Last night I stayed awake until three in the morning scribbling wild notes in my sketchbook. I had been reading the comics and criticism of Matt Seneca online before that. I realised that Matt Seneca is just over a year older than me, and younger than most of my friends. At first I experienced jealousy, because I would like to be in the position that he is in his life, and I am not. Then I found that it was pointless to be jealous of him. The only difference between Matt Seneca and me is that he does things. I only talk and think about doing things. I am lazy. The way to not be lazy is to not be lazy- it’s a choice and the most simple thing in the world.
I cannot now live my life lazily any more. It’s impossible, now that I’ve seen this truth. It has been lazy of me to be vegetarian when I know that if I really want to stop oppressing animals I need to be vegan. I am now vegan. From this moment, right as I write this. This I feel is important to me as a symbol and reminder to not be lazy.
I don’t mean laziness in terms of a dichotomy between it and activity. I mean laziness in terms of being the antithesis of mindfulness. For example I have spent a year and a half not in education or travelling or getting a job or having sexual relationships or partying a lot. This has not been lazy time, which some people might view it as. This has been the most mindful year and a half of my entire life. But it can’t end now just because I will be returning to a life more integrated with the world, “real life”.
This relates to tumblr because the internet is a large part of my life. I probably spend at least over half of my waking hours on the internet. Probably more than that. A large part of this time is spent on this website, tumblr. I love the internet.
I have had this tumblr blog for about two years. 112 people follow it. I have made ~500 posts to it, but really more because I went through and deleted a lot of the older ones. This is not much; I have had no purpose with this blog. It has been a place for me to curate things that I find pleasing- my “taste”.
In ways this has been good. It is good that I have looked at many many thousands of pieces of art that other people have shared with me via the dashboard. It has been good to read the thoughts of like minded people and to be introduced to new art.
But right now I feel very uncomfortable with merely curating. I wish to create. I don’t feel that curating pretty images, however powerful, justifies the amount of time I spend on it. I also feel that it is a squandering of the limitless opportunities of the internet for art and meaningful things.
Of course I could just change the way I use tumblr, start to create and share my creations via my blog. Many people whose art I love do this. The problem is that the way tumblr is set up causes me anxieties that affect my ability to make things that are good and true. If I publish something I have personally created to tumblr all I can think about is how many notes does it get? Has it lost or gained me followers? Do people think my drawing is “good”? This means that I no longer care whether the thing I made feels true to me, and if I don’t make things that feel true then how can I expect other people to feel that about them either? Which is what I want, to make true things and share them.
If I post things to tumblr I am constantly looking for validation. I hunger for people to tell me that yes this is good, it’s worthwhile, you’re not ridiculous to want to create things. These things can only come from myself. Tumblr harms my ability to believe in myself.
My aim now is to create a “proper” blog, and share the things I make on it, using a blogging platform that does not emphasise “likes”, reblogs and followers. Maybe once I’ve got used to sharing things without worrying about these markers of “success”, then I can return to tumblr. I like tumblr because it is great for easily sharing and meeting new people and discovering new things, but as I have said I am not ready for an audience. Especially not a ready made one- the 112 people who share an interest in the things I reblog, for whom I feel anxiety to make my work “worth following”.
Another thing about tumblr is that I treat it lazily. I have 233 blogs worth of beautiful and interesting things streaming through my dashboard every day. I do not appreciate it. I scroll quickly through, forgetting the true purpose of what I am scrolling for, and instead focussed on getting to the end of the new posts, in order to feel like I’ve “caught up”. This is a perfect example of what I mean by laziness.
I don’t know whether I’m going to completely delete my tumblr account, because there are a lot of people who I would not like to lose track of, and tumblr is ideal for this. If I do delete my account entirely then I will definitely carry on “following” people via RSS.
I do know that I no longer will be reblogging images, that I will drastically reduce the number of people I “follow”, and that I will have another blog elsewhere in which I will share the things I make. I will share the link to this new blog when it is created, in case anybody is interested.
I wish I’d communicated to people on here more.
To the few people on here who I do talk to, who know who they are, I’ll keep in contact through other means.
Thank you to firmuhment, your posts and the fact you “like” mine have encouraged me to make proper, creative use of the internet.