Good golly. I really can’t say this in a brief way.
In a nutshell: I’ve been studying Existential Therapy and Carl Jung before that and have essentially called to question every single aspect of my reality in the past three weeks. (Which is not separate from LIFE that keeps happening to me…. that I keep attracting/creating). Part of this process has been creating art work that explains the concepts. What a beautiful challenge.
So yesterday I realized that social media is a giant crutch/addiction/detriment to my self-actualization so I’m on a indefinite Facebook hiatus. And then I started looking at the WHYs behind my use of Instagram because I don’t want to give that up aka I’m extremely resistant to that change and wasn’t sure if it was even something that I wanted to potentially ever put on the cutting block.
Long story short my response was to create a new Instagram called @reallifereg that only has pictures from my trash bins. This was a huge wakeup call about my own lingering body image issues and self depreciating beliefs about my own appearance plus called into question the WHY was that picture not good enough. I explain in each caption why I chose to delete the photo.
Here’s the more polished explanation with references if you wanna geek out:
My piece is the most succinct visual representation of a rather convoluted but powerful experience that I had considering James Bugental’s contribution to existential psychotherapy. In Corey’s explanation of Bugental’s approach to resistance on page 144 he shares that, “Forms of resistance include intellectualizing, being argumentative, always seeking to please, and any other life-limiting pattern.” I have been processing that one line for over a week because of my constant employment of those tactics that I had never viewed as self-limiting before.
After researching Bugental’s explanation of resistance which included reading a powerful article entitled, A Fate Worst Than Death: The Fear of Changing (1984) I sat with why I am resistant to a career change. That boiled down to perfectionism and always seeking to please. From there I explored all of the myriad of ways that I am a perfectionist and what that means to my self actualization as well as my short and long term goals. This lead to re-evaluating my use of social media, specifically the visual perfection that I have curated on Instagram that serves my public persona but does absolutely nothing for my internal self.
After deleting my Facebook account I created a new public Instagram feed that has only has pictures that I had previously deleted found in my trash bin on my phone. In each caption I wrote the reason why I chose not to post the photo and delete it. In this very revealing exercise I realized that so many of my deleted pictures were “selfies” and how intertwined those deletions were with my ego, being self-conscious, old patterns of body dysmorphia and a general malaise with the changes in my face as the result of aging. The large piece that I printed encapsulates that entire process of self-exploration in one image. Referencing a time in my life where I was extensively studying anatomy and had a very different relationship to all bodies, mine included. My piece is an ode to a real, non-resistant, surrendered acceptance of my self entirely and the necessity to be honest about that process.