Dave Morrow, from a video he posted to his YouTube channel in 2018:
So my theory for quitting these [social networks] was that even though I didn’t notice it, I felt like all the input of being on those platforms, every few days or every week or whatever, I would always have a bunch of background static, where conversations going in my head and I wouldn’t know why, but it’d be like I was always thinking about something or worrying if I had to do something on any social media platform, like respond to somebody or stuff like that.
What would happen if I took all the energy that I spent on social media—posting, replying, looking at stuff, anything you do on social media—I took all that mental energy, all that physical energy, and I just devoted it straight toward what makes me feel really good? That is photography and traveling to new places on foot, out on the mountains, out on the wilderness. So I’ll take all that energy from social media, which only gives me, if at any happiness level, a very low amount of happiness comes from social media for me. But if I took all that energy I was devoting towards that and pushed it all towards something that makes me feel really good, makes me feel really accomplished when I’m done, how much more would I accomplish every single year? If I just took all that energy and diverted it only to the things I like?
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but something I’ve been thinking about more since linking to Cory Doctorow’s essay earlier today. I’ve found it easier and easier to live without Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, but if I’m being honest with myself, it’s been easier because I replaced it with Micro.blog. I don’t like that I replaced one compulsion with another, regardless of how much more integrity this platform has over, say, Facebook. I don’t like the background static, like Dave Morrow so beautifully put it, after every post I publish or every response I write. It keeps me from creating, and creating is the one thing that keeps me happy.
So what if, like Dave Morrow says, I focus all my energy toward the things that make me feel really good? Toward the things I like? What would my life like that look like? Well… let’s find out.
Here’s my declaration: I’m quitting all social media, including Micro.blog, starting today. Like Dave Morrow, I want to focus all my energies towards the things I like, and that means writing, reading, photography, traveling, and anything else that flexes my creativity muscle. And hey, if that turns me into an even bigger asshole, so what?
The genius of the blog was not in the note-taking, it was in the publishing. The act of making your log-file public requires a rigor that keeping personal notes does not. Writing for a notional audience — particularly an audience of strangers — demands a comprehensive account that I rarely muster when I’m taking notes for myself. I am much better at kidding myself my ability to interpret my notes at a later date than I am at convincing myself that anyone else will be able to make heads or tails of them.
Blogging isn’t just a way to organize your research — it’s a way to do research for a book or essay or story or speech you don’t even know you want to write yet. It’s a way to discover what your future books and essays and stories and speeches will be about.
When I wrote my post about my blog acting as my second brain a few days ago, these were some of the feelings I had behind it. I looked at my list of tags, at the potential all this self-knowledge was and could be, and I felt relief. I felt like I finally found my place online, a place for myself so I can be myself. But unlike Cory, I’ve felt the most comfortable when I write for myself rather than, as Cory writes at the end of his essay, “to attract, rather than serve, an audience.”
All forms of social media, from Facebook to Twitter and, yes, even Micro.blog, has felt like a place to show off, to write something that would get reactions, with each new post feeling like it only existed to elicit even more reactions, to get even more hits from the drug of self-validation by friends or strangers. This is a big reason I don’t have Webmentions or adhere to any of the IndieWeb standards. I’m glad they exist, but they’re not for me. I want my home to stand on its own, with my own rules and idiosyncrasies. This, in all honesty, reflects who I am in real life and not just online.
I was that person, that student, that friend, that teammate, who had no backbone, who melded into every group just to be liked, who never built a personality because of how afraid he was to be disliked by anyone. I said yes to anyone who ever asked me to do something, from doing my friend’s homework to letting them cheat off my tests just because they asked. I let everyone walk over me because I wanted to be liked. I never allowed myself to question any of it because I just wanted to fit in, and that was my way of doing so. It wasn’t until after college when I felt like I finally found myself. And that self was and is kind of an asshole.
My friends now who know me have told me that I’m not an asshole whenever I’ve brought this up, but part of me feels like an asshole when I stand up for myself and tell people “no.” I feel like an asshole when I refuse food from people because I’m vegan and everyone around me eats meat, and I feel like an asshole when I turn down an invitation for anything if it interferes with my workout time. I feel like an asshole when I express myself honestly and say exactly what’s on my mind, whether it’s to my friends or family or my bosses, even. I feel like an asshole whenever I try to do things that are good for me but not for them. I feel like an asshole right now because I wrote earlier how I’m not supporting Webmentions or any IndieWeb stuff on my site. But I feel happier as a human being this way, whatever the cost.
A few months ago, I cancelled my Micro.blog yearly subscription and decided to build my own blog on my own terms. I downloaded Hugo onto my computer and built my own blog from scratch. I taught myself everything I needed to know to do this—from the obtuseness of programming in Hugo to the complexities of CSS—and all that work has been some of the most fulfilling of my life. And because of this, I don’t feel held back by anything or anyone. I have the freedom to do what I want, to explore more, to try things out, to produce for my own sake rather than trying to fit in with someone else’s rules. And you know what? Because I’m doing this for myself and not for anyone else, I’m happier, and I’m simply just eager to see what comes of this, if anything.
