I wouldn't describe myself as anti-social but I tend to be shy and have always been sensitive. Maybe that makes me careful around people. I’m not unfriendly. I like people very much but I’m not naturally gregarious. I like spending time by myself. I can always count my close friends on one hand and they have changed over the years.
Here’s some inside information. If you want to torture me, tell me to go into a huge crowd of strangers and mingle. If I think of the least favorite places I’ve been in my life, the high school cafeteria comes to mind. That’s a long time ago but I still remember that horrible sense that everyone was looking at me as I walked in (I know! They weren’t!) and knowing that I would never be one of the cool kids yet really wishing that I was (I wasn’t!).
What does this all have to do with social media?
When I first launched my blog, I never would have predicted that I would also be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and sometimes Pinterest and Flickr. Me, have a social media presence? What am I doing mingling in a gargantuan crowd of strangers?
One of the very best parts of social media is being able to connect with like-minded people around the world. I have found that there is a beautiful creative community online. I am grateful for the friends I have here at this blog as well as the other sites I frequent. I have met some wonderful online companions, connected with their hearts and minds, and found sources of creative inspiration and personal strength.
So on a good day, everything social-media-wise is great. I like to encourage other people and it feels good when others do that for me. I enjoy seeing the art that others are producing. I am a curious person and like learning new things. I love seeing the beautiful commonality of our days (the sunrises, the sunsets, treasures from nature, our gardens, our studios, our kitchens, our pets). Because I work on my own, it’s nice to have the camaraderie of others online who lead similar lives--someone to share a joke with, a frustration, a disappointment. I’m grateful that people in all sorts of countries have found me and my paintings through my social media accounts. And of course Meeko now has adoring fans around the globe!
My solution is sometimes to take a little break from it all. That’s probably a healthy thing to do. These past two weeks, I haven’t followed my normal routines. Chloé was on her March school break last week and Emma is on her break this week. When others are in the house, my concentration goes haywire. So I’ve been posting much less on my different social media accounts. I miss it and yet I don’t. It doesn’t make sense to focus outward to the detriment of what’s inside, constantly being a cheerleader for others if I’m not always feeling some sort of benefit in return. Or to be photographing things more than I am living them. Like in anything, balance is required. With social media, I find it’s a delicate balance—I want to participate because of the many good and positive things it offers and that I enjoy, while making sure it doesn’t eat up my self-esteem, painting time, and creative energy. Balance. Moderation. Constant challenges of my awkward social media life. ❤