Cultivating your own garden

Hello all!

My goodness, it has been a long long time since I’ve last written here. Two years have gone by without me writing a single post on this blog, I got swept up in Instagram, the ease of sharing on stories and the concise posts it allowed made writing on here seem cumbersome and unnecessary.

The last two years have been extraordinary, no doubt about it. 2020 was… well, need I add any more commentary to the rabble already said about it everywhere? I think not.

Ultimately what has prompted me to write here again is because I’ve quit Instagram. It was the new privacy policy and data usage terms that gave me the push, but Instagram was making me weary. I had taken numerous breaks over the past two years from it, but this time around its been a clean break.

That heaviness that I carried around, seemingly not knowing the source, has lifted. My head feels clearer and I feel attuned to my inner voice. No more endless stream of images and commentaries scrolling through my conscious mind, impacting my subconscious. No more exposure to the thousands of opinions shouted from every platform about every single thing under the sun. No more feelings of dread as to what polarising, fear laden attitudes I might be exposed to every time I open my feed or stories.

Just silence.

Just living life.

Mine.

Some weeks after my departure I spoke to my husband about the aftermath, how light I felt, and conversely realising how miserable it was to be on Instagram. He mentioned a short video that seemed relevant to my experience. It was a short summary of Voltaire’s novel “Candide”, where he spoke of the need to “cultivate your own garden”. Here is the link to the video, and I highly recommend you watch it.

It certainly was relevant. When on Instagram there seems to be no end to the number of things we “must know” in order to be a modern, enlightened, politically (culturally, racially, religiously, ethnically, spiritually etc etc) sensitive person. If you spoke of certain current cultural movements, your commentary was nitpicked down to the last word, or your authority to even comment was attacked because you were outside of that culture. If you commented on lifestyle choices, such as health, diet or anything else, a thousand people were waiting to tear down your choices due to a), b) or c). If you didn’t comment on current issues at all, you were considered out of touch, dimwitted or privileged. Anything that you shared (or in fact, didn’t share) was brutally picked and torn apart, bound to offend someone out there in the nether world of the Internet, leaving you (me) feeling despair. Like I was never doing enough about anything. Feeling constantly like I wasn’t knowledgable about anything… simply inadequate.

The silence that came with quitting Instagram felt heaven sent. It was such a simple solution to what felt like a spiralling descent into sheer confusion and depression. The centre of my days became myself, my family and my work, not this endless game of playing catch up to inform myself of everything “important” going on in the world which apparently I “had” to comment on simply because I had a public platform.

I feel drained just talking about it here.

Voltaire’s message to “cultivate your own garden” seems to tie in with a Hadith (a saying from the Prophet Muhammad pbuh) that in times of great discord, one should flee to the mountains. Quitting Instagram seems like a metaphoric escape to the mountain of my home, my family and my life. A shutting out of all the noise which I really don’t need to hear, an opportunity to get in touch with my own inner voice simply by living my life. Focussing on cultivating my own garden i.e. my self, my children, homeschooling, my relationships etc. And my actual garden, my backyard which is blooming something beautiful, with me and the kids coming up with lots of plans for change and improvement.

I do feel a desire to spend time engaging in conversation with you all here though.

A return to a slower, more thoughtful mode of communicating with the wider world. A post-Instagram life can initially seem quite dark. Especially if one doesn’t make the conscious effort to keep in touch with friends in the real world. So much of our social “interaction” seems to happen passively on Instagram. Viewing friends’ stories gives us an insight into their lives and makes us feel as though we are interacting with them. It cuts out phone calls, and messaging back and forth to check up on one other. Worse still, we somehow believe that what we see on their Instagram accurately depicts how they are and what their lives are like when it only represents a tiny selected slice of their lives.

Whilst I can’t promise consistency, I’m making a sincere intention to share slices of my thoughts, bits of my life, a smattering of home school related content, maybe some style inspiration and home decor.

I would love to hear from you as well! Have you quit Instagram? If you’re still on it, how do you cope with the insanity of it all? And what would you like for me to post about on this blog? Looking forward to engaging with you all again here soon… xx

6 thoughts on “Cultivating your own garden

  1. Welcome back! I’ve been contemplating quitting Instagram for a while now actually… it’s just not as fun as WordPress or VSCO for me. whenever I feel overwhelmed by social media I simply log off and move my body (walking, dancing) something light and simple for movement πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! Yes, movement is definitely the way to go I think, and something I’m not really trying yet. Gardening would count methinks?

  2. I loved reading this post and your thoughts and reflections as yes, I’ve missed you on instagram!

    I still find joy on IG and truthfully, it’s still cosy for me as I don’t have a huge following and don’t think I ever will. But there are long stretches of not posting because I need to put the creative energy elsewhere… Somewhere that lasts. I wont say somewhere that makes a difference because I know our online connections have real-world affects, but just something that has a place to be referenced from, if that makes sense.

    Looking forward to catching up here on the blog – like in the olden days when comment sections were gold 🌟

    1. Aw thank you Aiysha! I must admit that I do miss that cosiness that IG can offer, especially if you’ve built a great community of like minded people around your page. And 100% yes to bringing the comments section back on blogs!

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