When I look at myself in the mirror, I don't see a person. I see analytics and insights. Social media is ruining me. What was once mysterious, and exciting, has quickly become the most damaging relationship I’ve had to date. Pitted against people all over the world, all I see are my failures and inability to live up to societal standards.
A few weeks ago, I went downtown to promote my upcoming show at the Horseshoe Tavern (**shameless plug** Toronto, January 7th, 2022 @ 9pm, 19+, $15 tix) and I spoke to complete strangers face to face. Strange concept, I know. No zoom meetings, no emails, no texting, no voicemails, NO HIDING. I didn’t even mention where to find me on social media when we spoke. I think my brain knew this could be a break from the constant barrage of berating thoughts I think to myself every day. These interactions wouldn’t be quantified by likes, comments, follows, or streams. These interactions would happen and then become part of my day. Something I could think back on to enjoy, not judge.
The high I got that day was rejuvenating. I’ve been aching to feel at peace with myself for some time now. I just want to make music..I didn’t sign up for this clout rivalry and constant competition for industry attention.
I was just a human in those brief moments. These strangers didn’t pick up their phones to check how many followers or streams I had before giving me the time of day, nor was I doing that to them. They took a risk giving me a couple of minutes of their days. That doesn’t happen online because those kinds of interactions don’t make money. The music industry has normalized vetting artists via data analyses, rarely going so far as listening to the first 5 seconds of a song. It's an impossible situation for all artists alike.
The other day, I was notified that I wouldn't receive funding from X group because my streaming numbers weren't high enough. I'd rather someone tell me they hate my music, at least they listened.
Social media has completely annihilated my ability to be myself, care-free. Everyday, I feel envy, frustration, sadness, helplessness, loneliness, complete and utter defeat, but those small, very real, things such as those brief interactions are what block those feelings out long enough for me to move like water.
Unintentional mindfulness spiel: I am more mindful of the things that matter, the things that make us human, and I choose to celebrate them to create a buffer between real life and the online image that keeps bogging it down.
I urge you to take a few moments for yourself today to reflect on what you are feeling and what may be behind those feelings…growth starts with awareness.