Let’s Talk About What This Blog Post Is Really About, Shall We?
Prioritizing Creativity & Blogging
In an effort to work toward three of my main goals for the year: Prioritizing Creativity, Embracing Imperfection, and Accepting Reality, I’m coming to you LIVE (well, not really live) from the gym parking lot to get these thoughts out of my head as fast as possible so
- I can move on with my day
- I don’t forget them — though I’m not really sure how one would forget the fact that a spider fell out of their hair but I digress.
On my never-ending quest to understand the chaos that is my brain, I’ve come to a few realizations about my creative process and my writing that I think will help me show up more consistently (and authentically) here going forward.
However, please join me in managing expectations (one of my other 2022 goals) and notice that I said that I think I’ll be able to show up more consistently. I sure want to share more here — heck, I would live in my blog if I could — but my brain does what it wants I’m trying to accept that reality.
See? 2022 Goals. Crushing em.
When I first started blogging in 2009, I posted three times a day.
Let me say that again just in case you didn’t get it the first time.
I Used To Publish Three Blog Posts A Day
What? How? I can barely manage one text message a day. Where did I find the motivation to open my blog and write three times a day?
Off of Instagram. That’s where.
Instagram wasn’t a thing back then. IN MY DAY, we bloggers used Twitter to get our point across… in 140 characters or less. Of course, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I often have A LOT to say. My longwindedness is the reason I am incapable of sending a quick email and why communicating through text messages really stresses me out. So, you can probably see how Twitter didn’t take away from the time I spent writing on my blog but instead, encouraged it.
When Instagram came along, I was admittedly intimidated. As someone who was bullied in middle and high school without ever knowing exactly why, writing to strangers on the Internet felt comfortable and safe. I was used to spending the majority of my creative energy spilling my thoughts into a blog post or tweet but Instagram changed that. Instagram. Changed. Blogging.
Instagram & Autistic Masking
Seemingly overnight it wasn’t enough to just write anymore. There were specific rules to follow in order to keep your “brand” current. Bloggers were suddenly expected to pick the perfect photo to grab their readers’ attention and our writing was judged not by our storytelling abilities but by whether we knew how to shoot an Insta-worthy photo or make an eye-catching graphic. At the time, I considered writing to be my sole creative talent and this new world of blogging demanded that we wear every single artistic hat all at once.
Late-diagnosed autistics talk a lot about masking. Despite going a huge portion of our lives not knowing that we’re neurodivergent, we all seem to develop the ability to hide our true personalities and instead display a version of ourselves that doesn’t actually exist. We become so good at following the rules, doing what we think we’re supposed to do, believing that there is only one right way to navigate through life that by the time we receive a diagnosis, it’s almost impossible to distinguish where our fake selves end and our real selves begin.
This blog has always been the one place I’ve never felt the need to mask. Writing gives me a way to gather my thoughts, of which there are many, and eloquently tell you about them. There are no awkward pauses, tripping over words, or interrupting because I can never quite figure out the right time to speak. There are no social niceties or expectations that you give anything in return. There is just this empty screen, my keyboard, and you, the reader, choosing (or not) to take it all in and to know my voice without ever hearing it at all.
As I watch my words flow across the screen, I know that this space is mine and mine alone. There is no format I have to follow. I make the rules and the people who consistently come back to read what I have to say don’t mind that there are no flashy graphics, perfect photos, or just the right combination of hashtags.
Yet over the past several years, I’ve found myself defaulting to Instagram when I want to share any and all of my thoughts. It has become second nature to open the app and post to my story; I can do it with my eyes closed. The words that fill my IG photo captions only make it here if I run out of space. I’m not sure when exactly it happened but at some point, I convinced myself that posting on Instagram was more manageable than opening a blank page to post here. I told myself that blog posts have to be one way while IG posts can be whatever I want when in fact, it’s the exact opposite. What I’ve realized is that by spending all my creative energy on Instagram and following all of the trends and rules about what to post and what not to post, I’ve lost the ability to truly be myself…to remove the mask.
For a while now, I’ve considered slowly weaning off of Instagram. Not only because Facebook (who owns Instagram) is evil and has made it increasingly more difficult for creators to have their work seen by their audiences but because I’ve realized that Instagram is stifling my creativity and pushing me to try to reach standards that I’ll never be able to reach. Being so worried about doing or saying the right thing often leads to me saying nothing at all.
And, yes, while I know that my blog posts tend to go on forever, I’m letting go of the idea that if I don’t have a lot to say or if my thoughts don’t seem like “blog-worthy” material then I can’t post them here. Because this is my space and I get to decide what is and isn’t OK to publish. I refuse to have my work held hostage by an algorithm or the fear that one day IG will delete my entire account and all of that creative energy along with it. When I write these words here, I know that it is where they will stay and that the people who find them are the ones who were meant to all along.
