Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why Astronauts and Social Media Don't Go Together

I'm always torn between taking pictures and posting them for the sake of documenting our life, and making beautiful select photographs. I would ideally like the two to merge. I love the lighting in the last photograph. And I wish each photo I posted could be equally as beautiful. But I know that when it comes to any art form, I need to be constantly doing it. I also need to pay attention to light more. And be confident in my own style. It was an unique experience over the last year or so, I actually developed a style to my photos solely taken on my phone and edited either on instagram or another app that I had on my phone. I enjoyed a lot of the pictures I took, but then again sometimes it felt cheap and easy.

Once again I've decided to get off Facebook. I was off of it for about six months and really only missed the interaction between family members and a few friends. But after getting back on it mostly just annoyed me. One in five posts were probably something I wanted to see, the others were political views, complaining, and advertisements. But then I decided to give up all social media for awhile. Well, I am still blogging and reading a few blogs of people I care about, but those seem more like letters. Either way I had mixed feelings about trying to not take as many pictures with my phone. It kept me always shooting and thinking in photos. But like I said, it wasn't too hard. But more so, the reason I decided to back off again was that I think a lot of it creates a false sense of community for me. Being a stay at home mom, some days its just me and Blanche. No one else. Many days, its me and the neighborhood moms, which I appreciate. But most of the people that I follow or that like my own photos, I don't see or even talk to very often at all.

The thinking about false community all started when Andrew and I watched this twenty minute video about astronauts who had all left the earth, and viewed it from space. It wasn't a long clip but it showed that each person was changed, and that really it was such a hard experience to fully describe. The footage was beautiful and showed things like storms on earth from outer space. It talked about how the earth is a living and breathing organism. That we are part of. I don't know, its kind of hard to even describe the experience of just watching the video. Either way it lead to Andrew and I sitting on the couch late at night and talking.

"Doesn't it just make you want to give away everything and go live in a tent in the forest?" I asked.

"I mean, who needs all these things. We just need books, and journals, nature and each other…" I kept going.

Andrew agreed and then went on to say that we should just give away all of our things. You see, we are dreamers. But then we thought about oh yeah, food. And that we probably still need some money. And even if we did get that dream farm house one day, people would need some where to sit.

But in the midst of our talking… we came to the topic of our computer and our phones and the need to feel "connected." And the irony of it all is that we really are not that connected. Andrew and I often feel lonely in this season of life in this small town. We have friends but many of them lead busy lives, and many times we are busy too. My slow time is when everyone else is working. And evenings with a small child and limited time with Andrew makes it hard to get together as much as we would like with people. There's a desire within us for communal living, or even to live in more connected ways of the past. But often times it takes more than one person to achieve these things.

"I guess whats so weird, is that when I feel alone during the day… but I am eating a pretty lunch, well I'll take a picture of it. And then people like it and I know they think its pretty too. And I don't feel so alone."

But then all of the sudden this weekend, I had a revelation. Or a turn of spirit. I wanted to feel alone. I wanted to feel real. I wanted to know who I actually stayed in touch with through out the weeks and months. I wanted to not be falsely connected, but truly close to those that loved me and I them.

Maybe it sounds sort of dramatic, but I think there is way more phycological issues that drive social media than anyone would like to admit. Not everyone. No not everyone at all. But me. I guess I decided that I wanted to take a break from some of the awesome people I follow on instagram. I wanted to not have to know what every other person was doing all day, and stop secretly trying to capture enough beauty in my own life that it looked equally as good. I just think some personalities are more susceptible to competition and self criticism. I think my perfectionist personality at times can get the best of me.

So, here I am. Pulling out my camera to not miss the moments of family this weekend. And not really being on my phone anymore because theres nothing there for me to see. Instead, Blanche and I have been eating watermelon and playing outside. And there are moments when I think oh, that would be a good photo opportunity, but then I close my eyes and try to soak in the moment. To really live. To enjoy what it is I am doing. To be comfortable being alone sometimes. To admit sometimes my life isn't as cool as other's seem, but I am in love with my family and we are trying to pursue our dreams. And today, thats enough.M

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