Sometimes I worry I'm too much of an introvert/loner/non-conformist to ever be any good at this whole social media thing/building a tribe/community. Then my brain flips and I think: I'm too much of an extrovert to not seek some sort of online connection. (Not that virtual connection is any sort of worthy goal, except that it is, because IRL I seem to get together with friends too infrequently too sustain my need of heartfelt communion, so virtual connection can be a little crumb of sustenance.)
I took one of those Breyer-Miggs test recently. It said I was 11% more introverted than extroverted.
I'm letting my kid play hooky from school cuz I think she seems stressed and needs a day off to catch up/do nothing/help her sister "make carrots for their bunny." I feel great about our connection and pride myself on breaking the rules of school attendance and make another mental note of how homeschooling would probably be a much better fit to my personal philosophies. Then my other kid says he hates me before I'd poured my morning coffee and I bemoan the fact that I didn't pack them all off to pre/school, sick or not, today. He throws his flailing arms 'gainst the floor because I put his breakfast onto the small plate instead of the big one. Then he slams the door (working on it), and my upstairs neighbor sends me a scathing text, schooling me on the structural makeup of a 1920's building, how sound rattles and travels, and how my kids' door slamming gave her a mini-heart attack last week so I'd better get it under control. My kid-who-hates me comes to snuggle in my lap.
I look at another photographer's work this morning and am filled with longing and melancholy. I look at another's and feel like I want to punch a wall. I think: I should get back to my family photography and client work and really put myself out there. Then my brain flips and I think: I really do need more time alone to go deeper with my personal photography work. I wonder if I'll ever be able to produce a body of work as powerful as the Larry Sultan retrospective I just saw at LACMA.
I surf over to check in with a homeschooling/homesteading community I follow and imagine how they've probably milked the cows, fed the goats and gathered eggs from the chickens as the rooster crowed and their photographer mom took idyllic, magical pictures of her kids (who are not at all suffering from nature deficit disorder) in a field in that perfect early-morning light, children dressed in socially and environmentally conscientious organic Laura Ingalls Wilder-looking threads from small-run-production designers as they begin their artful homeschooling day. I think: we should buy a small farm with 20 acres and a goat.
Then I flip over to some other moms' feeds who are killing it in the work force, mostly in creative fields. I ooh and ahh over their latest creations/successes, cheering them on and imagine their gentle-parenting-trained nanny swooping in to a perfectly designed home at 6am so mom can sleep in for another half hour, then take a shower and dress herself and her kids in the latest artisanal, small-run, boutique designer threads from Spain that I was eyeing online last night as I considered which meals we could forsake so that I could afford three of those $80 cute t-shirts-- one for each kid--instead. I read their selfie posts with links to all their articles of well-coifed clothing sourced from Guatemala and socially conscious brands as I slide on my Target sweatpants. I imagine them feeding their children a farm-to-table breakfast as I myself skip the organic eggs this morning in favor of unwrapping a strawberry granola cereal bar thingy (does that count as a fruit? do I get points if it's organic?) for my kids so I can steal 10 minutes to myself to write before I go insane. I think: I should hire a nanny and start killing it in the work force. Also, I sure do hope someone buys that designer t-shirt for their kid and then casts it off at our local kids consignment shop so I can scoop it up because damn, it sure is cute.
My kids want another breakfast-- what a granola bar wasn't sufficient?-- and I regret that we ever became health conscious enough to stop buying boxed cereal because dang that sure would be quick and easy right now. I kiss my kid and say, "Ok, I'll cook you something." "I yicked you Mom!" he says, having just dragged his tongue across my leg (his greatest sign of affection) and runs off to the other room to build castles with his sis.
I know both worlds I've just imagined are illusions, yet I can't help but feel slightly stuck between the two, like I'm straddling both worlds... But maybe one 11% more than the other.