Around this time last year I met my good friend K. She and I were in the same ski lesson and we became fast friends and climbing partners. When we met we were both seeing men that weren’t ideal partners and she was by my side as the dude I was seeing went our separate ways only to later reconnect and start adventuring together again. She was there when it all burned in a flaming disaster that made me so upset that I barely ate for two weeks, got horribly sick and lost my voice, and probably dropped a few pounds more than is healthy. And then I got back on my feet, threw myself into climbing and yoga and turning my body into a thing of strength. It was over this past year that K introduced me to the concept of caves; the sadcave where you cry, the angercave where you rage. I spent a lot of this past year in and out of either cave—with brief bouts out for sunshine.
The thing is—I know my life doesn’t look cave-like. Adventures are beautiful and writing is inspiring and those are the things I want to share. It’s easy to forget that what you see is a specifically catered experience. I’m working to remember that about what I see of other people’s lives, but I think it’s time I take a social media hiatus (and probably time I buy myself a happy light to combat the short winter days). There are too many weddings and babies and climbing trips that I’m not part of. I know from experience that the difficult parts aren’t what are shared. My trip to Iceland with my sister was full of disaster—but we came back to “It looked amazing!” and “What a great time you guys had!” We didn’t show the screaming argument in our hotel, or the hours spent walking on cold and wet streets only to find out that we were at the wrong zoo entrance and our guide was long gone.
Instagram is a catered collection of photographs and facebook is… I’m not really sure what facebook is. A billboard and a water-cooler and an email chain letter and a high school cafeteria all rolled into one easily bookmarked page. It’s also an easy place to organize events and coordinate carpools, and that’s been my excuse for not leaving the whole thing. I don’t like what social media does to me, but I also find it inspiring. I follow climbers and photographers and it makes me want to adventure more, create more art, and be a better and more exciting person. And that’s the problem. Better. Better than? Than who I am now? Than someone else out there? I’m too naturally competitive, with myself and everyone around me, and during the grey short days it’s easy to get caught up in an angercave.
So I’m working towards letting inspiration be inspiration without competition. Here and here are some of the photographs I’ve found through artists I follow on Instagram, and I love them. I’m working towards loving them, and not letting them pressure me into feeling as if I need to grab my camera and hit the streets.
Also: may I suggest this for your listening pleasure? I love Sharon and I’m so happy to see her with all the amazing followers she has, making music that people love. Sharon Van Etten- We Are Fine (remix). Now if only I could find that CD of hers from college with White Lines and You’re No Good on it….