thoughts

Thoughts on Quitting Social Media…But Not Blogging

phone with social media pictures on it

This has been a long time coming…I deleted my social media accounts.

I only ever had Instagram, so it’s not as though I had that much to delete, but over the past couple of years I’ve really started wondering whether I still wanted to be on social media…I kept taking longer and longer “breaks” and after a while I realized just how much of a burden it had become. I wasn’t excited to post like I was a few years ago, and I wasn’t even going on the app to see what others were up to. It took me a long time to finally decide that I wasn’t going to go back, and that it was time for me to delete the accounts. It seems silly to say this, but since I deleted them, a burden really has been lifted!

I know I’m not alone in this (several other bloggers have also recently talked about their relationship with social media) so I thought I would share my reasons, in case they could be of use to you.

  • There is such a thing as too much inspiration. I was getting so inundated with “inspiration” that I wasn’t actually doing much myself. Instead of being inspired by the creativity of others, I just looked at what they had to share and didn’t go and create anything myself. I had burnt out. As you all know, I wasn’t blogging here anymore. I had a hard time coming up with my own creative ideas to share… which is why I originally created this blog!
  • I started comparing my posts to others. This led into a trap of feeling like what I was posting wasn’t good enough to share. Especially for my art shop account, there was so much pressure to be constantly trying to “sell” my artwork. After much thought, I’ve come to realize that social media is like a stage. It’s not your “own space” because it’s on someone else’s platform, and every person on that platform/stage is doing their act all at the same time, competing against the algorithm to try and get some attention and be at the top of the popularity contest. Whereas a blog, to me at least, feels like an invitation into your own space. There may be some drawbacks to that, as not as many people may be able to find you as easily, but people come in to your blog to stay for a while instead of just scrolling down the app. I want to build this little blog back up again, without the constant pressure to outperform everyone else.
  • I was tired of having a “brand”, yet also feeling the pressure to be “authentic”. I realized that the more privacy you erode through sharing snippets of your life, you can end up oversharing. While people might feel that they know you, because of what you have shared and invited them into, in reality they don’t know the real you. We all curate what we show online (creating our own “brand”), but social media is especially good at blurring that line in order to create “authenticity” and I found that on Instagram it’s really easy to overshare; more-so than on my blog. The truth is that you’ll never really get to know someone fully via social media and while I do want to be open, I don’t have the personality for the “social” aspect of social media. I am an introvert and I don’t even socialize that much in real life! After a while I found that for me, it was actually quite draining to be so engaged all of the time- which is what is required of those who succeed on those platforms.
  • Sadly there was a lot negativity and general nastiness this year… and I wasn’t even on Twitter! For some reason, things started to get so negative, perhaps as a result of tensions in peoples’ real lives coming through to their online spaces? It’s definitely been a hard and stressful past year, but I saw so much negativity which really took away the fun, and I found myself avoiding using Instagram because of it.
  • I didn’t want to be a content creator anymore. I was creating so much content, and all for the benefit of Instagram! They were the ones getting paid for all of my work! All of the art I shared on my studio account for the past few years, only resulted in a couple of sales. And I never received a penny from Instagram as a result of directing people to their app, keeping them there, and racking up their ad revenue. I had never thought about it this way before until I watched this video in August (I don’t know anything about this lady; I just came across her video). She talks about how she became a better artist once she quit social media, because the pressure was off and she could pour her time into her work, rather than trying to curate an aesthetic feed or trying to sell her work to people who could watch her content for free, without ever having to actually buy any of it. She really hit the nail on the head with that one! Granted, some people have been able to create very successful businesses with the help of social media, and I have even discovered some talented artists through the app, but I don’t have the personality for it. While it may work for some, I realized that I was never going to be that person.
  • It was so addicting: the more you are on social media, the more you want to spend time there. After reading several articles about the tech industry, you begin to realize that it’s not all “in your head” and these apps are actively working against you and your brain! Once I broke that addiction, I didn’t crave to be back on it. I had essentially been gone from Instagram since July, but it took me a few months after that to officially write a “goodbye” post. At the time I thought that I might one day return, but the longer I was gone the less I wanted to. Even though I still was signed into my Instagram account on my computer, I never checked in to see other people’s posts. So instead I followed all of those people on their blogs or Youtube channels, if they had them, bookmarked their shops to keep in mind for potential future purchases, said goodbye, and then deleted my account.
  • Finally, Instagram (owned by Facebook) released their new data policies on December 20 and they are quite invasive. I was just really tired of having to sign away all of my privacy in order to use their app, especially since I wasn’t even using it any more! It’s not what I had signed up for originally, so their new policy was what gave me the kick in the pants to actually do what I had been thinking of for months.

