There are three alarms on my phone. If I’m being honest, they run my life. They ring when the sky is still pitch black and get louder and more annoying as the sun comes up. They don’t disturb the kids, but they do warn the cats that it is almost feeding time, and as soon as the last one goes off, they’re at my door, meowing like I might have forgotten them.. They’re unwilling to acknowledge that it’ll be a good hour or so before they’re fed, before I come out of my room.
I barely see the screen when I begin to type, my eyes still blurred with a deep sleep fog. My legs still wobbly as they make their way to my desk. It was nine months ago I moved my desk in my room, rearranging work to fit this new life. I, like many of you, doubted if it would work, how we’d find new ways of working and living….
Our enjoyment of things would be reformed, and sitting out in the sun in a patch of grass would become solace. I worked and wrote through most of it. But none better than the times I put down my phone and got away. None better than the times I kept at it. None better than the times I read a small book, or a chapter of a big book, or watched a movie that thrilled me and reminded me of what it meant to live.
Over the past few months, I have received comments, Instagram direct messages, and personal emails in response to my newsletters about the importance of continuing in this format. In short, a thank you for not moving written content to Instagram only. Like me, many of you want something that isn’t social media. I drink articles like honey tea, one after another, then another, too. And though I understand the world we live in–and understand the role social media plays in that–words, real ones, not captions under photos, have provided me with the vigor to make it through this year.
Forgive me for writing emotionally about all of it. Sometimes I fear that doing so will become tiresome for my readers, or even for myself!. But the truth in this feeling about words was confirmed to me the other day while on a conference call. “Do not spin the story of the year. If we’re not honest, we can’t honor the year…how we have grown, what we have learned, how the pandemic has allowed us to see each other. Consider—consider what can we take from the year and plant with it. What was the experience, the learning and what’s still lingering— this is a way of coping.” — Sonya Rnee Taylor
To spin what this year has been would be a disservice to myself. And to you too. So I won’t. What this year has been is emotional. Words, however simple or complex they’ve appeared on a screen or in a book, have allowed for fullness in that emotionality.
With the influx of media people turned bloggers via substack, or people like me who have kept their blogs and continued to write on them week after week (some, 270 days in), what is that thing that has us running away from social media as we currently know it? I love inspiration. I love conversation. I love sharing. But I loathe the feeling of isolation. And social media seems to amplify that. Long-format words, combats it.
I can’t rid myself of it completely, social media. At the very least, it is central to my income as some brands want quicker and faster. They don’t see what I see in my email and messages every week. But this is where you are, where we are.It seems we aren’t returning to what we knew 2019 to be, but rather, how we found ourselves in 2013, 2014, and 2015, too. The old days of blogging. A slower and supportive place. A space that unlike those years, acknowledges the political and personal growth of the last few years, but rejects the other end of it that keeps us emotionally stagnant and longing for something that doesn’t exist.
What is that? And, I wonder, will it stick?