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Hello! A new way of showing up online
A friend once gave me this advice for making a decision: “When you can only see a situation in black and white, look for grey. And when the the situation seems only grey, seek out the black and white.”
So: Approach a seemingly dualistic question with nuance, and a seemingly overly-complex question with a yes or no.
I’ve kept this method top of mind over the past several months while deciding how and when to show up online. Platforms that once felt like cozy, well-established rooms of my home filled with favorite trinkets and cushy old chairs rapidly changed—new furnishings, new rules, new expectations for entering a once-familiar space.
This is all well and good, for the most part: I’m not conservative by any definition; I actively seek out change and I appreciate that communication styles evolve with the times. But, all the sudden shifting around required quick adjustment, and as someone who shares a lot of myself on social media, the evolution has brought up a lot of overly-complex questions.
At some point in the past year, I began internalizing new expectations: “If you feel down, you’re not grateful enough; if you point out the positive, you’re ignoring what's happening on another continent; stay relevant by churning out non-stop easily-digestible content but also know that you're always taking up valuable space from others; react in real time, think later. Stay consistent over staying true to self."
Curiosity, imagination, and wonder pushed up against the rigid edges of those black-and-white checker box norms that kept communication pure and tidy, but there was just no room for grey. I’m desperately seeking the grey, and haven’t known where to put it.
Meanwhile, my individual relationship to social media feels overwhelmingly grey—so flexible and ambivalent that I've been approaching it timidly, without much intention. In that case, I’m actually in need of some more rigid duality and rules.
So, here are my new rules: I’m showing up here, on Bulletin, wholeheartedly and whole-human-ly: I’ll ask and answer questions, explore the ambient shadows and brightness, and faithfully report from the in-between. And I plan to use Instagram as a fun scrapbook: a mishmash of thoughts and art and announcements and photos I feel like sharing--it's got to feel fun for me.
But I’ll be here once a week no matter what, even/especially when it takes courage.
I want to dig into some of my spicy opinions that don’t make as much sense to explore on a quick-reactive platform. I want to tell stories that wouldn’t translate well to succinct illustrated posts. I want to show some art from the vault that I was too shy to post before. I want to come up from the depths of what I typically write about and share from the shallow end too: delightful stuff I’ve bought recently, juicy gossip, music that makes me move, podcasts that make me laugh.
I want to share more of what’s actually going on in my mind in real time (a lot of the art I make for Instagram is based on long-ago and mythologized memory). I want to get to know my community much better (I spend very little time on Instagram but I plan to spend a lot more time here—actually engaging and getting to know you, and learning from you!).
I made a resolution earlier this year that I wanted to be more fully human online, and this is a wonderful way to get to do that!
Here’s what I plan to put here:
essays on what I’m thinking about
bullet-point lists (my favorite writing style)
and even some guidance if you’re seeking, gulp, advice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your big and small life questions. :)
I’m calling this newsletter ‘Out of the Blue’ for a few reasons:
One, it’s a convenient color-related idiom and I’m a part-time watercolor illustrator who dresses and decorates and lives with every hue available to me. Seemed right, right??
Second, part of being a full human here is covering the vast range of topics that appeal to, interest, and amuse me: it’s going to feel random and messy because it is random and messy! But what seems to come completely out of the blue is probably something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and just haven’t had the space to share. Well, now, here we are, and I can’t wait!
And finally, I choose to be joyful every day, but at my core I’m a melancholic Victorian-poet-wannabe and I keep every heartbreak or setback very close to the forefront of my emotional landscape. I write from a blue place, and yet I’m always striving to touch the sunshine. I live with my face turned toward the light with eyes on the shadows, and I learn a tremendous amount from both. There are times I will write from out the blue, and others I will write from out the pale pink morning light, and both are very much me and very much worth my own attention.
Thank you so much for giving me your attention, and I’m so, so looking forward to getting to know you better, by sharing more of me.