Welcome to the fire.

Welcome to the fire. Where we step outside of the walls built around us to discover something more beautiful and more alive, together.

This is the beginning.

I spent too long last night with my Instagram app open on my iPad. The empty space waiting for me to fill with words to share. Words to go with the photo I had chosen. Words that probably wouldn’t reach far unless I paired them with a quirky, quick, and flashy video.

So, words that wouldn’t come.

Everything I want to say doesn’t belong there. I mean, it could go there, but it just isn’t the right place anymore. So that’s why we’re here now, building something new.

 

The breaking point for me and social media.

I started 2022 knowing I needed to begin distancing myself from social media. For my own mental health, and because I felt like I was losing valuable time and energy to it. Not just as a creator and artist, but as a person. I was missing out on the things that make me happy. And the things that bring me wisdom and challenge me to grow.

At the same time that I started my journey of rebranding my business, I took Facebook and TikTok off of my phone. And then a few months later, I decided to take a sabbatical from all social media. I removed Instagram from my phone and installed the Freedom app on my desktop, iPad, and iPhone.

I had planned to take a month-long break to get away from the noise and distractions. Rebranding my business put me in a very raw and vulnerable place, and too much outside influence was overwhelming.

What I hadn’t planned on was how angry I would get.

Something important to know about me (and something I’ll likely talk about here at times around the fire) is that I’m a recovering alcoholic. It’s still hard for me to actually say those words because even after almost 9 years of sobriety, my instinctual vision of an alcoholic holds a lot of shame for me. But the truth is there is no single defining picture of an alcoholic. It looks like all of us.

In the years since I quit drinking, I never thought I’d experience anything close to what that first month of sobriety was like. Until now.

 

My month-long sabbatical from social media was a detox.

I knew immediately what was happening that first day. I recognized the anxiety. The pull. The fear. I was addicted to the scroll. To the short-term engagement. To the immediate gratification that comes with posting, liking, watching. I was addicted to my phone and social media, and I was heartbroken over it.

When I got sober from alcohol, my biggest driving force to staying sober was knowing that I could live. I mean that in the most literal of terms, and also in the most dreamy. Sobriety gave me back to myself. Everything I am, everything I have, and everything I create is because I am sober.

So realizing that I was addicted to this stupid box in my hand, and the worlds within it made me angry. And I needed to figure out what that meant for me. Both as a person and an artist.

Because the thing about creating art and sharing it in these spaces is that what we contribute also contributes to the cycle of consumption and addiction that comes with social media.

Heavy, I know.

During my sabbatical, I read Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism and Deep Work. Both of which provided me with not only comfort throughout the process of detaching from my phone and social media. But also structure and vision for what to do next.

My sabbatical lasted longer than a month. I wasn’t ready to return. I had learned too much to go back. Eventually, I started posting from my computer again, but I never installed any social media apps on my phone again. And I’ve not been able to show up on Instagram in the same capacity as before. Because my heart isn’t in it.

 

And this is where the fire begins.

I’m still figuring out how social media plays a part in my work.

That’s why we’re here right now. While I’m not leaving social media entirely, this space is the result of me trying new things.

This is where I want to be. It’s where I want to share what I love. What I long for. What I’m creating. What I’m wondering. My thoughts and dreams and ideas. And my art. And it’s where I want to start a conversation with you.

Here around the fire, I hope we can begin something new together that brings us closer to what social media can’t ever really provide – deep and true connection.

 

Be well and wild, my friends.

 

All my love,

Marika

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