Friday, December 12, 2014

Instagram: How I Hate Thee...or Love Thee?

I found someone who feels the exact same way as me. The person who knows me the best, my husband, can tell you how I feel about social media. I'm not sure if I verbally lay out my thoughts to him in a clear and concise manner, but my sometimes disinterest and my turn-up of the nose looks whenever Instagram is mentioned probably say a lot. This topic fascinates me: my like-hate relationship with Instagram. I could never put my finger on why until today. Before I share with you the post that made me say 'yes!', I'd like to share that I've taken steps to re-do my Instagram account. Even before I really understood why, I knew I had to stop following the people I know. So I went from following about 300 people down to 100 and back up to 150 or so. I stopped following husbands of girlfriends, I stopped following people I used to know, I stopped following people I see sometimes on a rare occasion. It wasn't easy. As I went from profile to profile, I paused to make sure I really wanted to do this. But you know what question popped in my head as I debated whether to unfollow someone? Will they get mad at me if I'm not tied in to their life? If someone gets pregnant or loses a family member or whatever, and they announce it on social media, will I be at fault for not knowing? And of course when I take a step back and look at that line of questioning, it is amazingly ABSURD. So I tapped the unfollow button...over 200 times.

My feed then got real stupid. Going back and forth between posts from the Jehovah's Witness instagram and Tracee Ellis Ross's Instagram... opening Instagram at all became a waste of time. When I first heard about Instagram, I was in love with it. An outlet to post photography and photography only?! Whaaaaat? A place where I can look at other people's photography, illustrations, thoughts and creative ideas and become inspired! Whaaaat? Reflecting on why I joined Instagram in the first place and not wanting my feed to be stupid, I did some research. The Huffington Post popped up in my search results. "Bored By Your Instagram Friends? Here are 28 Refreshing..." Bam. That's it right there. I read on. "The difficulty is in finding accounts that breathe some much-needed fresh air into..." Yes! "...list of accounts that embody everything that's right about Instagram..." Yes! That phrase resonated with me...'that embody everything that's right about Instagram'. They are so right because there is so much about Instagram that is just so wrong. As I perused the list of refreshing new profiles, my count of people I followed went back up. 50 new little interests. Illustrators, photographers, creative thinkers... Who knew that these people were buried in here among the mass of crap?

But this isn't even the article that inspired this post. One of my recent posts is about my mental and physical cleanse which included a shutdown of social media, so when I saw this written by a woman named Kate Arends... I left Social Media For A Week. This Is What Happened... I clicked immediately. It's quite a long article so for those who aren't interesting in reading the whole thing, let me copy and paste snippets and bold where I had my aha moments.

"I’ve often wondered about the affect technology has on our moods and sense of well-being. We’re social creatures by nature with a thirst for information. Today, there’s no shortage of content to consume, and there’s more people to share it with than ever. Some could argue the digital age is what the industrial era was to the men who build America. Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg are the new Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan.  Technology is our new infrastructure."

"Then there’s mass media. And more specifically, mobile media. The newest trillion dollar industry is built to cater to a more efficient world, expanding seamlessly into the time and space where leisure once lived. Their products are designed to act as our fifth limb– to pull at our pleasure sensors– encouraging maximum usage and consumption of content. Delectable, juicy, uselessly tasty content. As a result, mass media filters into our lives through the devices we rely on to make a living.
That’s where it get complicated for me."

"The little experiment did shed light on my reliance on social media, and in many ways, my mood is just as affected by other distractions on my phone and computer. I’m feeling much better, but I’m still at risk of slipping to another depressive state. All that aside, the process ended up being surprisingly cyclical. I was reminded that my social media footprint was created to promote self-discovery, and that doesn’t have to change, because Wit & Delight existed before it’s content reached millions.  It’s a point of view and a filter; it’s my leisure, my creative laboratory, my outlet. Somehow along the way I forgot to take the time to savor and process these moments myself, and for my little family. Wit & Delight is a part of me– a real, live, human being. A real life that I live, and will continue to live, should I decide to part with social media for good."

Exactly! While Instagram has developed into a source of irritation to me, I first joined because it promoted self-discovery. Before people started following me, I posted. I could care less about likes. I did it for the art. And that, and whatever else I do should continue no matter if I'm on social media or not.

