I am easing off social media. At least some forms of it. And wondering how to use the rest of it. I’ve been asking myself when I’ve been happiest – or at least most content – with my writing. I think that also means most confident. Proud. When it was easy with no competitive tug, no desire to one-up, no resentment over snubs up and down the hierarchy. Actually, when I was blissfully unaware of hierarchies.
Most of the time I don’t think about it. But the “community” is like a vortex. And the advice (largely American) is that to create a network you have to “give to the community”. And often that falls onto my dinner-party plate looking a lot like quid-quo-pro and obligation. And I don’t have the energy to play. This isn’t when I am happiest, most confident. What begins as authentic seems to edge into artifice.
I am too awkward a creature for this dance.
I am beginning to think there is contentment in the doing. And that it is only found the doing. Everything else is a kind of high. A spike. A moment. And for me, each of those highs is followed by a fall.
So I am up at 4.15, trying to write myself into a steady hum.
But pride? Is there such a thing as pride discrete from admiration? Such a thing as identity discrete from a market economy definition? People “indulge” in hobbies. Self-indulging. I looked up the definition of indulging and it is to allow oneself to enjoy… So why the negative connotation?
So this is me, stumbling over the obvious again: the remnants of America’s Puritan work ethic. The required justification for “Who do you think you are?”
Not even a tall poppy. This is the voice inside my own head.
In my process journal, I’ve been writing about wasps. There are thousands of species and some are solitary, some live in hives. In most hives, the queen controls who may lay eggs with her pheromones. But in some hives, female workers also lay eggs – unregulated by the queen. However, in these hives, the workers destroy one another’s eggs before they hatch. In service to the Queen.
I’ve been writing about what it is to have a life in service. About learned self-erasure. Asking myself if this isn’t how the concept of martyrdom developed in the first place. To appease our instinct to compete in the hierarchy, while simultaneously demanding self-erasure. All for the greater good.
Win for losing. As they say. But don’t enjoy that either. Humble martyr. Get there by not aiming. Don’t even have that thought in your head. That’s also punishable by death.
I’ve been writing about potter wasps. They live and work alone on the heaths. Shaping vessels from mud. Filling them with life. That’s not to say that it’s pretty. But, I admire the work, the life, the focus, the art of it.