I know not everyone feels this way, but I don’t care if I have an audience. I don’t care about being liked or disliked. I’m just going to do what I want to do and see where that takes me, because again, life is too short to not live by your own rules. And to be honest, this is not what I thought I’d write about when I wanted to link to this post, but that’s kinda the beauty of doing your own thing, and that makes me happy, asshole or not.
Toward the end of his essay, Cory writes:
Cringing at your own memories does no one any good. On the other hand, systematically reviewing your older work to find the patterns in where you got it wrong (and right!) is hugely beneficial — it’s a useful process of introspection that makes it easier to spot and avoid your own pitfalls.
On my archive page, I have posts going back 7 years. Unlike Cory, I have and still do cringe when I go back and re-read some of them. I’m disappointed that I’m still trying to find answers to questions I asked back then, but I’m also proud at the progress I’ve made in other areas of my life. Will I look back at this post in the future and cringe? I hope I do! That’s the point. I cringe at the person I used to be all the time, and that’s because I’m always pushing forward, trying and thinking and doing new things, all in an effort to squeeze as much juice out of the short time I have to live. And why hide behind fear? Just take that step and see what happens, and that’s how I want to live my life, fuck what anyone else thinks. If that makes me an asshole, then I’m an asshole.
Last night, I finished watching Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, an anime about a trio of high school girls who create an animation club so they can make anime’s together. It’s very sweet and wholesome, and I highly highly recommend it. I really loved it.
I finally updated the look of my tags on my archive page. I broke it out of the <details> tag, added counts, and put it all in a grid. This really helps me get a nice overall picture of what tags I’ve used and what I like to write about. I’ve been slowly going back and updating tags on my previous posts, and even though I still have lots more I want to do, I’m really happy with my output so far. My website really has become my second brain, and I’m having a lot of fun blogging, more fun than I’ve ever had online before.
Unsurprisingly, Haikyu!! is one of the best manga’s I’ve ever read, and like I did with Demon Slayer, I sometimes take screenshots of panels and sequences I like, and because Haikyu!! is a very very funny manga, most of the ones I liked made me laugh, but the story can also be heartbreaking in its beauty.
One of my favorites is this sketch of Asahi, Sugawara, and Daichi. They’re third year students at Karasuno, and most likely, this is the last time they will ever play volleyball on a team together. I just found this moment, this simple sketch, to be so touching and tragic that it might be one of my favorite pieces of art I’ve ever seen. It’s just beautiful. Haruichi Furudate, the creator, is a great artist.
This little sequence made me laugh out loud. It shows who Hinata is without telling us. Yeah yeah, this isn’t unique or anything—I’ve also seen it in cartoons and sitcoms—but it’s still funny, especially because of Tanaka. Poor Tanaka.
This is only funny because Haruichi emphasized this little moment at the end of the issue, and I just had to go back and revisit the panel. I’m still laughing looking at it.
And this is just Tanaka being silly.
“Summer is too hot. Winter is too cold.” The eternal struggle!
How does one talk to girls? I’m still trying to figure that out.
I really don’t want to know why her stamina is maxed out…
Because this is a sports manga, there are just moments that pump me up so much. I used to play sports in middle school and high school, and I remember the motivational speeches and the great plays me or my teammates made, and how awesome that all felt. Those emotions all came back while reading through this series. It makes me want to consider coaching again…
Always always push yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
Have confidence in yourself.
“If you’re hungry, do you really need a reason to go eat?” So good!
These are all just panels of Hinata and Kageyama’s competitive spirit and drive. They’re super inspiring.
And this was just a great moment.
The Woes of Getting Old
The following panels made me both laugh and cry.
Drinking is just too good to give up. I have also said “Kids these days” more than once. But I like saying it because it makes me laugh.
Me too, brother, me too.
Stop rubbing it in.
This has happened to me before, and I died a little inside.
I still have hundreds and hundreds of more issues to read of Haikyu!! and I’m looking forward to every one of them. I might do one or two more of these because I like doing this. It gives me something more to do while reading. Also, it’s fun.
Although her earlier images captured the fleshy fungi in spectacular detail, Pollack has spent the last two years getting even closer to her subjects—which are often less than a millimeter tall—by using a combination of a microscope and macro lens that magnify her findings up to 10 times their actual size. The resulting images document even the smallest features, like individual spores, the veiny web structure encasing them, and the distinct texture and color of each organism.
Her photos are incredible. I would love to see her work in real life to see how she does this.
Goku Day is an official anniversary certified and registered by the Japanese Anniversary Association1. Why May 9th? Well, since in Japan the date is written in the order 5/9, and because 5 and 9 can be read as “Go” and “Ku”, the numbers combine to make Goku’s Japanese kanji! Thus, May 9th became Goku Day!
I much prefer this holiday over May 4th, but that’s mostly because I didn’t grow up with Star Wars like many people around me did. And 五 (go) and 九 (ku) is just cool.
Funny story: I studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, and we had most of our classes in a building named after George Lucas, and it wasn’t until my freshman year when I finally watched my first Star Wars movie. Yeah, that was awkward! I’m a fan now, though.
I really love that it’s a certified and registered anniversary. ↩︎