It couldn’t be a more timely moment to talk about this. I’m talking about disconnecting. At the end of 2018, I went South to a faraway place. Little did I know that I’d be more disconnected from home, social media, internet, and communication with the world I’m usually connected with (digitally). I didn’t open my lap top for 3 weeks. My social media feed didn’t load and my e-mails were stalling in the Outbox. I gave up and put the phone away.
Over two years ago, I was having this same conversation. It was more so about authenticity around our social media photos & feeds. I’ve worked in marketing and advertising most of my 20’s and know how fabricated & fake most scenarios you see on social media really are. Real life doesn’t happen when a camera is in your face.
Personally, I used social media to serve a serious purpose for myself. I traveled for months, posted everything, wrote about most things, and sent it out to magazines, brands, and more. More good than bad came of it, I got published all over, people read my work, I got editorial jobs with major companies like CLIF Bar, and even got hired to run social media on a 6-week road trip for LifeProof. I think I made $11k just traveling, having fun, and posting photos on an all-expense paid trip. I’ve worked every angle of the camera, even recently sold out to a sport modeling agency and realize the money behind advertising - even though, every single shoot is a staged & highly-produced scenario. It is not real. But, I am human and I have to pay my bills as well.. So, trust me, I understand and see the benefits of social media. But after making a quick buck, I realize that posting intimate moments to social, over-sharing life, and seeing way too much into other peoples lives became a bad habit and a horrible distraction. It’s soul-less.
I never felt like a social media addict like “I have to know what’s going in everyone’s lives!” spending hours & hours per day on the scroll but I definitely used social media to fill a void. I stopped using it for recreation just this past month and picked up on a project I started 10 years ago, gave time and energy to my artwork, re-evaluated my career & path, and reconnected not only with some friends and family but myself. Social media might make you feel less alone for a little bit, but if the power grid went down tomorrow and you had to sit alone at home with yourself - would you really be happy with the life you’ve created? Take a note from me, disconnect and face yourself. Unplug. Do what you want to do and do it for yourself, no one else.
Even though popular culture awards someone’s popularity with fame & fortune, that number “followers” doesn’t define your worth. In fact, I’ve seen it first hand - the higher the number, the less genuine relationships that person tends to actually have - instead, fleeting & disingenuous. We are all equal and nothing can change that.
I’m hosting bi-annual retreats to destinations like Hawaii and Mexico. I’ve been seeing a lot of “wellness retreats” out there, but am actually pretty disgusted with the amount of social media usage, people taking photos of each other, posting, and social activity while they are supposed to be “present” during their trip. So, if you do sign up for a retreat I’m hosting or co-hosting, you can bet your a$$ none of that sh*t is going to be happening. I encourage people to put the phones away and put their hands in the sand and feet in the sea. There’s a time and a place for a photo-op, but for the most part, let go & be exactly where you are. The only people that matter are the ones right in front of you, right now.
If we all make a conscious effort not to be so brainwashed by social media, starving for approval & acceptance, mimicking others instead of finding our own originality - I can guarantee there’d be more genuine connections, authenticity in our work & lives, and overall happiness. We’re perpetuating a very sick culture and I watch individuals fall victim to it daily. If you’re one of those people that’s thinking, “I want to inspire people!” Trust me, we all want to inspire people but we have to find wholeness in ourselves before we chip away at the block and give bits & pieces of ourselves away daily… You will deteriorate. My work included has contributed to the toxicity which is why I am taking a major departure from it - potentially an entire career pivot. Social media is a great tool, but to be disciplined. If you know me and you’re reading this, please reach out in other ways - I much rather sit down for coffee, take a hike, go for a surf, or have a meaningful conversation in person or on the phone.
If you’re a loyal reader to my website over the past few years, thank you so much. I am doing what I can to put my works together in something much more concrete than this digital space. I am very excited for what 2019 has in store.