Categories
Emotional Work

Day 766 and Friends

The worst part of getting back on Instagram has been the number of people who said welcome back. Now you might say that sounds kinda nice. And for the extended universe of people with whom I casually socialize, yes it was nice. But for the people I considered to be friends it was fucking insulting.

I left Instagram before my health troubles but the overlap on the timing on the two isn’t wide. Its mostly concurrent. It’s hard to post the kind of aspirational lifestyle bullshit that the algorithm prioritizes from bed rest. There is a reason Twitter and long form blogging on WordPress are where I spend my social media time.

A significant portion of people in my bucket of friends simply disappeared from my life when I disappeared from their lives. When I stopped reaching out they stopped reaching out. My timing certainly wasn’t great as my health imploded around the time a lot of my peers got married and had children. Totally acceptable reasons to be busy.

But I also I learned the hard lesson that most people are so busy keeping themselves afloat they don’t give a fuck if you are dying. Because they are struggling too. Yet it’s hard not to have a sense of abandonment when people don’t reach out across any medium except what’s proximate and convenient for them.

I went to so much trouble putting myself and my entire journey online. I knew I was harder to reach as I couldn’t leave the glide let alone my own bed. So I reached out from the pit of my own despair and hoped someone would see my hands reaching. And a whole world of people did. I made a lot of new friends that way.

I’ve literally written hundreds of thousands of words about my journey. And all of it is conveniently tagged and linked and is searchable. If you wanted to read about pain management or biohacking or my medicine regiment it’s all here. I’ve even written an FAQ on how to reach me. I am one of the most accessible people you will ever reach. I made this this space because I knew I had to reach out lest I be abandoned.

So when a bunch of socially networked acquaintances said “welcome back” on Instagram, what I really heard was you were never my friends in the first place. And that felt sad in a way I wasn’t expecting. I’m sure was true that most people were not my friends. I always knew was true for the vast majority of people. But it was sad to learn it was true for people I’d felt close to in the past.

For the handful that were actually friends, it was a bit disappointing to see what distance, time and sickness has yielded for my expectations. I hadn’t heard from them in years but they still think we are friends. And I don’t know how to break to them that no actually we aren’t. I have come to expect more from people.

Categories
Internet Culture Politics

Day 764 and Natalism

There are a number of cultural streams in American life that have all aligned around being natalist. You want your country to have babies because it’s good for the economy. And presumably also good for national security.

This fairly basic insight means everyone from techno-libertarians to Catholic homesteaders believes that Americans should be having more babies. It is not just the Quiver-full types having six babies anymore, so are our wealthiest aristocratic titans of industry.

But this alliance is missing some crucial basics. Like for instance the fundamental civilization level things we need to do to make it desirable and affordable to have children. It’s expensive to be pregnant, it’s expensive to raise children, it’s expensive all around to be parents. I spent $40,000 on IVF and it ruined my health. If I counted lost wages and being forced to sell my startup I’m the total costs is seven figures.

I don’t know if you’ve looked at just the costs around having a baby but it will shock you every time you turn a new corner in the fertility space. I learned today you will spend between $100,000 to $200,000 to hire a surrogate. It’s a person’s salary and a lot of medical care so sure that seems right but damn.

I guess I am interested in the math of Natalism to see if I could afford it. I am one of those “tech elites” that thinks we have to have children to drive the innovation of tomorrow. Our future is based on an optimistic hope that maybe we can push for a better future. Humanity won’t continue without children.

But I don’t have a body that is all that healthy without medical intervention. I live a normal life now and can work full time again because I take some exceptional medicine.

But it’s not medicinal regime that can be combined with pregnancy. So if I want to carry a child I have to go off what amounts to life saving medicine. Without it I’d be on bed rest. You can imagine the math I’m doing in my head? Do I want to pour another million into having a family?

So what’s a girl like me to do? Surrogacy right? But I’ve got 10 eggs and 2 embryos so assuming a third of them make it, that’s nearly half a million dollars in surrogacy fees. To get three kids. That’s a heavy price tag on the future. If more of them take it gets even wilder.

Now ok sure I’d rather we encourage a world where younger healthy folks do things naturally but don’t we want everyone going at maximum effort for a better tomorrow? Shouldn’t we want technology to solve this? Where are my artificial wombs at?

Categories
Startups

Day 761 and Calls

Yesterday ended up being a big day for me. A couple projects that have been in the works for months for final confirmations. That meant I spent a lot of time on phone calls yesterday.

