Social media has brought us all together in a way that I think no one anticipated.
As an artist you have to deal with rejection on a regular basis. Not just “you didn’t get the job” which would have helped your career, paid your bills and given your life stability, which most people have to deal with, which is pretty damn important. But take that and add, “Your art, which is a direct link and representation of your soul, didn’t get the job. You put your heart on the line, gave it all you had in your creative self and all represents you as a human of worth. And THAT didn’t get the job.” Plus you have to get that many times a week for years on end. It’s easy to feel empty while pursuing your dreams. It’s the highest highs, when you get do the job and the lowest low of lows when you don’t. It used to be just artists were exposed from the inside out on a daily basis. But now, with Twitter, Facebook and so on, everyone is. Everyone is daily posting pieces of their souls online. Whether it being photos of their babies, to the masterpiece you cooked for dinner, to the car you fixed up, to your evening out. And with each post we are subject to the masses for approval or disapproval. And then you start having a life experience and while it’s happening, you are composing the witty way you will post it online for public approval. And then you no longer having the experience for yourself but simply waiting to post it so everyone can experience for you and tell you how much fun you had and how cool your life is. Did I like it? Did I have fun? #blessed
As an artist, which is now ALL of us since we are publicly seeking totally subjective public approval and exposure of our private selves, you are not creating art for you but rather what the masses would like, can leave you empty. You are not living/creating for you. For what inspires you. For what excites you, which to me is truth in art. But rather, what will garner the most likes and comments. Which has nothing to do with you at all. Your sense of self starts to disappear and you become part of the internet hive mentality. People argue it’s healthier to be ok with your faults. And I ask, is being ok with them, not pretending to be perfect all the time, the same as posting them online for all to see? Or is it being able to share with people you are close with, trust and continue to work on improving them. Because when you post for all, again you are counting on, leaning on, the assurance from outside rather than yourself.
To add to the temptation, in the best places of the internet, these places do exist because most of the people in the world are good people, people love it when you show your vulnerability because they love being able to comfort you. I’m not being sarcastic here. People love to feel needed. And when someone shows sadness/anxiety, they love being able to come to your rescue. Which makes it even easier and more tempting to share. Sometimes, it’s lovely to be reminded that there are incredible people out there. Just be aware of using that as a crutch.
Was just talking about this with a dear friend and it got me thinking because I am sure others go through the same thing. I realized, that every time something cool happened to me, I posted it. And pretty soon that cool thing happening didn’t seem as cool if I didn’t a certain number of likes. So I did an experiment with myself. I volunteered and didn’t post it. I had a bad day and didn’t post it. I hung out with a celeb and didn’t post it. I worked on a TV show and didn’t post about it. I went to a really cool art exhibit and didn’t post about it. And suddenly, I had a life. And it was mine. And all the feelings of happiness and joy I felt were mine and not dispersed by posting it and waiting for feedback. (Added bonus, when I saw friends, I got to tell them in person about my experiences and got even more joy from their reactions in person.)
I think there is a difference between spreading joy and spreading YOUR joy. Spread love and joy and sunshine but keep YOUR joy for yourself. Don’t give it away because then you don’t have it for yourself. In case of a depressed state, please apply your joy oxygen to yourself and then apply joy oxygen mask the to depressed individual next to you. Go make someone else’s day in some way, and then DO NOT POST IT on Facebook. Keep that wonderful feeling and let it grow and shed light on all the dark corners, on it’s own. Start being your own light, without needing to get outside validation of “likes” and comments from others. If someone did something that made you feel good, tell them in person, let them see the light and gratitude in your eyes then, if you want, post it online to spread cheer to others. I think we forget how important is it to feel a range of emotions and how important it is for us to FEEL them, just us, just for yourself. To work them out yourselves. Because that is how we learn from them and grow from them. The best feeling, is being in control of your own self well-being.
YOU HAVE THE POWER! YOU DO!