Today as I was getting ready for work I looked in the mirror at myself and, for the first time in my life, I admired my soft, womanly curves. It was nice to look at myself and not be critical.
My husband sent me a link to an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times, written in 2010, about Twitter and how it affects us and the way we interact with the world around us. There were many questions raised in the article. Raf was interested in the idea that Twitter, Facebook, and other social media encourages the commodification of self. My reading of the article touched on some thoughts I have had recently about social media: this idea that it takes us out of the present moment and causes us to experience that moment differently.
Orenstein makes an interesting observation that would seem to indicate that the act of tweeting a moment makes it clearer:
Distilling my personality provided surprising focus, making me feel stripped to my essence. It forced me, for instance, to pinpoint the dominant feeling as I sat outside with my daughter listening to E.B. White. Was it my joy at being a mother? Nostalgia for my own childhood summers? The pleasures of listening to the author’s quirky, underinflected voice? Each put a different spin on the occasion, of who I was within it.
However, she goes on to question that this distillation was less about her observation of the moment and more about how she wants others to react to her moment. Interesting thought. Do we build a facade with each tweet or Facebook status update? I think we do. Some of us more than others. And we all build that facade in different ways. For example, I get a little bit irritated by my friends who post a laundry list of all of the fabulous things they did that weekend. Because of this I try to “be more authentic” in my updates by posting both the good and the bad. But I am just as guilty as anyone else because my carefully constructed facade is about me “wanting to appear more authentic” than those who want to “appear to have fabulous lives.”
Then there is this idea that social media takes us out of the present moment. It has been something I have thought about a lot. The other day I was scanning my Instagram feed and saw a photo that a friend took of lunch out with a group of girlfriends. Two of her friends had their eyes glued to their smart phones. It made me think about myself and how often I do that very thing when I am hanging out with my own friends or my husband. Looking at this photo made me realize how this act of checking our phones to see what is happening on a website is kind of ridiculous. There is a person, a flesh and blood person, standing in front of me, interacting with me and I am looking at a machine so that I can connect with other people who are elsewhere.
This is not to say that the friends I have made online are very important to me and the time that I spend interacting with them online is important to me, as well. I have had some of my favorite moments interacting with my friends online. Everyday I am amazed at the the world we live in and that I can have these interactions with people from all over the world. It’s pretty fantastic and great.
However, there has to be some kind of balance. I shouldn’t sacrifice the moments I have with those in front of me for moments I have with my friends online.
When I went to Paris I couldn’t figure out how to make my phone work overseas. It was very frustrating because this meant my GPS didn’t work either. We spent a few moments wandering the streets not really knowing where we were going (we found an old-school street map as soon as we could). In the end, however, I am very glad I was cut off from social media there, at least during the day (we had wi-fi access at our hotel). I was prevented from tweeting every single thought in my head. Instead I was riveted to every moment I experienced there. This was a new and faraway place and I am not sure I will ever be able to go back. I knew this while I was there and so I made the most out of all of it. Everything I did there was totally in the moment. I experienced the crap out of Paris. I remember everything with clarity. If my smart phone was working and tempting me to tweet these moments, would I still have this same clarity? I don’t think I would.
I haven’t posted a running update in a very long time. This is because I haven’t been running. It is depressing. I am going through another bout of plantar fasciitis and it’s quite painful this time. I have had it for several months and there are days when I can barely walk, let alone run. I have not gone to the doctor because I can’t afford the insurance premium (a rant for another blog post). In the meantime, I have tried all kinds of things to get it to heal to not much avail. I even tried just resting and doing no exercise at all for a month, mostly out of spite. That was dumb.
During this whole fiasco I have realized that I am not a healthy eater and I have used running as an excuse to eat unhealthily. This realization and the cold fact that there has been a lot of death in my life lately made me realize that I need to change. After some research and much thought I have decided to go vegan with my diet. For me, this means that I am focusing on eating more whole plant-based foods. I am going to try to avoid, as much as possible, anything processed.
I have been eating like this for more than a week and it’s not been difficult at all. There have been a couple of lapses, like that time last weekend when I “accidentally” ate Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. And today when I ate a slice of carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting). But otherwise, I’ve been doing very well! And I feel really good. My skin has cleared up. My foot doesn’t hurt as much on the days that I eat kale (which is strange, but hey. I’ll take it!).
I haven’t lost any weight, which bums out my ego. That’s ok though! I am not doing this to lose weight or even to look good. I totally and completely am doing this for my health, which I think is the best reason.
I started doing yoga again this week and it has made me feel much better. I tried running yesterday morning and that was a bad idea. I will stick with yoga every morning until the foot stops hurting. I am really missing those early morning runs very much but I will be patient. I am hoping that I will be able to run again sometime in the future.
I may blog my experience with becoming a vegan. Writing about stuff seems to help me and I like that it is here, on the internet, for me to access later.
I met Inge via Brendan when I first saw the film swap they did together. I checked out her photography on Flickr and was all, “I need to be friends with this woman.” We have a lot in common, film photography and tattoos being a couple of those things. I am glad that she felt the same way because I have really enjoyed getting to know her on Twitter and Facebook.
Inge lives in the Netherlands and took her photos in Amsterdam. She shot her side of the roll with an Afga Optima. She redscaled the roll and sent it my way to Oregon where I re-shot it on a walk around Sandy one Sunday evening. My shots are upside down which made for some interesting effects.
The idea of Amsterdam vs Sandy makes me laugh a bit. Sandy is so small town and hokey. I love my little town, don’t get me wrong. But it is. I thought it might be fun to contrast my small town with Amsterdam, which in my mind is this mythological utopia of liberal goodness (I have never been there but it is on my list of Places I Must Visit Before I Die).
There were lots of really great photos from this swap! You can see some of them in the gallery above by clicking on an image. Here are some more that I liked.