Reading Kate's article helped me. I'm glad I found her. I'm glad she was one of the 50 people who I decided to follow. My reinvention has already yielded results. I'm thinking more. I'm writing more. I'm inspired. Another reason why Kate's article helped me so much is because the only other person I have to get a relative sense of whether I'm crazy regarding my feelings for Instagram is my husband. And he LOVES Instagram. When I turn up my nose or make a comment about Instagram, he doesn't feel me. As a matter of fact, he loves Instagram for all the reasons why I hate it. So then...I start feeling like I'm the weird one. I kept fighting with myself, having conversations in my head like 'am I crazy? on a whole, doesn't Instagram cause more harm than good based on what it turned into? wouldn't the world be better if we didn't spend hours scrolling through our feeds and actually having conversation with the people to the right and left of us?' So Kate helped me. I'm not crazy. She's even connected social media to her depressive bouts and is asking questions like mine.

As I wrap up, I'll leave you with her thought provoking questions. Hopefully this helps you as much as it helped me in setting my own boundaries and coming to a healthy relationship with social media.

Plenty of people navigate the mobile media world with ease and grace. Plenty of people have unhealthy relationships with mass media and technology. The point of sharing my experiment is to discuss the link between social sharing and our mental well-being, and to raise questions about the relationship and reliance on our digital footprint. 
How real and impactful is an online persona? 
Does this mean it is essential to become more human in the digital world? 
If yes, how do we do it with authenticity, care, and purpose? 
Is curating a hyper-idealized, editorial version of yourself just another way of catfishing your followers? 
How do we be more human without disclosing too much of ourselves? 
Or, will be have to find new ways to cope with our connectedness in order to keep up with an increasingly digital environment?

Update: I just read some of the comments and look what I found! Ha! 

I read a quote on one of my new Instagram pages that mentioned how 'Me too' is one of the most comforting phrases to hear. So to this I say "Me TOO!"

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Oh Yeah!

My husband is the bomb y'all. Last night, he surprised me with a Canon 6D camera! No more Rebel Xti! He continues to invest in my gift! I love that man.

Monday, December 08, 2014


Last week was a cleansing week. After my vacation, I was feeling a bit clogged up in more ways than one, so I decided to cleanse my mind and body. Not only did I eat healthy, I avoided television and social media. A week without social media and tv taught me a few things.

1. I should read more. I am reading a business novel at the moment which is kinda interesting. I'm trying to get it read so I can gain some perspective on business issues. If it weren't for my no-tv policy, I wouldn't have started reading it.

2. I don't need to know what's going on in people's lives who I don't talk to on a regular basis. Why am I looking at pictures of a girl who I knew 10 years ago but no longer speak to? Such a waste of time. It's tricky this Instagram thing. It makes you wonder what we were doing before IG. Is IG really good for us as a society? When IG was used to showcase photography, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. But now.... Eh.

3. There are other interesting things to do other than watch tv! Like talk to my husband for instance! I think my creative process would flow a lot easier if I was forced to fill up time with something other than tv and social media. Photography and interior design used to be loves of mine. Getting rid of distractions to rekindle that fire sounds like a plan.

4. I like not feeling reliant on entertainment to feel content. It feels good to clear out the space, listen to myself think and not feel the need to tune into others lives to be entertained. My life is enough.


Friday, December 05, 2014

Love Life

Every woman has the exact love life she wants.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Hubby is hanging with the fellas tonight. Thus I've been in my arTIST bubble this evening - creating, designing, blogging and now writing. It feels good to get back into the creative zone every now and then. Especially with a very analytical job. It feels like there's very little time to do anything extracurricular now a days. This weekend felt like the first in a LONG time that I got to chill. It rained all day Saturday and for the first time in a while, we had no spiritual obligations today. I literally have not seen the outdoors in two days except for the two times I walked my dog. Laying around with my husband is the best. Now I can't do it every weekend, but once in a while, it's needed.  

