The year began somewhat beautifully. In January I mentioned that I had a pleasant sleepcation and refreshed and reset. I altered how I pursue deadlines, no longer engaging a rigidity that does not account for the fact that I have four blogs, I am working on 3 different sets of publication projects (that include multiple eBooks and other photographic/writing products in each) and have multiple social media accounts for four different projects, on top of any extraneous publishing that I do. It is a lot and it is one person doing it all. As I mentioned last November:
If it is an invoice, I sent it. If it is an essay or publication, I wrote it. If it is a photograph, I created it. If it is administrative/maintenance work as an indie artist, I did it. If it is engaging people online, live tweets (i.e. of films or TV shows), analytical tweets (i.e. personal, political or sociopolitical, similar to what I discussed on Gradient Lair), or customer service in relation to my products, I did the work. It is what people consume and make assumptions about and what people will never see but I am still doing behind the scenes everyday, for myself and for others.
However, being "on target," so to speak, did not prevent me from reaching burnout. I am...tired. However, it is not the workload that exhausts me but the conditions I deal with to work at all that does. The problem that I ran into while reading about burnout—as I have read about and experienced many times in adulthood—is that these articles center on people 1) in traditional jobs 2) obsessed with social status and 3) experiencing stress in their climb to that status. I respect that this is their life but this is not what causes my burnout. Burnout—which Psychology Today describes as what occurs when you are not in control of how you carry out your job, when you are working toward goals that do not resonate with you and when you lack social support—in my case, is about navigating social media which is my primary "workspace" as an indie creator who has to make my art profitable in order to earn income to survive. I am not trying to be the "best" artist or "famous"/important; I am not working towards a "promotion" or a status quo-approved lifestyle that fits neatly on a resume. I do not have low self-esteem that impacts my work or well-being. I am not doing work that I hate; I like my work.
The bottom line is that dealing with the constant stream of petulance and hourly/daily trolling from middle class students/academics under 25 years old (of all races, but yes, it is heavily intraracial at times and involves some exploitation of fictive kinship; this picked up after mid-2014 for some reasons that I will not get into here), the paternalism, harassment and exploitation from journalists, academics and "activists" of every age/race/gender etc., the constant demands for free labor from literally anyone, the general bigoted online abuse, and the opportunistic and/or punitive plagiarism and erasure that I have dealt with for years took its toll on me, yet again. I am tired. I hope for some healing in May and I am not quite sure yet what I will do to approach that; I simply hope it happens. I want to feel better by June. I really do.
I did not do everything that I wanted to do in April, but I did some. As I mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts (a series that I started in December 2015 when I first launched this central site to discuss my years of multi-art multi-genre work), each month I share a bit about what I photographed, wrote, created and critiqued etc. in that same month. Below is some of what I worked on in April.
Though I closed the live blog part of Gradient Lair in late 2015, 2,000+ new Twitter followers joined @GradientLair since. This means that I have over 12.2K Twitter followers and over 20K Gradient Lair blog subscribers, or people who even years later still engage what I published there. I decided to start using the Twitter account again to share #classicGradientLair posts. This is some of my writing that may not be included in future anthologies, but writing that is meaningful to me still. I did not work on my subject-specific anthologies in April though; I am on a short break from it. I did work on my part of something neat that I am doing with Moya Bailey, however!
I have not posted anything new to Drift Sojourn blog since early January; this is because I am working on design, portfolio, and logo changes. I did most of the web design changes for Drift Sojourn site, basically moving and modifying the old Cinemacked design to Drift Sojourn since I did a makeover for Cinemacked earlier this year. I will finish the new logo for Drift Sojourn in May. I did post new photographs on my Instagram profile. As I mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts, I use Snapchat (user name: thetrudz) to share what I am working on, including my writing, to post my cooking and baking experiments as a new cook, to discuss my work as a professional photographer, and just for fun personal use.
so i recently made steak tacos on snapchat (user name: thetrudz) and had left over homemade tortillas. i craved #curry #chicken the next day. one thing lead to another and i made curry chicken tacos. so...good. here is the curry chicken that went into the tacos. chopped thigh (i prefer thigh meat over breast meat for chicken tacos; richer taste) and cooked in curry, thyme, kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder and in extra virgin olive oil and onions. it was the middle of the night and i did not photograph the actual tacos this time (i ate the hell outta those things lol), but i definitely will be making this again sometime soon, and on snapchat!
Two of my previous three photography eBooks—Photography Projects For Practice and Portfolios and Free or Frugal: Learning and Creating Photography On A Budget—are available for purchase in Publications and on an eBook link on Drift Sojourn itself. Additionally, an educational publication, 300 Photography Resources, and my 2 sets of iPhone wallpapers "Healthy Eats" and "Sweet Eats" are available in Publications as free downloads, but tips are appreciated.. My upcoming fourth photography eBook is still in progress. Additionally, I am working on 2 more sets of iPhone wallpapers that I will release sometime this year.
I published the following on Cinemacked blog in April: 3 New To Netflix Selections - April 2017. I did not publish any new film reviews on the blog, but on @Cinemacked, I did tweet film reviews for The Fate of The Furious, By The Sea and Equity and I live tweeted the film Suicide Squad. I live tweeted many television show favorites in April including Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Designated Survivor, Imposters and The Catch (which sadly was not renewed). In May, I will work on an updated TV Roster for summer shows.
As I mentioned last month, I created a new personal Instagram profile; the new personal one is instagram.com/thetrudz, and for my work it is instagram.com/driftsojourn. I like having the former to share photographs of myself and things I love outside of my food/cultural photography work with Drift Sojourn, but still reflect my skills and other interests as a photographer/creator.
✨resting bitch face.✨ self-portrait from this month. i love the colour of this lipstick (lip tar from oc cosmetics in "luxe") but i hated the finish (super annoying in florida humidity; bleeds). i loved these braids but i took them out after this portrait but it was a good month lol. my third time doing my own #crochetbraids #boxbraids myself at home.
I published the following to Twitter Moments: Only Rosa Parks Is "Rosa Parks", and Twitter threads on topics that matter to me including a critique of Shea Moisture, what "escaping poverty" would actually look like for people like me and one on silencing via misogyny on Twitter. I am still slowly working on 2 short publications (eBooks; projects outside of the Gradient Lair anthology work and my photography eBooks) that I originally started in 2016, which mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts.
I published one new essay here: There Is No Competition. I am not interested in "competing" with other artists or people in social media whose false sense of scarcity at best and misogynoir at worst makes them think we are even in the same worlds. I focus on mine, at great penalty at that, as an unaffiliated indie creator who is a hypervisible Black woman online.
I do not know if I will heal during May because burnout takes so much from me and it takes a lot to get back to the point where I feel somewhat okay again. Sometimes months. Obviously burnout is experienced in much more complex ways for people who already deal with mental health issues; on Gradient Lair and on Twitter I have shared my experiences with Anxiety, Depression and PTSD. I am at the point of trying to just go one day at a time and see from there.