Social Sabbatical

Lately, I’ve been absent and apparently folks have been noticing. Except for sharing my posts from the safety of my blog, and maybe the occasional mini-scroll on Facebook once a day (if I actually make the effort to go there) I’ve been avoiding social media like the *cliche incoming* plague.

Instagram is the exception to the above statement. I like looking at art, which is what most of my feed consists of, and I’ve also shared a photo or two in the past months. Not much, but still. The other exception is tumblr, which I’ve been avoiding for sure, but that’s only because I’m now a season behind on my beloved Blacklist and my tumblr exists of three themes: The Blacklist, Dragon Age, and Doctor Who. In the name of watching season 5 spoiler-free, I can’t go on tumblr.

As for the rest of it, I really don’t need the negativity in my life at the moment. This may be just me, so excuse me if you don’t agree, but I find Facebook and Twitter to be just that – negative. Not always, certainly. Sometimes, these social spaces are awesome aids when it comes to keeping in touch, or at least staying in the loop in the events of your tribe’s day-to-day.

I’ve written a post about the flipside of that too. The things some people share on social media often causes anger, intolerance or can be downright disturbing. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a good mood, photographs of someone nailing a cat to a tree ruins my entire day. Imagine the outcome of images like that when I’m in a bad mood.

Which is where I’m at right now. Immigration, as I’ve mentioned, is stressful. This time around, Kayla is able to voice her concerns about this move too, and we have to help her cope with some symptoms of sadness and missing Germany, which was the first home she remembers. Add to that the latest round of goodbyes we shared earlier this month, the sudden halt to my writing, and the illness of a loved one, and it makes sense that I’m not my best self at this stage.

We had just moved to Germany when my grandmother became very ill. She’d been sick and on her deathbed a time or two before that, but for the first time, there was no real hope that she would pull through. She passed away six months after we’d moved. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is always difficult, but this was the first time in my life I’d lost someone and had to work through the emotions associated with that without the physical support of my family.

I find myself in the same place. Someone we love is very ill and suffering, and it gnaws at the soul knowing there’s nothing to be done. Death is a part of life, I know. Old people die – age is fatal, after all. Explain that to my heart.

I’ve explained the immigration thing a time or two in the past. You can find these posts in The German Chronicles and now in Maple Mondays. Basically, this kind of move will almost always result in PTSD or at least something similar to the stages of grief. I find myself submerged in that right now. I reckon the feeling of trepidation that my phone is going to ring with bad news one of these days amplifies whatever it is that the actual immigration is causing me to feel too.

And why not? Before immigration, it’s government buildings, documents and paperwork, x-rays and medical examinations, photos upon photos and more paperwork. Packing. Deciding what goes along to New Home and what will be donated to charity – which is much more brutal on a three-year-old who can’t take all of her toys than on adults. It’s rounds of goodbyes to the people who have burrowed in your heart, over and over, until you cry just at eye-contact. Airplanes and baggage claims and paperwork with immigration consultants at the airport.

Then it’s relief. You’ve arrived. But there’s no time to rest – you’re going to face rounds and rounds of government buildings, paperwork and photos again. Congratulations. At some stage, you have a second to breathe. Wonderful, euphoric bliss.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t last. You see, you have months worth of stress still tightening your shoulder muscles and you haven’t even thought of working through these emotions. So you’re flattened by them.

In my case, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I lose myself in my routine and I hurl myself at my work. I write. Constantly. When I’m not physically writing, I’m writing in my mind, struggling with mistakes in the story, out-of-character moments, and pushing plot-bunnies back into their little holes.

At the moment, my novel is with the lovely Cat Helisen for an edit, which means I can’t work on it. This standstill robs me of the opportunity to do what I always do and suppress my emotions. Nope, they’ve pretty much slammed into me like a freight train.

So, social media takes a backseat. I just don’t have it in me to engage with the stuff on there. What the Donald does only upsets me, marginally less than the drought in Cape Town and what old Shower-Power or GodZille are up to on Twitter.

For now, I need to do what my friends always tell me to do and be kind to myself. John Green wrote this line in Turtles where Daisy tells Aza not to let Aza be mean to Holmesy. I need to do the same for Yolandie. If that means less time scrolling through various feeds, I’m totally down with it.

Don’t worry about me though, this state of mind is temporary. Having gone through this once before, I have a good idea of what to expect. At some stage, when we’ve fully settled, these negative feelings will go away. Hurts will heal and life will go on. The only remedy for this is time. Oh, and actually facing what I feel. 🙂 I’m doing my best in that regard.

Thank you for your continued support on this journey.

Yolandie.