I just have to say that marriage has been exceptional y'all. I don't know where this peace is coming from but boooooyyyyyyy is it good. If I could describe my marriage in one word right now, it would 'laughter'. I love hearing hubby laugh and he's been doing a lot of that lately. No matter whether it's brought forth by me or the 15-second Instagram videos he likes to watch, I'll take it. In marriage, laughter can come and go real quick. So when you have it, you gotta cherish it. Needless to say, I'm happy, which mean life is good.

I told my manager that I'm ready for a promotion. I'm not a career driven person at all being that I have another career (my ministry) that's more important to me. However, I've been an analyst for almost 10 years now and the work I currently do exceeds that of an analyst. I simply want to be paid for what I do. It's time. So I wrote my list of accomplishments, an executive summary, a business need and the new job description to fit the work I currently do. My manager keeps saying he can't promise anything, but I know, he knows and executive management knows I deserve this. 

A couple of packages should be at my doorstop this week. Fall is here and I am NOT prepared. I need to switch out my summer clothes at the end of the month. While I'm sure I have things in my storage trunk that I forgot about, I know for sure that these new coats I ordered will be necessary. Being in the ministry with a short coat on is no longer doable for me. I'm not young anymore. My butt can't be out like that. I need something that comes down to my knees at LEAST. I really want a bad, ankle-sweeping, tailored coat but I STILL can't find the perfect one. Until I do, knee or shin length ones will have to do. The next thing I need is a brown bag, tall black heel boots for work and the meeting and wedge heel boots for the ministry. Flats kill my back. A little bit of a lift does wonders for me. 

How's every else doing out there? How's life treating you? Or rather, how are you treating life?

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Ran-dumb Thoughts

Good morning...
It's been awhile.
But I wanted to check in.
Say hi to the world.
See how everyone is doing.
Life's been good.
No complaints really.
My allergies are getting aggressive.
That's new for me.

What's on my mind?
Shopping honestly.
I paid off my credit cards last month.
Even though I have one more loan to payoff...
I thought I'd be able to have a 'me' party.
You know.
Shop a little.
Congratulate myself.
I worked hard to get rid of my credit cards.
But as soon as that was done...
Replace the hvac AND the water heater.
So ever since what I thought would be mine is now gone...
I've been thinking about the shopping I could have done.
I haven't bought a pair of jeans in FOREVER.
I need at least 3 new pairs.
A camel coat is desirable in prep for the fall.
A pair of black pumps.
Can you believe I don't own a pair of black pumps?
A black pencil skirt.
Something else basic that I don't own.
For real for real, I need all the basics.
A leather jacket.
Some white t-shirts.
A black blazer.
Black cigarette trousers.
Black, white, nude and gray camis.
I basically need to ground my wardrobe.

I'm in a transition period as far as my photography is concerned.
I looked a my photos one day and all of a sudden hated them all.
My photos are 1-dimensional.
There's no emotion in them.
So I'm on a journey.
I need to book some photo shoots after I figure out what type of day I want to shoot.
September will be the perfect month for shooting.

I am feenin and I mean FEENIN for a trip to Cali.
I'd love to go soon.
Let's see what flights are looking like.
Gotta connect with hubby to see when our money will be right.
Cali in the winter would be perfect.

Duty calls.
Later peeps.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Sweet Lips

Fell in love again. Music never fails me. Music has to be female because she's always right, and perfect when I need her.

Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips. We should just kiss like real people do.


A question arose in an article I was reading.

Why not evaluate whether you can simplify your lifestyle? Can you decrease the number of possessions you have or are seeking to acquire?

Hmmm. It is my goal to preach in a foreign country. If I were asked to pick up and move to serve in Italy, Venezuela, Australia or London, would I be ready? Well the answer is obviously no, so what could I give away or trash to work in harmony with my long-term goal?

I have a whole bedroom full of crap in my house. Stuff that I never touch. I could start there. Or what about my expenses? That would affect me immediately if I got rid of some unnecessary expenses.

Cable + Netflix
Car + Gas
Religious Donations

What if we only had one car? We've done it in the past. What if I got rid of either cable or Netflix?

I always feel good when I clean out my closet. In addition to that extra bedroom, closet cleaning is a good place to start. Magazines, papers, trinkets, accessories, my wedding dress... it all needs to go.

