I am being interviewed, and the voice on the phone asks me why I’m not very social on social. It takes me a second to decode his words or even his intent. Social on social? What?
Is it not part of your strategy? he asks. You know, do you not see it as an essential part of your professional plan?
And well, let me just start there, because folks, there’s no professional or career plan here.
I know that’s unpopular to admit. I know it’s not wise to say that here I am just hitting publish when the mood strikes. But I’d be lying if I told you otherwise.
Want to hear something top-notch selfish?
I blog for myself. This blog is not a sales funnel, a secret mission, or a part of my thirty-year plan. I just write because I’ve always done it every day, and it changes me for the better.
I write often, in a small room with big windows, a scratchy wool blanket and a heater at my feet. It is quiet here. There is coffee. And that’s it.
I write whatever is on my mind, whatever I want to – or rather, whatever I need to. I write about bruised knees and bruised egos, and I write what I want to remember most.
But again, relevance is less important to me than reverence. That’s why I avoid writing about other people unless it is an interview or Q and A.
Either way, it’s a gift to publish these things, truly. It’s a gift to send it all out into the ether and have it returned to me a hundredfold in the form of sweet comments, the kind and encouraging words.
Oh, why don’t I write more often? I offer many excuses: my hands are full. I don’t want the distraction. Twitter can be so loud, Instagram so carbon. Pinterest, a firehose. I tried quitting Facebook 4 years ago and found myself no longer keeping up with the daily whereabouts of my eye doctor.
I have, in the past, lived through seasons of robust social media usage and I have found those seasons to be the ones in which I am living the least. I have watched people leave the dinner table to get a wide shot of the table so that they can post to their networks, to later return and find themselves having missed the passing of the sauce, the salt, an entire conversation.
I will not settle for such.
A few years ago, at a Magg & Bean restaurant, I asked a friend how his culture defines success. He said “By the health of our relationships, of course,” as if it were the obvious answer as if it were everyone’s answer.
I know that it’s not everyone’s answer, but I’ve now adopted it as my answer too, and I wish it was the one I had given the interviewer that day.
Why are you not social on social? I should have said, ‘The health of my relationships.’ Of course.
I know what he meant now, the interviewer. I’m not social on social, no. You will likely not find me producing an Instagram story in which I’m eating my favourite meal, or walk you through my closet, or offering a tour of my hometown.
I used to think this was because I was private, which I am.
Or because these things were sacred, which they are.
But I think perhaps it’s those things, and also another: We cannot find each other here, on the socials.
We cannot find each other in those filters, the self-deprecation, the clickbait headlines.
We are settling for a fraction of one dimension when we have three available to us, in ourselves and the next-door neighbour and the grocer down the street. If I cannot bring you a dish of soup when your dog is dying, how social can we be?
So I suppose I am writing all of this to say how much I appreciate this quiet room, and how much I treasure the white space available to type, to offer something deeper than a hashtag. I am writing this to say how much I appreciate you as a person.
You, who have never asked me to be a ‘good blogger.’ You, who have never demanded an editorial calendar, who have never begged to see the contents of my closet, my junk drawer, my garage, my garden, my dog. You, who consider me as a person, not an influencer portioning my life in the name of content.
You, who are ever-patient with my lack of bullet-point lists, product round-ups, or click-worthy headlines. You, who read these small words despite my lack of brevity, and certainly without the want for ramblings.
You, who have never once made this feel like work.
And so, here, I suppose the state of this blog is the same as it has always been: both mine and yours. I promise to write when I can, to publish what I can, to attempt to learn from both of them.
Thank you for joining me.