Ultimately the real reason I quit was because it wasn’t fun anymore. While I enjoyed it when I signed up back in 2016 (originally so I could participate in Fashion Revolution), it’s changed a lot since then, and so have I. And ultimately, if something isn’t fun and you have no responsibilities to it…then why are you doing it? So, I made that final push and it seems to have been the right decision.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any drawbacks of quitting social media. I’ve discovered that a lot of my favourite bloggers are no longer blogging, and are focusing exclusively on Instagram, so I won’t be able to see any of their future posts. I’ve also put a lot of thought into how this might affect plans for an online shop. Social media can be a good tool for networking. While it is the right decision to make for now, because my art account was actually stopping me from creating, and wasn’t adding any benefits, this might be something I need to revisit in the future.

Despite these drawbacks, I have already seen several benefits. Because I am not filling my time with scrolling, I have found the time to craft and sew again! I’m also happy to return to this blog and am excited to write posts for the first time in a long time! I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking up ideas for some new posts, and even what I would like the future of the blog to look like.

One thing I did keep from my Instagram account, was my bio. I had spent quite a bit of time brainstorming a focus for my IG account, and have decided that I would like to incorporate it here too. Not much is really going to change, but I’ve settled on:

“sustainable fashion and lifestyle with a vintage sensibility”. 

I think that encompasses rather well the things I am interested in sharing and it’s kind of nice having a “mission statement” to keep me going in the right direction. Some of the topics I’ve been thinking about lately are creating a clear style vision, using minimalism as a tool for your wardrobe, zero waste lifestyle, sustainable fashion, crafts and sewing projects, more of my artwork and photography, vintage fashion, more “life lately” sorts of posts and, as always, outfits (at least when I have something to dress up for!)

So, if you have made it this far, thank-you for reading my ramblings! I hope that these topics sound interesting to you, and that you’ll stick around. Here’s to 2021 being a better blogging year than the last!

And a very Happy New Year everyone! I hope that your year is off to a great start!

Life Lately: Spring is Here

row of plants, life lately

Hello everyone! It’s been a rather crazy past few weeks for me, so it’s nice to sit down with a cup of tea and put together a blog post. Without getting into too many details, the month of March was a crazy and long and tiring 31 days- it was exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically- so I am glad to be done with it and moving on to April!

Ss, some of these pictures are from my Instagram, and I thought I’d post them here- along with some other photos I’ve taken in the past few weeks.

It’s finally starting to feel like Spring around here, and the flowers are starting to come up. This little viola on the right side is only about 2″ tall, and it’s been blooming ever since it popped up through the snow!

flowers coming up, life lately

It’s always nice to use the fine china when you invite friends over for tea and cake. And it’s nice to eat up the leftover strawberries for breakfast the next day too 🙂

life lately, tea party

The trees are starting to bud out, finally!

blue skies, life lately

Part of the exhaustion in March was due to my sister and I moving out of our apartment. We thought we were getting a new place, but it all fell through, and so I’m now looking for a new place and temporarily living with my family. I’m so thankful that I can live with them, while I find a new housing situation!

My mom bought me tulips a few weeks ago. I love how fluid they are! And on the right, is one of the last sunsets from our previous apartment. I’m going to miss seeing that view every day!

tulips and sunset

I love how colourful the rhubarb leaves, on the right, are! They are such a bold pop of colour amid all of the brown around them.

plants coming up

Just some cute little cactuses of my mom’s growing in her window. And, even though I will miss the view at our old apartment, at least my parents live on a lovely acreage with lots of trees to enjoy!

cactuses and trees

Anyways, these are just some photos I’ve taken over the past few weeks- I’m glad that Spring is finally here! Although it was a bit colder this past week, it’s nice to be able to pack away the winter coats and boots (I hope I’m not too optimistic with that…) and start thinking about Spring and warm weather outfits!

How is your April, so far?

Failing at Ethical Fashion

mustard sweater feature

I was almost hesitant to share these photos, and for a reason that isn’t readily apparent. It’s not because my hair wasn’t quite cooperating this day, my camera wasn’t focusing properly or because it was really warm in the house and I was eager to get this sweater off.

It’s because this outfit fails at ethical fashion.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, it won’t come as a surprise that I care about responsible fashion- I talk about it a lot. I take part in Fashion Revolution each year. The majority of my clothing is secondhand. I sew slowly and thoughtfully- I try to make sure that each of the items I make are ones that will add value to my closet. I don’t technically have a “capsule” wardrobe, but each and every item is chosen carefully and definitely worn more than 30 times.  I very seldom purchase anything new, and when I do, I try to buy natural fibres, and search out ethical brands if possible.

