Teach Yourself to Swim
A metaphorical way of saying it's time for self-care
No one wants to look at me. Not really. You want me to look at you, and I will, but not before I make a post and worry about who is looking at me while you’re going about worrying about who is looking at you.
It's an endless game. If we make it one.
I get caught up in the game on Instagram. I hate myself for doing it, but I do it. I play the game. For those of us on that platform, we all do it. We keep score. For some reason, my attachment to Medium is not as laborious or as caustic as my attachment to IG, but I will explain.
Writing for me is the easy part. My words tumble freely and easily. Self-promotion and peacocking is the dreaded mind game that I simply don’t enjoy. Seriously, I can’t stand this about IG and how it makes me react. I think I should have been born 100 years ago. Well…that’s an impossible solution for several reasons. As a woman, I would have had a whole host of different problems, least of all the freedom to write or to be taken seriously as a writer.
Because the words tumble freely, I have found a lot of confidence and satisfaction as a writer. I don’t even think my ego is all that invested in it, to be honest. The words come that easily, as though my ancient scribe has been reborn, but the rest of the game, heaven help me, I wasn’t born to be a marketer.
I am learning to take care of myself in a sea of floating booms and oil slicks. It's an emotional mind game out there.
It is on us to learn to swim without the emotional undertow of need. We can not survive if we continue to need attention. My body and my mental health will suffer if I need you to accept me.
So why do I put myself in emotional harm's way? Why, when I am long past the point of needing attention?
I have something to say and I want people to hear me. But the problem is, we all have something to say, and we’re all crying out to be heard. And those who cry loudest get heard!
Or so we think.
I am learning to swim in the emotional undertow of social media, although I am far too old to be doing this, far too comfortable in my own skin, and far too impatient with the whole thing to play, but that's when I have to stop and tell myself:
This idea that we are seeking balance on an emotional tipping planet continues to show up in absolutely every aspect of my life. It is on me to recognize this.
Instagram is a fabulous platform for sharing my work. I also write fiction for young women and so I use other platforms for sharing my work with them. I, therefore, must teach myself balance as I am asking them to do the same. Without it, I’m so afraid that young women will only know how to be rescued. I fear they will not be able to think and act for themselves, and are learning to wait for someone else to tell them how good they are, or how beautiful, or how smart.
I want to teach young women how to swim in the emotional undertow by not getting caught up in it myself.
It's a tricky turbulent emotional sea out there, but it is on us to learn to navigate the waves. Our emotional health depends on it.
The number one thing that I do, and teach, is meditation. I talk about it in almost every post. What I am learning through meditation I will then pass on to you, yet I will continue to encourage you to find your equilibrium in the vast energetic sea of potential. We don’t have to get attached to the game. Put the phone down and rest. The less productive we are, the more we learn.
And don’t we all deserve to learn new self-care techniques?
We all deserve to be heard, but honestly, when we can sit down long enough to listen to our hearts, our egos won’t demand to be heard. We can feel complete.