I almost did not have the heart to see how long it's been since my last post. November 17, 2017 is about six months ago. Writer's block is real, and I am here to have a breakthrough.
I moved to a new borough and left a full-time job. I leapt but the net did not appear in the way I had hoped. Throughout my struggles and joys, I gained a kind of revitalized faith that gets me through the darkness.
In this radioactive political climate, I grew increasingly silent. I canceled by Twitter account. I peeled my eyes away from Facebook and stopped updating. Better to listen. Read articles. Watch speeches. I have paid attention to most if not all of the major stories and movements and offenses and setbacks and woke moments as possible. I am happy to follow the leaders right now. I do what I can to support progress, and try to be inspired by the proverbial rocks being flipped over to reveal the truthful soil underneath. If this is not America's new bottom, with its sexual predatorship culture, racial injustices from aggressive cops to profiling coffee shops, and a sad, sycophantic corrupt political climate, I don't know what will be. Even writing it makes me want a drink (and I don't really drink).
I am fast approaching the end of the first year of my 40s. I recently read a NYT article written by a 40-something year old woman, a mother, a writer, a thinker currently living in Paris. I had so little relation to her story, hardly any identification at all, that it radically reminded me to value my own experience. I am rarely called ma'am. I am not in a long term relationship and I have never been married. I don't forget little things like the writer describes. I have no children. I teach 15 fitness classes a week in New York City and am in excellent shape. I am a writer. I am an actor. I have not settled and there are no plans here to ride out the rest of life living only in response to what I have created during the last 40. In other words, I am constantly changing, evolving, seeking, living MY life. I am humbled enough to know I still have plenty of things to learn, and wise enough to know how much I have deserving gratitude.
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you have truly defeated age. ~Sophia Loren
I never wanted to be a self-help author, a life coach, a wellness mafia guru, a fitness celeb, or anything in that box. I wanted to be an actor and a writer. But life has a weird way of GREENLIGHTING what it wants to for you, so I have spent the last ten years succeeding in the fitness/wellness industry, first as an instructor, then as a writer posting blog content before it was branding, next as a group fitness manager for 3 1/2 years, and now expanding into the boutique side of the industry...essentially doing ALL I CAN in and out of the room to make people's lives healthier, happier, sweatier and more fit. I may not make six figures but I have more blessings than I can count from this journey.
I was doing the actual work before the dance migrated to social. At its best, social media is content production and creativity for the masses. Expression. At its worse, you're a leader because you look cute in a filtered bathroom selfie or sexy in a posed photo shoot? You're a success because you look the part? You go to the head of the class because of what exactly? I have to say, some of the BEST teachers I know and have managed did not have big social media presences. They have astounding skill and motivation capabilities in the room, and speaking of rooms they can pack one at 3 in the morning on any given day.
My concern with the virtual reality bubble is that inside people are what they project, not necessarily what they are...and from these visuals become Influencers. Inspiration portals. Community builders. Fashion, lifestyle, beauty, all merged and morphed with narratives and tales for whose benefit? Popularity contests gone wild. Winner takes all the Followers.
This is not to detract from ALL OF THE POSITIVE aspects of social media across industries.If I sound one-sided, I promise you I am not. There is beauty, power, advocacy, GOOD WORK and plenty of WONDER in the apps, and I am here for it now. I have a lot of respect for people across industries who have created EXCEPTIONAL online social media brands and presence. I see the skill.
But because of my age, I know what life was like in the 1980s and 1990s B.S. (Before Social) and now I know what it's like in the 2000s A.S. I have fun on Instagram but I also think back to a time where it didn't exist and I SAVOR THOSE MEMORIES. It was beautiful to take a photo on a camera then wait for the photos to be developed. :) Scrapbooks. Hard copies. Paper. Writing.
And maybe that is what this post comes back to, for after all isn't writing and reading at risk of becoming a lost art? Last night while READING an article in The New Yorker, I noticed an option to have the article read to me. What?? So I pressed play and this automaton-sounding voice started and sure enough, was reading the article word for word. I got a slight chill. Please don't let me lose that feeling I savor when curling up with a long-form article, or a book for that matter (of which I read far less than ever before in my life). Please do not let me mistaken an Instagram or Facebook update for writing. Please do not let me lose my love of craft. My love of THIS CRAFT, of stringing words together and finding paths into deeper caverns and recesses of my mind and heart.
Please do not let me lose my identity.