I love fashion (no surprise there), but seeking to be purposeful and ethical in a world where fast fashion is the norm, can be hard.

And sometimes when you find a mustard yellow sweater, you buy it.

mustard sweater 3

A few weeks ago, I was visiting a local clothing store with my mom and sister, trying to help my mom find a sweater, and as we were looking, I came across this mustard yellow sweater. I’ve been looking for a long time (a couple of years) for some mustard yellow pieces, since it is my favourite colour, but is extremely hard to find!

Since it was on sale, I bought it.

And then I immediately started thinking about the fact that it is made out of rayon and polyester, and dyed with a toxic mix of chemicals, and was made in China, and other than that, I definitely don’t know “who made my sweater”, and then I started regretting it, because this is not ethical fashion, and how can I call myself an ethical fashion proponent, when I just made a very unethical shopping choice?

mustard sweater 1

But I’ve been doing some thinking lately, and I would like to share a few of thoughts on whether it’s possible to be completely “ethical” in your shopping choices.

I participated in a course that Fashion Revolution was offering a while ago. It was an interesting activity, but the one thing that stuck out to me, was this response by the founder of Fashion Revolution, Orsola De Castro to the question, “Is it possible to have a 100% sustainable or ethical wardrobe?”

I don’t think it’s possible to have 100% clothes that were designed or made sustainably or ethically. I think that is going to be very difficult, but it is possible to make sustainable and ethical choices about all of the clothes you have in your wardrobe. So, somehow, you can refresh with love and turn them into something they weren’t originally. . . You can do things like shop at Primark and H&M, but with the same respect if you were shopping somewhere like Gucci. You’ve got to treat your fiver like it was $500, and choose that piece not because you are “stress shopping at Zara”. We are not stress shopping at Zara: we are “deep love shopping at Primark” or Zara or wherever. . . Because, if we were to commit to 100% not putting one foot wrong, we would be damaging ourselves and our wardrobes immensely, and also the people who actually make our clothes, because there are an awful lot of people making clothes who are waiting for the industry to ameliorate, and what are we going to do in the meantime?  Boycott them all? As consumers, we still buy that product. We just buy it in a different way, so we can give a really strong message to the brands. This message might be “Slow down”. This message might be “No, we don’t want five for the price of one; we want one well made piece for the price of five”.

This past year I have started going zero waste in my lifestyle. At first, I thought the concept of “zero waste” was to try and produce no garbage at all. We’ve all seen the pictures of people’s “trash jars” where they are able to fit all of their garbage from the past year (or more) into one glass jar. It’s inspiring to think about living a life that doesn’t result in garbage, but it’s not completely realistic for most people.

I live in a small town, and there is no bulk store. Cauliflower comes wrapped in plastic. I recycle or compost everything I can, but still end up with garbage at the end of the day.

As I’ve been reading more, and started following several zero wasters on Instagram, one thing that keeps coming up is the fact that we are currently living in a culture that is designed to result in garbage. “Zero waste” doesn’t mean that you are producing zero garbage, but is rather a name for a movement that is trying to restructure our global economy to one designed to be circular, where garbage isn’t part of the cycle. Today our products (whether it’s clothing, or food or other things) are designed with waste. It’s impossible to create “zero waste” as a consumer. And even if you think that you are doing a fairly good job, there is garbage that has been created before the product even reaches you. (I work in a shop, and the amount of packaging garbage that is thrown out before a product even reaches the shelf is astounding.)

mustard sweater 4

But again, this quote by Instagrammer Andrea Sanders (@bezerowastegirl) has been bopping around in my head for a while:

“Zero Waste isn’t easy because it’s an infrastructure that doesn’t exist right now. Access to bulk stores, fresh markets and the like are not accessible to most. Everyone makes trash. Period. Do what you can. Never feel guilty because you can’t do something. There is no absolutism.”

And so, it makes me ask: Was this sweater an unwise shopping decision after all? Am I “failing” at ethical fashion?

Our current fashion culture is one that is driven by the need to buy more and more, regardless of how much we already own, but when I purchased this sweater, I wasn’t buying it from a fast fashion perspective.

I have been searching for a mustard yellow sweater for a few years, so it was not a spur of the moment purchase. It was “deep love” shopping, not buying for the sake of buying.

It is estimated that wearing a garment at least 30 times, reduces the carbon, waste and water footprint of a garment by 20%-30%. I wear all my clothes at least 30 times, and despite the fact that this sweater is not made of completely natural fibres, it is well sewn and will last me many years. I also take care of my clothes, and will be hand washing this one to help increase it’s lifespan.

mustard sweater 2

It’s a tricky issue. I can’t say that I’m completely convinced that I should have bought it. Maybe if I had waited a while longer I would have come across something in mustard yellow that would have ticked all the boxes, but then again, maybe not.

