PSA: Project Cyclops

I’m sitting in Pret a Manger writing a blog post I’ve had no idea how to write. When you take a few weeks of blogging, you suddenly log on one day and realise you haven’t written anything for three months, despite thinking most days “I should write something for Plutonium Muffins”.

One of the things I’ve been experiencing this year has been a general fatigue concerning anything to do with social media, the Internet, technology and growing up in a world that doesn’t seem to know which way is up, and how to get by without losing yourself in an endless stream of memes, bad news, and carefully curated and edited photographs by other people that make you think you’re doing everything wrong because you’re the one who hasn’t got your life together.

The result of this has been a virtual sabbatical from most things social media. One of the podcasts I listen to (Hello Internet) has two presenters, one of whom has taken on “Project Cyclops”, where he has banned himself from all social media including reddit and Twitter. He doesn’t even listen to podcasts anymore. It’s been interesting listening to him talking about it – somewhat inspirational even. I don’t think going that extreme is something I plan to do, but it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about. A lot.

To add to all of this, the other day I lost my phone following a series of unfortunate and emotionally challenging events. I’m still not sure what is going to happen and if I’ll get it back (let’s just say I’m never using Uber again and I plan to file a police report on Monday). Being 100% isolated from my phone and therefore the rest of the world was a nice and a horrible experience at the same time.

I hadn’t realised how much of an effect constant contact with the world was having on me. The chance to have a break for a few days from constant messages, even if it was just my friends sharing interesting articles or talking about the latest news in the world of weddings, was actually incredible. I walked out of my house on Friday morning and felt absolutely untethered in a way that I can’t remember feeling. Ever.

I went for tea breaks at work and didn’t get myself into the cycle of ‘better check Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, the BBC news, WhatsApp messages…right that’s all done back to Twitter, Instagram” on what was supposed to be my break from the screen. Although I don’t post much on any of these places anymore, I am still apparently addicted to checking them. I watched construction workers dig a hole and fill it in. I listened to some birds outside work in the trees. I went to lunch with some people and was the only one not constantly checking my phone. It was nice.

With the spring in my step that was me leaving the house on Friday being surprised by how free I felt, although absolutely baffled as to how I was going to get myself connected again, I left for work without my keys. That night all of my housemates would have been out – there was no way for me to find out where they were or how I was going to get in, other than standing outside the house and waiting (which is what I ended up doing, in the rain). I quickly realised there was no way for me to sort anything out. I had conversations like “have you called Uber yet to get your phone?” “No, I have no phone and I can’t login to my account because they use two factor authentication for which I need a phone” multiple times.

I’ve also been going through some emotional stuff this year, and spend probably an hour every couple of days on the phone to my mum, who is my best friend and my closest confidant. Not being able to call her was horrible – I don’t think I’ve felt that alone for a long time. I needed a new phone.

I’m by no means a techno wiz, but I do use a smartphone, and the massive hit I’ve had to take to my purse in fixing my own very stupid mistake has created some intense internal debate that I didn’t expect. I spent a seriously long time standing back and debating whether I did in fact need the latest iPhone (I definitely, absolutely don’t) and what the benefit to my life would be if I just bought a phone that was only useful for texts and phonecalls. After irritating the guy in the Apple Store with my hour of dithering, I went for the iPhone, and I’m going to wonder for the next six months if I made the right call or not. It’s sitting next to me now, and I kind of hate how much I needed it, how much I paid for it, and how it’s going to remind me of a horrible experience every time I pick it up.

To get back to the point, I don’t know how to write this blog post because I don’t know what this blog is anymore. I love to write, and Plutonium Muffins has been a part of my life for seven years (as of last Wednesday, happy birthday PM). However, I don’t have the same passion for writing about the stuff I used to write about. I don’t knit or spin or stitch enough to do weekly update posts. I don’t attend craft events as much as I used to. I spend a large proportion of my life at work, either working or studying, and when I get home the last thing I want to do is get my computer out and write a blog post or edit a video. When I do get down to writing I tend to pen these epic tales full of emotional nonsense and personal, private stuff that I don’t want to put out on the Internet. It gets relegated to the folder of “stuff I need to address”, or just deleted and forgotten about, and I don’t like that either.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my creative life online, and after two years of soul-searching, as evidenced by my gradual decline here and in other places, I still haven’t got there. I think I need to take a bit of a break from pressuring myself into writing. I’m going to try spend some time making stuff I love and want to share with people. And even if I do love and want to share it, I don’t know if I will.

I’ve already changed my Instagram handle away from Plutonium Muffins, and I plan to delete the Facebook page and some of the other things I’ve got in this name. I’m going to go back to being just Corrie for a while, and see what happens. I didn’t expect this post to turn out this way – I was going to come here and write something cheerful and aspirational, about how Christmas is nearly here and 2019 is going to be a better year. I’ve reached the end and re-read what I’ve written with some surprise, and somehow it feels right.

With that in mind, I’ll hopefully see you all again. If I don’t, I wanted to say thank you to everyone, it’s been an incredible ride and I have appreciated all of your support, friendship and lively discussion over the last seven years.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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2 Responses to PSA: Project Cyclops

  1. Julie Willis says:

    Hi Corrie
    Great realisations – there’s no gain without pain, and great strength from adversity. Sorry about the loss of the phone, but good to hear you are becoming less reliant on the ‘tech’world. It does sort of rob you of your human self and draws you into a ‘virtual’ human. Keep it up – we are all part of a wonderfully imperfect family – and you have a lovely mum and gran just a phone call away. We do need a phone! but good to hear a precious voice and not just messages and emojis!! Praying 2019 will be a magical year for you.
    With love, Julie (Jame’s cousin living in Somerset West – ask Jen if you don’t remember me!)

  2. Angela Dent says:

    You have to do what is right for you and do it without feeling guilty. Life moves on and changes happen and you need to adapt. I have always enjoyed your posts but in no way do I expect you to carry on if it is stressing you out. I thank you for the time and effort you have put in and wish you luck for the future. I do hope you get back to crafting for your own pleasure and hope you don’t feel obliged to blog about it, just enjoy the process of making again. Be kind to yourself and enjoy what you do and Thankyou again for your time.

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