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To Like or Not to Like: Re-Parenting in the Social Media Abyss

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

This is the year to re-parent myself. All my energy sent out to raise my son, teach countless children, nurture partners, friends, pets, plants− I can’t let myself off the hook, expect someone else to do it. I am capable, I can turn this mothering inward. Or not. I can continue to be deluded by seduction of self-promotion, likes, followers: “Look at me, love me, see me− “

entangled in the hypnosis of social media.

These envy producing machines design algorithms to hook you to stay on for the next pop-up ad. We are the bodies of profit selling: our own images freely given on the digital auction block. I have a need to share what I create but engaging in the toxic machinery of narcissistic promotion that turns participants into info-mercials of themselves, makes me pause. When I was a child I watched commercials, now we have become them.

Oh and let’s not forget how it promotes misinformation, conspiracy theories and emboldens white supremacist terrorist groups that led to the recent attempted coup at our Capitol. That’s problematic too. How can I willingly participate in this and keep my soul intact?

When I started to dream in Instagram posts I knew I was in trouble, that AI had infiltrated my unconscious, trying to pry it open. I deleted apps then uploaded them again, filled my home with plants so I wouldn't forget what’s real. Took long walks and gazed at the bay, the birds, felt my feet on the ground, the warmth of my lips on the edge of my coffee cup...

We represent images flashing on the screen, but we are not the images, though we may think we are. That’s what my mother once said about film, “It’s just flickering lights.” I take a breath, I am enough. I exhale, I am enough. As I contemplate posting this piece, I promise I will try not to care too much whether you like it or not.

Alison Hart Copyright 2020

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