I want my wardrobe to be 100% ethical, but that’s not really feasible right now. If 95% of my wardrobe is ethical fashion, then is the 5% that isn’t ethical, OK? Where do you draw the line? Is there a line? How do you balance want vs. need, especially with something as “frivolous” as fashion?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. How do you decide for your own wardrobe?

mustard sweater 7

mustard sweater 7

mustard sweater sleeve

mustard sweater 6

Life Lately and an Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers

Life Lately and An Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers, on a chair

Well it’s been a busy month. October, I mean, not November. We’re only 5 days into November. Well, it’s been busy too, actually now that I think about it. . .  Anyways, I am finding myself sitting in front of this computer screen, again, trying to write this blog post that has taken me far too long to write. And I have been reflecting on how the changing circumstances in my life have changed my presence here on the internet, and how I have been neglecting this little blog. (Being a responsible adult is cutting into my creative time. Seriously, why so many dishes?!?) So, just some point form thoughts, bits of updates on things, and some links to blog posts, or articles that I found interesting.

  • These flowers were given to me as a housewarming gift from my sister at the end of September. I just threw the last of them out last week- I couldn’t believe that the cut flowers lasted 4 weeks!
  • Part of my busyness in October was because I was preparing for an exhibit that I have up for the month of November, at a local library. It’s not really an “exhibit” as it doesn’t have a single theme or inspiration, as it is comprised of anything I had ready to show, which was a mixture of photography and watercolour. I have a few pictures of that display, here on my studio instagram. It was a bit difficult to take the photos, because of the poor lighting, but at least I got a few!
  • I haven’t been very good at keeping up with my studio and shop lately, but I was able to set aside some time this weekend to plan and prep some things for that, and I’m going to (hopefully) be better at keeping up! I have some new pieces in the works, and if you’d like to stay updated on what I am doing art-wise, I would love it if you follow me over at my instagram @theartyologist_studio!

Life Lately and An Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers, bouquet on chair and details

  • This little quiz that Mariam of the Petite Bijou shared in her instagram story the other day is fun. It’s only three questions, but I took the quiz and was pleasantly surprised by the results. I have been trying to create a more defined and cohesive wardrobe, as I’ve talked about before, so finding out which colours look best on me, was rather helpful. I got: “Rich, earthy shades of red, orange, yellow, green, and brown, peach, coral, and red violet, warm grays (mushroom, taupe) and off-whites, periwinkle and teal”. Well, most of those just happen to be colours that I am drawn to anyways! Did you take the quiz? What colours did you get?
  • This post by Bianca of The Closet Historian is a great one, about blogging and how she grew and then shrank her blog. This is something I have struggled with along the way too, with my own blog. Trying to stay true to what I want to share, but also trying to juggle what people want to read. And not getting too obsessed with the numbers. If you have a blog, do you struggle with “the numbers” too?
  • I have been feeling a bit discombobulated lately, and I haven’t been doing many outfit photos lately or even any blogging. Since moving, I have had a hard time coordinating with my sister to do photos. That and it’s basically winter now, and so it gets dark so early. But, I am trying to get back in the swing of things, and post regularly again! I have some ideas for posts, so now I just have to do them.

Life Lately and An Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers, sculptural bouquet

  • This article about smartphones was completely eye opening. If you have 10 minutes, read this article. Seriously, do it. While I would not consider myself to be as addicted to my smartphone, as they talk about in the article, I do notice myself sometimes getting a little too attached to it, and am taking steps to reduce my screen time. (Hard to do when your job and your hobbies all involve computers!) Anyways, it is a great article, so I would definitely recommend it! Do you struggle with smartphone addiction- what do you do to reduce your time spent on your phone?
  • Fashion Revolution recently released a podcast about “Who Made My Clothes”. I actually have not found the time to listen to it yet, and I am planning to this week. If you’d also like to listen to it, you can find it here. UPDATE: I just listened to the podcast today, and it was a really great investigation into the garment industry. It kind of does a whole overview, then focusing on specific issues, and also gives some great examples of how we can enact change in the industry. I would definitely recommend listening to it! There are 3 episodes of about 25 minutes each.
  • Is it seriously only 50 days left until Christmas?!?! Not that I’m trying to jump things, but I am getting ready to do a couple of Christmas craft shows this month and next, and the Christmas season is just rushing at me! It’s a lot of work involved, doing Christmas sales, but it’s a lot of fun too, as I do them with my sister.

So, that’s a bit of what I have been up to, and I think that’s all I have to share for now. I hope you have had a lovely and relaxing weekend, and that this next week is a good one for you too!

Life Lately and An Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers, flower details