out?

    Like

  4. Hi KD, I love the beautiful smiley baby photos. ❤

    Dear kind fellow commenters, we are safe from Twitter here.This isn't Twitter. Or am I am I confused. I often am.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Reine! I love the photos too.

    And just ignore Evelyn and McB’s nonsense. They’re good friends and we go way back and they’re just giving me grief. There have been a couple times when I went on a well-deserved vacation and they (and several others) took over the comment section of my blog and threw a virtual party in my absence. Much mayhem ensued. All in good fun, no worries. 🙂

    Like

  6. Reine

    Oh! Okay! Sorry gang. 🤭 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Robin Berkley

    Beautiful, beautiful baby! Thank you for sharing.
    Twitter, not finding that fun or interesting mostly so avoid it. Well, yeah, I never really got into it in the first place did I? Sigh.

    Facebook, I usually go and check on family and close friends (usually might be once a month if I remember or haven’t heard from people) and ignore the rest.

    I am not very social–media wise is what this says about me I suppose.

    Glad you are taking a break because rage and outrage do wear you down. Besides I am greedy and want your stories to take me away into the world of HEA.

    Like

  8. Thanks, Robin! And it’s been a while since I saw a pic of your adorable grandchild. [hint hint]

    Social media is an odd thing. It brings people together and makes the world a smaller place, which is wonderful. But it definitely has its downside (bringing people together and making the world a smaller place).

    I hope you’re writing too! I miss your remarkable storytelling voice.

    Like

  9. Richard Maguire

    Hi KD.
    Given what social media are doing to you, I have to ask why you don’t delete your accounts. I’ve never joined up. And I think the world, especially where you are, has now gone stark raving mad with all this instant communication. Soon all that noise in cyberspace is going to worm its way inside people’s heads and they’ll explode.

    The initial ideas behind FB and TW were okay. But now look what they’ve become. FB, lying to, and deceiving its users. TW, the daily megaphone for the Monster In Chief. You may say TW users can fire right back at him. But doesn’t that just add to the rage you’re feeling? Because nobody is interested in listening to the other person’s point of view. Rational debate has gone out the window. It is the age of anger and of going out of one’s way to take offense.

    So who needs Anti-Social Media? Tens of millions of people it would seem. They need their daily fix. Soon, if it’s not happening already, special rehab centers for those addicted will be set up.

    On a happier note, Anna is a beautiful baby. And I wish you a happy fourth of July. Take care of yourself.

    Like

  10. Thanks, Richard! She really is adorable, even in person and when she’s crying. 🙂

    As for the rest of it, that’s rather prescriptive, don’t you think? I’d caution anyone against generalizing about the mental state of an entire section of the world, based merely on news reports that rely on page clicks for ad revenue. I know a LOT of people and none of them have gone “stark raving mad.”

    I don’t fault the platforms for doing what they’re designed to do, which is allow people to communicate with each other. People are angry right now, justifiably so. Just because I need a break from it doesn’t mean I want to cut myself off from the entire world. And obviously I still see some value in being able to communicate with friends and fellow writers all over the world.

    Like

  11. Richard Maguire

    Point taken, KD.

    Like

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