Ditching “happiness” to find joy [an open letter]

 

I’m honestly straddling some very fine lines between this space being considered a “credible website” and an “open-hearted blog”.

It’s like, every time my hands approach the keyboard, my fingers get stage fright; you know, the one thing they’re known for the most is the same thing that holds them back. Once that “publish” button gets clicked, it’s all out there…the “art” these fingers have created is now up for judgement and criticism. As if the sole purpose for these hands were to ferociously type away in hopes of pleasing the mass. In a sense, it’s part of the purpose, but, somehow or another, it  became the only purpose. It went from, “wow, I really love to do this,” to, “gee, I hope everyone likes it?”

That initial joy of being appreciated, accepted, understood and commended for the tireless work and words put into a post, interview, article, review, what have you all the sudden became… happiness. The joyous moment of a story–these same fingers that are typing away right now once wrote–soon became a “happy” moment. The difference? Well, I was once joyful to write about anything because I knew I had something important to share… Now? I’m happy to write about some things because I know it will benefit someone else.

It’s not to say that I don’t appreciate working with others, or that I don’t want to continue to do so; it’s just… I stopped doing things for joy and started relying solely on happiness–happiness that outside influences provided rather than the joy that comes from within. Sure, writing about this crazy movie I just saw this past weekend will bring me joy because I know someone else out there in the world can appreciate it. But, that’s not what gets me “clicks”, you know?

Writing about ten of the dopest artists right now and tagging them all in a Twitter or Instagram post is what really gets the crowd going. And, while I prided myself on not becoming click-bait, I eventually found a neat parallel line. In a sense, I let myself become the worst type of click-bait[er]. The type of bait[er] that writes about stories other people want me to write about.. you know, so they can truly get my “angle” and “opinion” on things. So, they can get some more “coverage” or “support” on their personal work. Even though all of my opinions are honest and all of the stuff I write do steer away from your typical click-bait news and top 40 stories, I was just writing about things everyone else wanted to read about rather than things I think they needed to read about… You know, the main reason I created ALTernateEars.com: to share articles on topics that not too many people know about, but should know about!!

I was recently told that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I guess, this post is entirely too supportive of that statement, but what can I say? It’s hard to skate through life, especially when I’ve put myself all out there on social media, pretending like I don’t go through things… Like, I don’t feel or I don’t get “down” sometimes. Like, I don’t disappoint myself or confuse myself or even contradict myself. It’s just really hard to be an “online presence” and pretend like I’m not a real human, when I log off.

When I express my actual mental and individuality and how it pertains to me, that brings me joy because there’s nobody else that’s waiting for feedback. There’s nobody else  that’s expecting some sort of favor or review. There’s nobody else I’m trying to impress, but the old me… Hell, I even want to impress the future me, when I look back, and say, “wow, I had the balls to do that?” While I love working with artists and producers and musicians, I love working on myself so much more. Even if what I do isn’t really “click-bait”, I’m still dissapointed that I let my writing bring me from joy to happiness. Happiness is so temporary, it’s fleeting. I get that simple satisfaction of my twitter feed blowing up about my new mix, or my new article, or my new interview. I get that little glimpse of a smile when someone shares my own work from ages ago… But, I’m not filled with joy. That happiness fades away eventually, and, once the momentum settles down and the dust from the commotion sets, I’m all alone. Nobody is checking on me once they get what they want or they need.

Luckily, that’s okay. I’m honestly trying to ditch this thing we call happiness, because it’s so overrated. I appreciate all of the times I felt under appreciated. I appreciate all of the times I felt people used me for what they wanted and carried on like it never happened. I appreciate recognizing my own flaws and being able to compare myself to click bait, because it puts so much into perspective. I appreciate deleting all of my posts on Twitter and Instagram because it shows me who truly cares about “ALTernate Ears”, and that’s a decent amount of people. However, it also shows me who cares about the real person behind that image–Amanda–and the same can’t be said for her.

But, when you truly ditch that temporary moment of happiness (the social media posts, the notifications, the “thank you for writing about me”, the “you should come check my show!”) you then have more space, time, and energy (both mentally and physically) to find your own joy.

I’m not even sure how many people will read this, now that I’ve taken a break from social media… But, just in case anyone is checking for “ALTernate Ears” — she’s working with Amanda right now, leave a comment below if you need her.

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