New Work

November 10, 2021

Between Artists: What About Media Breaks

In our ongoing series Between Artists: A conversation with Bridgette Guerzon Mills she asks: I am super curious how your media break went. Was it hard? Did it take some time to adjust? Do you feel like it's a necessity in today's world? 

Caveat: my summer break was more about "I'm Going Outside" than taking time away from media per se though that, in fact, was what transpired so I'll answer from that perspective.

When I had my epiphany of Maybe I'm NOT a 'Working Artist' I felt this strong need to GET OUT OF THE STUDIO. Yes. I just yelled that. Much the same way you do when watching one of those horror flicks where the girl (Why always a girl? Seriously, we are NOT stupid!) says, "Gee, I heard a noise in the studio." At midnight. When alone. In the dark. During a storm. And the electricity has just gone out. Then proceeds to descend into the inky blackness. Yes. That strong. Yes. That loud. The social media aspect didn't even enter my head. I just needed to be outside, playing in the dirt with the sun beating down on my body. So it wasn't hard at all. Occasionally, a thought flickered in the back of my head, "I should put up a photo on Instagram."

FWIW, I don't frequent FB anymore. All my posts are direct uploads from Insta though I DO use FB to scroll Marketplace and the various Buy and Sells and WeShare.

And I think that happened every couple of weeks so, really not any time at all to adjust.
Is it a necessity? Well. I guess that depends on who you are and what you do. My husband, for example, has the Giants of Nova Scotia account on Insta and FB and he is maybe the most consistent poster of anyone I know. Every weekday for all eternity. Sure he's automated a lot of the work but he doesn't take "breaks". That marketing background is a hard one to get away from, I guess. Consistency is such a difficult concept for someone, ie. ME, who has a hard time with schedules and sameness and structure. (Have you SEEN my artwork?!?) From the second someone says, "I love the [fill in blank] that you do."? Just about guarantees I'll stop making said thing. I'll probably get back to it at some point but my hair trigger response is, "Ohp. Don't fence me in." and veer off in a different direction. Marketers hate me!

But what's that got to do with the potential need for media breaks? For me? I do it all the time. I unfollow accounts all the time as the whim strikes. Nothing personal, y'know, I just want to see all gardening stuff now. or art. or decorating. or vanlife. There are points in my life where I scroll and scroll and scroll ad nauseum. And other times where I barely look at my devices. I don't own a working phone (I call it 'my little computer' cuz it only works off wifi), my computer can't go online cuz it won't update to the latest version of Windows - sad, sad poverty web - and my tablet is my offline games device. Very different from the early days of the World Wide Web when I was on the BLEEDING edge. Oh! how far the mighty fall. And you know what? I'm okay with all of it!

My advice for others:

If you cannot walk outside without having a device in your pocket? Maybe it's time for a break!
If not looking at a device for more than an hour causes you to break out in a cold sweat? Maybe it's time for a break!
If your need to answer that question NOW stops your life moving forward? Maybe it's time for a break!
If you have no other way of communicating with someone? Maybe it's time for a break!

I've heard the best way for the ├╝ber addicted to get away from their devices is to: 

  1. Turn them OFF.
  2. Put them in a bag.
  3. Put them inside another bag.
  4. Tape up that bag with duct tape. Use the whole roll. 
  5. Put THAT bag in a difficult spot to get to. Your attic. A storage box in the basement. Someone else's house!

Be prepared to go through the DTs. Seriously. It'll happen. You know it's crazy. You know you *shouldn't* be reacting like that. But you will. So get ready for it. Do 4-4-4-4 breathing (4 seconds inhale. 4 seconds hold. 4 seconds exhale. 4 seconds hold) OR run around your house like a sugar-high 4 year old. Yelling helps. Flailing arms helps. Clean your house (vacuuming is the unsung hero of mind-calming busy work), like all the nooks and crannies. Organize your closet or junkdrawer. Mow the lawn. Whatever calms your brain? DO IT. Know that it gets better. Know that nothing horrible will happen. Know you are Not. That. Important.

Maybe you'll like it SO much? I'll never see you again. And that's okay. I love you. Have a nice life. Enjoy the world!

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