My Blog, My Rules
So, starting today, I’m making a conscious effort to direct my creative energy to this blog first. That’s not to say I will stop posting on Instagram completely. I do enjoy sharing on my stories and receiving messages from the people who follow me there, but I’d honestly much rather foster that community here.
I’d rather have those who truly enjoy my work, subscribe to my mailing list so I don’t have to rely on social media to get the word out about new blog posts or new products in my shop. And most of all, so I don’t have to hide my personality to ensure that I’m creating the “right” type of social media post and following a certain set of rules.
Here, I make the rules, even when those rules mean rounding out a serious blog about prioritizing creativity and dropping the mask with a story about spiders in my hair because 1) I’m nothing if not ridiculously serious and seriously ridiculous, and 2) I refuse to use a clickbaity blog title without following through. So without further ado, I present to you:
When Life Gives You Spiders…In Your Hair
Last week, I was in the bathroom, minding my own business, when I suddenly felt something drop from my head onto the floor.
It was one of those moments where I already knew what had happened without even looking because honestly, I always expect there to be spiders in my hair. I have contamination OCD, remember? I wake up in a cold sweat at least once a week, 100% believing that my pillow is made of stink bugs and I routinely scream at rogue hair ties that mysteriously fall out of my hair and slither down my neck. So, of course, my first thought as I sat on the toilet that day was obviously, “I bet that was a spider.”
AND I WAS RIGHT! Don’t ever doubt my intuition again.
So, what I think happened was that while I was down in the basement doing the laundry that morning, a tiny spider friend descended from the ceiling and was like, “oh, her head looks like a nice place to hang, let’s do that,” and he/she/they (I don’t know their life) was just chillin’ in my hair, minding their own business, until I so rudely started to get ready to take a shower.
NOT TODAY, REBECCA!
Then they were like, “NOT TODAY, REBECCA!” and jumped off my head and onto the floor.
And I was all, “AHHHHHHH”
And Hudson was all, “WOOF WOOF WOOF.”
And Jeff was all, “ ”
Because we’ve been together for 500 years so he’s used to me screaming and doesn’t try to save me anymore. Thanks a lot, Jeff.
AND THEN, in a moment of pure panic, I grabbed some toilet paper and crushed my spider friend, which I immediately regretted because they were just trying to live their best spider life, ya know? And I took that from them.
A moment of silence, please, as I mourn the loss of my hair spider. May they rest in peace.
Murder & Other Shenanigans
As I quietly contemplated the murder I had just committed and thought about what I wanted to eat for breakfast, I realized that Jeff actually got on a work call at the exact same time my spider friend attempted their escape, which can only mean one or all of these things (the world may never know):
- He might not have rushed to my rescue because he was doing important work things.
- The person on the call possibly heard me scream and Jeff had to tell them, “Don’t worry. She screams all the time. I almost crash the car every time she sees a dog out the car window. She’s fine.”✨
- Jeff planted the spider in my hair and was too busy laughing with his coworkers about it to console me after my tragic loss.
Why Is it So Hard For Spiders to Get Therapy in This Country?
I decided to consult my psychiatrist at our appointment that morning, but first I had to go back into the basement to
collect more hair spiders finish my laundry.
I put on my “Therapy Makes You Hotter” beanie from Alec With Pen just in case another spider thought about joining my head. That way, I could take it with me to my psychiatrist appointment.
Unfortunately, I experienced a couple of barriers that really drove home how hard it is for spiders to get therapy in this country. It’s unacceptable if you ask me.
The first barrier that kept my hair spiders from receiving the mental health care they need and deserve was the fact that my laundry wasn’t done yet so I didn’t have to go in the basement again after all.
Damn laundry. Always ruining things. Who needs it anyway!?
The second barrier was that I somehow put the wrong appointment date on ALL 57 OF MY CALENDARS, and when I logged in to try to join our call, my psychiatrist had to send a message to deny me and my hair spiders access to her wisdom (and ADHD drugs).
So I never got the chance to ask if she was in on The Great Hair Spider Planting of 2022. (Not to be confused with The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018, which my former therapist was DEFINITELY in on. I have no proof but I told you not to doubt my intuition, didn’t I?)
Actually, I did get the chance during our actual appointment two days later but I forgot because I have ADHD, which is why I need ADHD drugs.
Speaking of which, unfortunately, I have another installment in my Why Getting Help For ADHD Isn’t ADHD-Friendly series that never should have become a series at all but it is so here’s part one and part two to read while I rage-write part three.
At least you had spiders to laugh about today. For tomorrow, there will be war.
(Well, probably not tomorrow and I’m too introverted to start a war but eventually, I’ll write part three and you can rage with me.)
As always, thank you for reading!