Hey there, and welcome to my inaugural blog post!
Publishing longer form writing on my own website is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I’m excited to finally get it going. Before I get into today’s topic, I just wanted to give an overview of the types of topics I plan to cover on here.
If that sounds interesting to you, please consider joining my mailing list to hear about it when a new essay goes up. (And if you’re already on my mailing list—THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!)
With that out of the way…
Here in my first ever blog post, I’d like to announce that I’ve decided to divest from social media.
Instagram is not working for me. It doesn’t align with my values. It’s not how I want to understand my relationships with others, as an artist and human being.
And I’m not going to just hop ship to the next platform (TikTok), because I know it’s going to be more of the same. And frankly because I don’t have the time or energy to spend endlessly churning out short-form video content in a desperate attempt to not be forgotten about.
Previously I’ve felt that divesting from social media was impossible, that my only choice was to force myself to stomach it and play the game. Some of you might remember my project @lifeofpi.nky, which was in large part me trying to process this feeling of being a socialist artist trapped by capitalist social media.
But as I’m picking up steam with my shop and preparing to really open the doors to my creative practice for you all, I refuse to keep playing the game. What I have to say is more valuable than that. And all of you reading this are too valuable to me for me to try to reach you via a platform that turns our relationships into marketing metrics, where my reach goes only as far as my willingness to play the cult-of-personality slot machine.
I don’t want to decide what to share with people based off what an algorithm will put in front of the most eyeballs. I don’t want to take and post a bunch of pictures of myself—something that takes a lot of energy for me—just because that’s what garners more engagement than my actual art. I don’t want to spend my time making post after post after post just to have my work serve as fodder in between paid advertisements that ultimately just makes Instagram/Facebook richer.
I don’t want my relationships with friends and community to be dictated by the whims of tech billionaires. It goes against everything I believe in.
So here’s what I’m planning to do instead.
1. Invest in my email list as a more direct way to connect.My plan is to start writing on this blog more, and letting you know via email when something new goes up. Anything I would have previously included in IG captions I’m going to primarily host on my own website instead, and I’m going to write about what I want, when I want to, instead of what I think will please the robot overlords.
2. At some point, start a snail mailing list as an even more direct way to connect.
Even beyond social media, I’m kind of burnt on the internet and trying to connect via screens right now. We’ve got Mark Zuckerberg spouting about how we’re all going to be hot-wired into the “Metaverse” via a computer chip in our brains, which is literally an idea I satirized in @lifeofpi.nky. There are forms of human connection that happen in the real, tangible world around us which cannot be simulated or replicated virtually.
So to that end, I’d like to start sending out monthly snail mail art letters. I want to send you something that arrives to your mailbox every month, that you can touch and hold in your hands and know that someone out there cares, knows you exist, and is betting on you to co-invest in real human relationships alongside others who are receiving that very same letter. My dream is that you will read these letters and feel inspired and empowered in your own life to say yes to what you want and no to what doesn’t align with your values, even when it’s hard or scary to do so.
Later this year, I’m hoping to start this up via Patreon for a sliding scale subscription. I envision it as a reciprocal way to channel community support toward my work as an independent artist, and for me to share what I’m up to, thinking about, and dreaming for our futures.
3. Shift my relationship with social media.
I don’t foresee leaving Instagram entirely any time soon (it would be great if I could, though). This is going to be a slow process, and I do think there’s enough potential to make first contact with people via social media that it’s worth staying on. But I’m going to do my best to forefront that I am an artist, I am not a personal brand. I am primarily on social media as a way for people to dip their toe into my work, in order to decide whether they(/you) want to adventure together elsewhere.
If you’ve made it this far into this essay, I just want to say again—thank you. You reading this already feels like a step in the right direction, and I’m so grateful that you decided to take it with me. If you, like me, feel fed up with social media, I hope you’ll join my mailing list if it feels right to do so.
Oh okay also, I didn’t mention this before, but today is my birthday (lol). I’m 27.
This has always been the age I would tell myself, “I’m not allowed to freak out about the state of my life until I’m 27. Once I get there I’m allowed to have a quarter life crisis if I still have no idea what the fuck I’m doing.”
I’m here now, and I actually think I kind of know what the fuck I’m doing for the first time in a long time. I won’t lie and glamorize the phase I’m in. There are moments when it’s completely grueling, when I’m stressed and overwhelmed beyond my ability to cope, when my chronic pain and depression threaten to overtake my progress, when I remember that the promise of “entrepreneurship” as an escape hatch from working for an hourly wage is mostly an illusion.
But there are other times when I just know that even though this isn’t where I want to end up, I am tangibly moving toward the life I’ve always wanted to have. I think I’ll get there sooner rather than later, I honestly do.
So I’m not having a quarter life crisis today, and I don’t think I will be tomorrow.
Thanks for reading everyone. Sending love, gratitude and hope your way.