I owe a lot to social media. I made most of my current friends on Twitter. But I’ve spent less and less time on Twitter these days.
This is partly because I’ve been unwell and in pain, and typing is physically painful. But also because I realised spending time away from Twitter helps me think, gives me time to read, to engage more deeply and meaningfully in conversations with friends.
(Not to say Twitter doesn’t have meaningful conversations; I have learned so much from it. But many of the people I most enjoy following are also spending less time here, and also because I’ve found (finally, which others have been saying for years) that people (including me, at times!) are often kneejerkly accusatory instead of thoughtful, bringing their personal pain forth in defensive reactions that don’t usually further engagement and kindness. I’m not saying that outrage isn’t good or needed; this is about my inability to deal with the kind of engagement Twitter requires. I’m beginning to feel jaded, seeing the same conversations over and over, and I want to spend time introspecting and channeling my thoughts into longer writing, and into improving myself. I'm also spending more time reading fun books of the kind I used to love -- crime, romance, children's crime stories -- without guilt and with immense pleasure.)
I don’t think I’ve been missed; no one has said so, but my friends continue to reach out and talk to me, so I am not missing much either.
(And I’m enough of an introvert to not need, or even want, many friends. Right now, my circle is small and rich and full, and I am content.)
I have also withdrawn physically, becoming more of a recluse, for the same reasons. I am taking strength and nourishment from my home, my husband, my self, my closest friends. I am pouring that strength into my work, into my relationships, and have little left over.
I was becoming quiet on Instagram also, but have started posting regularly again, just to keep track of my life and my reading. But even when I don’t, I don’t feel like I disappear. I was afraid I would, away from social media and not proactively reaching out to friends. I haven’t: my sense of self seems stronger than ever, and I feel lucky and grateful.
This is not to say I don't want to hear from you, if you want to reach out. I would love to hear from you. This is only to say that the open-endedness of Twitter, which had been one of its primary charms, has grown difficult for me, and I prefer one-on-one interactions with friends. If you email/text/call me or comment here, I'd be very happy to hear from you. And even if you don't, I hope you're doing well. I hope you're taking care of yourself in these difficult times.
But if you have wondered why, this is why. And much love and gratitude to the friends who have reached out and continue to do so, who don’t wait for me to reach out, who don’t let me disappear from their lives.
All of this is to say: I don’t know when I’ll start posting here or tweeting regularly again. Soon, I think, but not as often as I used to. If you want to see what I’m reading or what I’m up to, look me up on Instagram. These days I’m finding pictures and emojis easier than words.