I hadn’t planned for Monday to be so busy. I have therapy in the late afternoons so I tend to back my mornings but I still leave enough breaks to come down from the energy and excitement of a big call. I find synchronized communications to be a little overstimulating so I like to meditate and do Wim Hoff breathing to break down my cortisol levels.

But I couldn’t make it happen yesterday. It was too much back to back. I went from an hour long fact checking media call right into my two hour group therapy session. I’d had a few other smaller calls before it as well.

My earbuds were the first to note the issue. With about fifteen minutes left in my two hour Zoom I got the 10% battery left warning from my AirPods. My technology realized it was time to recharge before I did.

And boy was the decay quick. The AirPods went bwoooop and went dead. I could feel myself getting a little dazed myself. As soon as I was off the call I checked my HRV using Welltory and found all my systems were drained. Too many calls has called on too few resources.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 760 and Beginner’s Mindset

I recently decided to boot back up my Instagram account. I’d let it lay dormant for almost five years. A lot has changed since I stopped using it. I’ll withhold judgement on whether it is for the worse or not. Right now it’s mostly just modestly confusing. I feel like a beginner again.

Amusingly one of the first genres of advertisements I got was for Instagram editing tools. There is a whole cottage industry of paid applications that help you put together Reels and Stories.

Many of them are relatively sophisticated with templates that help you overlay text, audio, music and advanced video techniques. Being a creator these days requires a fair amount of sophistication so I’m not surprised to find $10 a month editing applications.

I am struggling to find to find the joy in the experience. It feels like like a lot more work to make visual content than written. Now, I grant that it didn’t feel easy writing at first either. Twitter was stop and go for me for years.

But Instagram is a more natural place for some of my interests like cosmetics and shopping. I want to give it a fair shake. And maybe I’ll find joy in the space with some time. But becoming fluent in the language of Instagram’s visual literacy makes me feel stupid. But I guess that’s what it feels like to be a beginner again.

Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 758 and Two Sides

I somehow missed watching the Mandalorian when it came out. My husband isn’t really into Star Wars and I’m a Star Trek person so as just missed it. I started watching it today for the first time and I’m experiencing it somewhat fresh of its original release context.

But I’ve got a vague memory of the culture war issues that it triggered at the time. Somehow Gina Carano got coded to team red and champion of the downtrodden right wing. I honestly couldn’t tell you why except I think she mouthed off on Twitter. She sacrificed her career as a main character on prestige Disney tv show for shitposting. She thought she had social latitude that she just didn’t when working for Big Mouse. Shockingly naive if I’m honest.

That somehow everything has a side in the culture wars is a real tragedy of our time. Because a couple years pass and whatever dumb stunt that got you put on team red or team blue probably gets forgotten. Normal people have moved on and the discourse gets digested eventually into common knowledge. Memory is a fickle thing. Madeleines and Proust or something in that direction.

If you are team red you go into an alternate universe where apparently being a dick with a right wing slant on YouTube gets you 50 million dollar media deals. I assume there are as many opportunities as now being on team red is a real badge of honor and whole media ecosystems arise because it’s an actual demographic. Shocking somehow to some people but I guess I’ve always lived adjacent to team red. I’ve be always known you could make money on that audience.

I suppose the real tell is that if you are team blue you don’t really change ecosystems at all if you pick their side in the culture war. You get to maintain your plum gig at Disney. You do not have Ron DeSantis gunning for you. I hear that woke mobs come to get you but I’ve never actually seen it in action. The worst part of my chaotic evil leftist Twitter bubble stops at Taylor Lorenz though I am aware that a murky left exists beyond Chapo Trap House and I know about Tankies.

It just seems so strange to take sides in any of this nonsense if your aim is to make a living as a performer. Sure maybe you can cater to one niche or another. But really isn’t the whole point finding the things that bind us all in the human experience? I always assumed art was meant to transcend whatever petty shit happened while making it.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 755 and Instagram

I haven’t been on my Instagram account since 2018. I stopped actively posting in 2017. I’d become absolutely sick of the social media platform and the relentless aspirational influencer content marketing that had taken over my feed. I can’t say I’ve missed it, but I’ve decided to reinstall the application and begin posting again.

I’ve been a participant in the “creator economy” long before it had a name. A college friend set me up on a WordPress blog after a fellow student had written a piece criticizing me for being interested in fashion on campus.

I’d written something about designer denim in the competing school newspaper. My friend told me I needed to watch out as this new nemesis was going to ruin my Google results. From these petty seeds a fashion blogging “empire” was born.

I have some dubious distinctions from being early to social media. Women’s Wear Daily claimed I was the first person to liveblog fashion week in 2006. I turned that into an advertising network for online lifestyle publishers called Coutorture. It was eventually acquired by PopSugar. I went on to work at a number of luxury and fashion brands before starting my own cosmetics line.

