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Social Media was the 3rd party in our lives

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

I had an epiphany over the weekend.

I realise I have been in a trance. My online social media life was taking over everything. I was getting the constant positive dopamine hits multiple times a day. I was hooked. It was worse than crack cocaine. Which I have never been addicted to but that's what they say right. It was. I didn't and couldn't let go.

On Sat night, I had friends over and was a feeling slightly anxious after a few drinks and just retreated into my room for a breather. And found myself instantly seeking for my phone. I was seeking the comfort of my instagram home screen. Seeing how much likes I had gotten from my last post. Reading if there were any new comments. And if they were positive lovely comments, I would get a nice buzz and kick from it.

The pretty art I made was fueling my popularity and growth online. All of which I thought was a good thing. Till now. I saw behind the false facade of this ridiculous online world I had built myself into. I realise how I was pushing away my family, my kids, my friends so I can concentrate and live more inside my stupid online world. It was a scary and dark thought that one day, very close, if I keep at this, I will lose my real people in my life, and instead be all alone. Grasping for these people who are not here in flesh and blood and only known as their handles on their own social media account.

This was a big big epiphany.

And it's shaken me to the core.

Because ever since my insta followers started to grow steadily beyond 1k, I was hooked. Drip fed this daily dose of social media positivity. And when I started Youtube, this escalated even more. People could hear my voice, told me they resonated with me, learnt from me and was inspired by me. It fed my ego and I didn't want it to stop. I begun neglecting my own relationships. I didn't want to look into the cracks of my own marriage. Because I had this wonderful painkiller that was inserted into my veins - my phone, my followers, the comments, the love, the adoration. Holy shit.

And the scary thing was that up till now, I thought that this was the best thing that ever happened to me! You know we all seek that sense of recognition, that acknowledgement of how wonderful we are. I am finally "happy"! I thought. I was doing what I love. I woke up everyday with a passion to push my business ahead. To learn new things from people who have taken this path. It all seemed super positive and wonderful. No one said it was bad in anyway. Build your online community. They say. Increase engagement and you will see the rewards. They say. But oh shit. How it hooks you. Hooks you so bad, you can't step away.

I feel almost so in envy of people who have not stumbled upon this insta-fame. Because they are living their one life. In the here and now. And even if that life is messy and difficult, the work you must do to unravel it, is important work. I was in that throes of figuring out life for ages. And yes although it was tough, it was real.

Here's a evaluation I made:

Ways that Social media/insta is bad for me:

1. Addictive nature has taken me away from my family & friends in real life.

2. Sets a bad example to my kids in terms of how to manage their time on devices. Kids — video games.

3. I have a super short attention span now, and can’t sit and read a whole book, or even sit down and watch an entire movie with my kids without checking the damn phone. Hell thats BAD.

4. I check it first in the morning & last thing at night.

5. When I close my eyes somethings, I see my IG homescreen. And the conversations inside my head are the ones Im having on Insta DMs.

6. I am constantly seek that approval, that like, that comment that tells me what a great painting that it, what a great artist I am. And on youtube, what a great teacher I am. I’m hooked.

7. I don't seek the approval, and connection with my real life people anymore because that basket is filled. It's filled by people who aren’t in my physical realm and I know actually very little about.

Ways that social media / instagram has been good for me:

1. It’s made me super consistent in my art practice. There are days, that I may not feel like painting, but will do so because I need to post something today. And that fake accountability is actually been how I can improve and progress this quickly.

2. I fuels my passion for SHARING and COMMUNICATIng and Expressing. Yes from a young age, this is me. I am a natural performer & expresser of things inside. I have been writing in diaries since I was 10, blogging online since I was 21. And naturally, I wanna write and share and express myself in todays world of self-publishing social media. Its fantastic. I super love it.

3. It’s helped me make some money with my art! I sold my art through etsy for a while, and without me telling my instagram people about it, no one would know about it. It’s been a good marketing tool. On Youtube, I am monetised and earn a couple of dollars a day now with my videos. It’s helped me launch my art career for sure.

4. It’s helped me get SOOOOOO much inspiration with all these amazing artists all over the world! Without seeing all these amazing art, I could never produce my own this way.

5. The connection with people on the SAME JOURNEY has been incredible! I love my real friends and family in my real life, but we aren’t going through the same thing, and we are not obsessed with art and flowers the same way.

6. And of course, the validation.

So what are my new boundaries I have set now:

1. I have had a really important talk with my kids over the weekend said, we are ALL not going to touch our phones during the week days. So when they come back from school till they go to bed. I do not open my instagram or youtube app.

2. I have started to read books again. Bought a few good ones, and have gone to the library to borrow a couple of good ones.

3. I will not attempt to grow or nurture my community. Sorry folks. I love it, but it just got a bit too much when you all are in my heads at night when I sleep! I will be interacting and engaging less in the comments. And although they say its no going to be good for the algorhthm, well, too bad because this is how I am going to do it. I will set my own rules and if this means I lose followers or have a much slower growth, then so be it. Yes I will post and ghost more!

4. I am going to TRY to not post every single minute detail of my behind the scenes on stories. I know they say we should. BUT the conversations that start there, is a lot. And I feel compelled to answer everyone and have these multiple conversations. It’s just a lot. Or maybe I can post and ghost here too. I dont know.

Another I learnt this week is what my Human Design Is. And I discovered I am a 6/2 Generator. Role Model/Hermit. Which makes so much sense. I just love doing my own shit. And I do it naturally, my own way. And I live my life, in my own most authentic way. And if you like it, you can follow me. If you don’t you can bugger off. I can’t pretend to be everyone’s friend and be close to everybody. I think it’s time I stop pretending that I have the energy to. Because that ain’t possible.

Share with me here if you think my problems are just ridiculous and out of touch, and most people wont ever know what its like to have 37K followers on insta and almost 10K on youtube and I should be grateful and all that.

Or am I full of BS. Or if you maybe know what I mean.

I want to be as real as possible here on my socials. I feel like this whole process is me trying to get there somehow.

I do have many more exciting things coming up in my art life. That I will share in another blog post soon.

Take care and ciao.

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1 Comment

Michele McFarland
Michele McFarland
Sep 04, 2023

Great post Crystal. Social media can be so addictive that we forget about our real lives. I'm trying to cut back on politics on SM cos it's just too stressful. Discovering the joys of watercolour via the generous artists who post yt tutorials has been a game changer. And you are now one of those lovely people I've found. So thank you. Looking forward to reading your other blog posts and viewing the rest your yt videos. Cheers!

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