Monday, August 04, 2014

International Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses

There's nothing more fulfilling than being a part of Jehovah's organization. Our international convention was remarkable. While our venue was new (FedEx field), distractions were high and we contended with some rain and heat, I am overwhelmed by the amount of love and unity we showed to each other. I am mostly overwhelmed by how much the slave gives and continues to give. I'm talking about the spiritual feast, the organization of a dozen international conventions put together for thousands upon thousands of people all over the earth and the hospitality. Oh the hospitality.

My husband and I were privileged to man the welcome and information desk at the Embassy Suites from 6am - 10am the day before the convention. Sitting there and happily waving to and helping brothers and sisters from different countries, some of who spoke not one lick of English was amazing. As witnesses in our local congregation meetings, we often speak about our international bond and the pure language, but to experience it is a completely different thing. I felt connected to the Brazilian couple who reminded me of me and my husband. The beauty and joy is something I will never forget. I never spoke to them, but we locked eyes, smiled and I waved like a fool to them across the convention corridor. At the information desk, I used my Google translate app to have a conversation with a sister who missed her tour bus. I gave her host directions to the botanical gardens along with my phone number in case anything went wrong. That sister called me and left a beautiful message about how wonderful everything went. When I randomly bumped into her at the convention amongst 60,000 other witnesses, we hugged and hugged and hugged.

Because of the novelty of the experience, I was very distracted. I mean who can concentrate when you are surrounded by 60,000 other witnesses from 20 something different countries. But I did manage to catch a few things. The highlights of the convention program were...

- The interview of the young brother from another country who was imprisoned for 1.5 years just a few years ago for being neutral and a JW. He almost died 3 times in a cell that was completely dark and stuffed with other witnesses.
- The candid and humorous talks given by Brother Morris, a member of the governing body. "Common sense is just not common." "That's just not bright." "I feel sorry for the time Nazis. They must lead a miserable life." His delivery was on point and he encouraged me to do nothing apart from the way Jehovah wants me to do things.
- The 2 videos that were shown depicting what the resurrection will be like and what the 1,000 years will bring after Armageddon is over. Watching that father see his resurrected child for the first time and watching that old man wash his face only to look into a mirror and notice he was young again... truly touching.
- Taking photos of my friend as she was baptized. I am so happy that she was finally able to reach her goal. As a single mother of two boys, I'm sure she was a pristine example to them when she took that wonderful step.
- My sister came Sunday afternoon............ I don't even know what else to say behind that.

I am so delighted with the way Thursday - Sunday went that I am dreading returning to this dreary, problem and stress ridden world. My friend, Shay, sent me a text message about how she could see my husband and wife up on the platform giving an interview one day about our work in the full-time service. It's amazing how many people have said that to us. So when I think about the two choices I have - to go back to work or to be in Jehovah's service - I tend to lean towards the later. I took note of all the missionaries that came out in the end to wave goodbye as they go back to their assignments. I took note of all the email addresses of international friends we could stay with if we travelled abroad. I took note of the different languages and happy blessings that some of the interviewees talked about. I took note of Marcus' old friend who moved to China and is preaching under ban. I wish I could see the world and experience this international brotherhood ALL of the time. Materialism and fear are what I think hold us back. The video release we received at the convention highlighted how strong a part faith plays in not only making big decisions but taking the steps towards those decisions. Faith is one strong fruit of the holy spirit. I can move mountains if you believe in it.

I can't forget to mention how ridiculously amazing it felt that my worldly talents were used for Jehovah. Not only did I get to choreograph a dance for the international delegates who came to visit us, but I also had the opportunity to do some photography work for the website - THE official website for the international convention for DC. I also was asked to take our congregation photo which was then given to the international delegates in their gift bags. Being used in this way really helps me to understand that I can be myself and be used by Jah. Having passions and hobbies that are outside of religion are really ok, as long as they don't crowd out spiritual things. So to have those passions be used for spiritual things is even better.

I am moved. So moved by the love the governing body shows for us. To think that it's only a FRACTION of the love that our Almighty God shows for us is...whew. There's no word to adequately describe it.  I am so thankful to have found this religion and to be a part of an organization that demonstrates how the world SHOULD be. Complete unity and love worldwide. May I NEVER take for granted being in Jehovah's love. Thank Jehovah for such a unique and wonderful experience.
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