I’d like to think having been there from the start of the creator economy counts for something but the harsh truth is that once you stop posting you tend to disappear from any social network. I stopped fashion blogging for my own enjoyment once I made it into a career.

During my girlboss years as the CEO of Stowaway Cosmetics being on Instagram felt like a part of my job. I had enjoyed it more when I wasn’t obligated to look cool. I remember 2012 Instagram fondly as a place where you followed photographers and fashion insiders at work. By 2016 it was loaded with aspirational lifestyle content. I felt like I all I saw was sponsored content.

Somewhere in that timeframe I racked up 30,000 followers. I don’t think I ever maintained anything remotely professional. It was just pictures of whatever was happening in my life so the usual mix of food and travel. It didn’t seem like a huge loss to walk away.

Oddly even if my follower count on Twitter isn’t actually that much larger than my Instagram account I feel like I’m much more influential there. I’m better with words clearly. I am a shitposter so it always felt lower stakes. And maybe that’s why it’s less of a burden in my mind. I do Twitter joyfully.

But I’m going to experiment with Instagram again. I’ve got visual things in my life that are worth sharing as I’ve now got a totally new aspirational lifestyle. I’ve graduated from fashion influencer to doomer optimist. Homesteading and cozy farmhouse is it’s own aesthetic and maybe I’ll enjoy sharing mine. And I’ll admit that I’m not at all above coveting back on gifting lists. I guess if you enjoy that sort of thing find me back on Instagram. Or if you want to send me some free stuff I’m open to getting back into the SponCon game.

Categories
Travel

Day 745 and Restless Travelers Scrolling

Coming of age in the golden era of digital hospitality had an enormous effect on my expectations for flexibility on the road. I rarely book ahead, I never worry about finding a place to stay, I overpack luxuries and I am always uncomfortably on the hunt for my personal totemic signifiers of safety. You need things on the road to keep your rituals intact so you don’t drift.

I know how to search for a place to rest and I restlessly pursue it on the road. Singles browse dating apps like I browse Airbnb. I spot red flags on apartment listings like a woman who has been on one too many bad dates.

I spent much of my childhood traveling. My most potent recurring nightmare is packing for a trip that never arrives. I have lived in a perpetual state of readiness to get up and leave. I bring endless tiny compacts and one singular pair of high heeled shoes for a night out I never go on. I am ready for glamour on the road but all I find is the anxiety of instability.

It’s this perpetual readiness to flee that has made me an exceptionally good picker of hotels, rental units, vacation homes and other short term stays. I couldn’t afford a deposit for an apartment in New York for so long that I could find an under-market illegal sublet on Craigslist on a moment’s notice. It’s a handy skill set.

Naturally I’ve come to take this talent for granted as I’ve cultivated it. I’m confident that I’ll pick a decent rental because I can spot issues from miles away. I admit I’ve looked down on complaints about how bad Airbnb has become. I thought I’d avoid the quality control issues. It’s no longer a better value than hotels generally speaking but the real crime is that it’s troubles are not worth the hassle for many. It’s not seamless like a branded hotel.

I felt the hassle was worth it for the comforts of home on the road. But I think I’ve crossed my personal Rubicon on Airbnb in Prague. I won’t default to it any longer. The costs are now basically identical. You’ve got to weigh the costs of friction against having your life a bit disturbed. Hotels specialize in hospitality. It’s probably worth remembering.

Categories
Background Chronicle

Day 729 and My 22 Round Up

I scrambled a bit to do round up of this year’s posts. I went through through each day individually and attempted to sort posts that grabbed me into succinct categories. I don’t want to call it a “best of” list so much as a set of themes and experiences that made up my 2022. It was quite a year.

The most popular post I wrote this year was my viral hit about dickriders by a huge margin. The tweet got several million views and the blog post got upwards of 50,000 readers. Nothing else even compares. I think my some of my most honest writing came through two days in May when Alex and I decided to buy our house in Montana. Day 499 and 500 respectively. But I cover a huge breadth of topics over the year so without further ado here is the list. In no particular order.

Twitter Shit

Dick Riders or Don’t Outsource Your Credibility

Excession, Nerd Wounds & Needing to Be Liked

Gender Politics.

