Day 4 of The Social Cleanse....

I hadn't intended to write anything on this for at least a week. I truly believed I wouldn't see any difference for quite some time. Perhaps I've just been proactively filling my time whereas before I was defaulting to picking up my phone or laptop and scrolling through one of these platforms. I mean I even used Pinterest to get outfit inspiration regularly.


It's day 4, I've just arrived home from a gorgeous morning bike ride in the fresh spring sunshine. A stunning 26 degrees along one of my newest passions - bike paths. I've never appreciated them till now. Anyway, half way along my bike ride I popped into a coffee shop, using my cute as hell, pink Frank Green reusable coffee cup (it's worth noting that I'm already remembering things more, normally I would forget the cup and think, fuck it. Now, I would either sit in or return home to get the cup so not to create waste. I AM CHANGED) and I read my book in the park. Now, I've been reading this book for at least two months. It's The Bell Jar. It's a relatively short book that I've been putting off reading since I was in my early 20s. I can't believe how often I would turn to social media rather than read even though I really love reading. Now, I'm not suggesting this is a trait many of us deal with but, I'm starting to think that some of us have a genuine intolerance to social platform use and participation. It's like when I eat dairy, I will definitely shit myself in around 30/45 minutes. It's painful and horrific. Thank goodness for Lacteeze. Thank you so very much whoever invented Lacteeze so that I can comfortably (kind of, I'm still always a little nervous) binge eat cheese. So, when I use social media, I replace meaningful activities, like reading and drawing for example, for scrolling through and endless sea of total shit presented by others. I feel particularly disgusted in myself retrospectively for how many times I've scrolled through Britney Spears' account. I've also suggested, if not convinced myself, that I was searching for inspiration from others on many occasions. What a total load of shit. I don't even know why, it's like a really shit drug. I know it sort of is with the tiny releases of dopamine per fucking like but I just cannot help but open up the application, scroll through, click on links, usually ending up with some sort of shopping basket on an online store on the pay screen hitting "GO" on Afterpay and then suddenly I come to, like what the fuck am I doing? I didn't need that.


It's very important to note that on day two I realised one of my images is going to be for sale over at Cream Town, in Melbourne. They are currently very focused on presenting themselves via Instagram which makes sense as Victoria is still in a lockdown (I'll be forever grateful for my instinct to leave Melbourne when I did, early April 2020. Perth has been a dream. Thank you Mark McGowan for keeping borders closed. Sorry to anyone who has been adversely affected by that closure.) and on submitting my images on Sunday I realised that Instagram and the cross marketing of all involved is part of their "rules". So, I reactivated the account for when October hits and they can also see the account is there. I'll post the image and some bullshit about Cream Town (who I'm actually extremely grateful for and excited to have my work lingering around for the first time in a while, despite the use of the word bullshit). BUT, the app has been deleted and I shall not open it in browser or anywhere until that point. Then I will get rid of it after. A necessary evil? Maybe it's just more bullshit, I'm not sure but I'm sure I will conclude at some point on that.


Despite this brief reengagement with instagram, I have been free of these platforms for 4 days. My most interesting observation so far has to be that on multiple occasions I have found myself considering the need to photograph something on my phone so that others can see that I'm doing something. These others are anyone really, mainly family and friends/acquaintances so they can all see how busy and interesting I am. What the fuck. I hate it. It makes absolutely no sense. My showing off about how healthy I am right now is of no use to anyone. In fact, it could even make others feel bad. Especially those struggling in Melbourne. Why the fuck would they want to see that I went for a gorgeous bike ride, had a coffee in a lovely spot followed by a superfood smoothie that I made at home? Jesus Christ I had no idea I was this bad. I must set a goal to be satisfied by my own achievements with out the recognition and praise (likes) of others.


A positive I've already noticed, however, is I can feel the cogs turning in my brain once again. thinking for itself for the first time in many years. It remembers how to do it but it's finding it's feet. Like the time I broke my knee in a skiing accident and it took around a year to walk properly again, my brain is learning how to think for itself once again. SLOWLY realising we are without the glowing screen of "influential" garbage. I'm excited.


Last night I spent a few hours drawing. Instead of clambering back into where I left off a few years ago (which I would and have done before, becoming so frustrated with myself for not being great immediately) I was tactical about it and decided to start from the beginning with the study of basic drawing techniques, using a book I downloaded. I was truly enjoyable. I felt so satisfied having just created some basic lines on a page. I've started to realise that my poor brain has been sat in a warm bath of shit, the shit of many, and it has become deaf and dumb and blind. I can bring it back to good health but it will take some time, some care, some nourishment. I will endeavour as best I can to be patient.


I'll write again soon, I really enjoy this too. I remember adoring university for the research and writing elements more than creating the work a lot of the time. I think it's the solitary collaboration of personal skills. It feels huge when you compete something. I'll finally get round to truly considering a PhD, something I've wanted to do for years but keep putting it off. Look at me go, I'm using my fucking brain for the first time in too long.

#quitsocialmedia #iquitsocialmedia #photography #photographerjourney #socialmediaphotography #sketching #learntodraw #frankgreen #covid19 #coronavirus #lockdown

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JESS MILLER