Yesterday was a rough day. I’m struggled with the idea of putting these words down, mostly because even though this is a personal blog, I get a lot of traffic from other sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Why I chose to list a personal blog on an employment site is beyond me. After all, so much about getting a J-O-B is telling an employer what they want to hear.
In my case what I want an employer to SEE is that I am a writer. I don’t pull punches. My work is honest. This is my voice. That is what a writer should be. Open up the veins and bleed onto the page, like Hemingway used to say. Easy as that. But these days, people only want to hear what they want. Things that will make them feel secure in their decisions, ways that will allow them to sleep better at night.
I’m sleeping for shit.
If you are a prospective client, you’ll notice that sentence was in the active voice. Your SEO checker on your website would be pleased. But I would also hope you know too that SEO bots don’t know everything. They know absolutely nothing about the human condition.
Yesterday, all my problems were right in my face
Yesterday was hard because I’m dealing with the confluence of many problems. Getting my writing off the ground, dealing with a week without my son at home, grieving the loss of what felt like a really good relationship, and of course a layoff. I have been officially unemployed for over a week now. It isn’t much different from the preceding four weeks where a giant workstation occupied my kitchen table and I would log in a few times a day to fight fires. Only now I can eat my meals at the table without a computer in my face.
If you are one of my friends who is reading this, you might have noticed I am off FaceBook. I pulled the plug last night. One of the reasons I kept with it as long as I did was to promote my blog and podcast posts. FakeBook is social media at its worst. I have railed about this plenty of times, but I will sum up what it wrong with it in a nice bulleted list:
- It’s bullshit: People put a false image of what their lives are and that is what we are supposed to believe.
- Algorithms don’t give a fuck about you: Out of those 300+ “Friends” on your list, why is it you only see posts from about 20 of them? The rest of the content you are scrolling through for literally hours every day is put there to take money out of your pocket and put it into someone else’s. It’s mostly ads or videos that get paid for the number of clicks. Your information is scoured for data everyday and that is all you will see in return. It’s the echo-chamber effect. Why do you think that the dogmas of the political parties have gotten so much worse? Or why any dissention against the coronavirus pandemic are dealt with in such polarized ways? Look up “Garbage in/Garbage out.”
- It’s lonely: Seeing the happy lives of others, even if it is fake, doesn’t make you feel any better about yourself. The serotonin drip from instant gratification of every like, heart, care, etc. etc. is there to keep you maintaining. The isolation you find yourself in every time you logon is there to promote scarcity. If you have been in an unhealthy relationship, you’ll know that withholding affection is actually a good way to get someone to try to cling tighter to you. Dole out a little approval and they will keep trying. The situation works exactly the same with lab rats and training circus animals. Only in that case, they respond better to food.
The risks and the gains
By dropping off FakeBook, I risk losing a lot of readers. But, I also get several hours of my day back. I can put that to better uses, such as writing, and actually socializing when this lockdown is in the past. As it stands, I only had a handful of readers come through from FakeBook anyway. Most of the time they would scroll right past my blog links or just “like” them. Writers actually like to be read. It’s frustrating to be a writer these days. I guess I will find out who genuinely follows my blog, and who just likes to scroll in the upcoming weeks.
At this shitstorm of depression, uncertainty, and isolation, I’ve had a hell of a time being motivated to do much of anything. Some mornings I have to will myself to get out of bed, brush my teeth, get showered, and anything else that used to just be a part of my daily routine. Gone are the evening phonecalls with my girlfriend, which were wonderful at helping my mind wind down, which have now been replaced with a sense of mistrust and scepticism for anyone saying that they are “all in.” Gone are the good morning texts. Gone are the regular paychecks that ensure I won’t starve to death–even if the work was at a minimum and hardly fulfilling.
My coping mechanisms have been absent as well. I used to work out several times a week, and I have to say that 40 minutes on an eliptical is as good as a therapy session for burning that stress out of your mind. Trips to the store to buy healthy foods whenever I wanted to are now a hassle. It’s fat and flour, stuff out of a box, and to-go orders for the last two months. Garbage in. Garbage out. You can’t be mentally healthy with junk food fueling your body. I have lost weight though, mostly because I have been living off coffee and not eating meals a lot of the time.
Wiggle your big toe…
Routine is important because it gives us structure. Humans need structure as much as affection, and new experiences. It has been an uphill battle to brush my teeth, eat, and exercise, much less write, build websites, or record podcasts. It helps to set goals, no matter how small or nearby. I will get up. I will brush my teeth. I will shower. I will do the dishes. I will return that phone call. I will get coffee. I will take the next breath. I will put one foot in front of the other. And so on…
I’m tired of distracting myself with empty things. Because when things are empty, you are filling them with what little you have left in your tank. Right now, I have things that need to be done. I think it’s pretty telling when you talk to your doctor and your therapist about getting off social media and both of them say “Good!” I got less flack from my doctor about cigars than I did FaceBook. Though I did get flack.
Anyway, I have a lot of work to do. If you are interested in my progress, bookmark my site, because I won’t be posting links on FaceBook anymore unless it somehow does it automatically to a closed page or account.