Mommy Issues, Girlbossing, & Chivalry for Women After Feminism

The Cuckservatives

The Fuck Boys

The Thot Leaders

Startup Content

My #5Before40 Project to Build Chaotic Capital in Public

Managing Founders or The Rule of 3 Asks

How To Do Cold Outreach

Managing Winter As A Metaphor For Downturns

The Importance of Corporate Governance for Startups

Glass Cannons, Gaming & Going Critical In Startup Life

Accidentally Ahead Of The Fraud Trend

Shoot The Puck or Letterkenny as a Metaphor for Startups

Vibe Shifts, Web3 and End Times at EthDenver

High Agency People

How I Sensemake My Investments

Emotional Work

FTX, Crashes, And History Repeating

A Love Letter To My Husband About Chores

Being A Daddy’s Girl

Halfway There or 500 Days

Vinegar or Why Boundaries Are Good

The Emotions of Buying Your First House

The Emotional Security of Owning A Home

A Painting Without Shadows is Flat

A Deep Sense of Okayness

Watching Others Drown

Montana

Bozeman, Boulder and the Uncanny Valley of Progress in The American Mountain West

Hospitality, Guest Rooms & Welcoming

Leaping into Action or How A Wilderness EMT Course Helped Me Work in Chaos.

We’re Not In Colorado Anymore & Our Digital Barn Raising Move

Health & Biohacking

The Personal Politics of America’s Drug War

Aesthetics, Religion and Botox

The Poetry of Migraines & Stretched Time

A Meditation On Heat, Social Mores, Pain, and Texas

Tracker Jacker or When Your Health is Outside The Mean

Politics

Preparedness, Consumer Culture & Distrust

Margin Call & Collapse

Women & Bodily Autonomy, Young Male Reactionaries and Groypers

The Humiliation of America’s Broken Immigration System

Categories
Biohacking Emotional Work

Day 727 and Low Recovery Scores

I am chuckling at how excited my former self was for a productive holiday season. I was just overcome by enthusiasm for getting ahead over the break. I was so sure the relaxation would lead to creativity and connection. Pride comes before a fall I guess. But according to my Whoop & Apple Watch, my heart rate variability has been significantly worse than usual.

Maybe it was the extreme weather. Montana had a temperature swing of 95 degrees over the last week. Perhaps I’ve simply been overdoing it with cortisol and overstimulation, as I’ve had an exciting couple of days online.

I’ve wrote up a product road maps for Twitter’s messaging service and gone viral for therapy poasting. Those two activities are tied together. You can guess who the audience was for each of those and enjoy a chuckle.

I’ve got at least one post I’d like to get done before I wrap up year two of writing every single day. I think it’s important to do a year end “best of” overview. But that will require focus and time to get right. But I won’t be doing it today. Today I will listen to my body and let it recover. 2022 was by all measures a hell of a year. I look back on it and see a huge level up in my personal life across multiple dimensions. So if my body wants a little extra recovery time it earned it.

Categories
Emotional Work Internet Culture

Day 726 and Healing

As most of my extended network is aware, I am a big fan of therapy. We all grow up in imperfect families doing their best in a cruel world. No one is immune from emotional hurt, especially if you came by those wounds in childhood. Healing those old wounds as an adult is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and is not reflective of any weakness on your part or failure of your family.

Hurt people hurt. Every single one of us has lingering traumas from our childhood no matter how privileged our lives or lucky our circumstances. Trauma is universal. No one escapes being alive without some.

One of the most relatable types of hurt a child will experience is being made to feel less than, an outsider, unworthy or unloved. Our families might not intend for us to feel this way but it’s not uncommon to be bullied or ignored or told we are unworthy. If we do not find ways to heal from feeling like we are less than others, we will make others feel the same way. And we are obligated as responsible adults to not victimize others.

Nerds who don’t heal their trauma wound of being “unpopular” become quite dangerous when they go from underdog to ruling class

When I was young being called a nerd was an insult. But now as an adult the power dynamics have shifted significantly. The intellectuals have inherited the earth. But too many of us remember ourselves as victims of the strong. As adults we have an obligation to adjust our priors as we are no longer victims of what we experienced in childhood. In fact, we now we have the upper hand. Revenge of the nerds is due for an update.

We must remind our inner child that those days are over. We survived. It’s over. We are now strong adults with our own agency and capacity to set boundaries. Of course, it’s a hard task to reason with our inner child. The ego is very accomplished at guarding us from reality. It doesn’t want us to repeat those traumas and rightly so. It only takes being burned once to avoid the fire.

But if we don’t work to understand why we we still react as adults as if we were a hurt child the wounds of childhood trauma we will never allow us to reality.

If you want to see the truth of your circumstances consider going to therapy. If you cannot afford it, there are many recovery programs that are free to attend like Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon. Contrary to popular perception they are not just for addicts. Heal yourself. We are all rooting for you.