Yesterday I did a lot of changes to my FA. While they took hours, most are more evident primarily to me, and are for my own benefit.
I changed to the light interface, for starters: returning to FA after several years of merely bulk uploading every few weeks, I wanted the site to feel fresh for me. I was playing around with the different settings and to my surprise I found the light interface extremely pleasant to the eye even though I’m someone who will often go for dark modes when possible. It closely matches the mode I have Discord (which is nice since I’m on there all day now) and better yet, it reminds me of Nabyn.
You may or may not remember Nabyn, which was a site made to resemble the old DeviantART. It was wonderful. But eventually it fizzled out. The similarity made me nostalgic for both sites, especially since I just nuked my DeviantArt last week after, I think, perhaps 15 years of activity.
It’s funny… I used to be the sort of person who wanted any and all history, posts, blogs, art I ever created, to remain online forever. This is what made my first-ever nuking of information a few years ago (deleting my Facebook account) so difficult. At the time, I had been on Facebook for about ten years, it had chronicled relationships, breakups, trips, and deaths. I’d been the sort of person to write very long status updates daily. Deleting that was a big deal —and changed everything.
I can’t explain why, but once I clicked that delete button, it was unbelievably freeing. I had long hated Facebook and with my profile truly gone and not simply deactivated, I never went back. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, and ever since I’ve felt far less attached to my online content.
Sometime before then, I’d also wiped my FA journals, of which there had been one almost daily for several years. Of course I should clarify I do save all of this for my offline records. I just remove it from the internet. Honestly, I don’t feel right leaving my ramblings forever online anymore: today, everything you write must not only be acceptable for today’s social standards but must also preventively abide by all standards of the future, lest sooner or later your words are used against you. I’ve seen this happen far too often. I would once have said that, surely, there is a time for such action, times where it is necessary, but I am so weary of cancel culture, that these days I feel jaded towards it all. I understand some might think that by using a term such as “cancel culture” I am being dismissive of well-warranted call outs. I understand why you would feel this way, and I suppose in practical terms, I am perhaps being dismissive. But I’ve seen so many petty or baseless ones, many causing massive undeserved emotional and professional damage, that I tend to roll my eyes at it all, unfortunately (it didn’t have to be this way, though.)
Anyway, I digress. These previous wipes of content, never yet regretted, bring me to last night. After updating my profile for the first time in years, as well as updating my journal footer and header, and adding a footer to all of my submissions (FA might be hilariously delayed with adding new features but I do give them massive props for this one) I started going through my gallery.
I’d had attempts at wiping old art before —art from before I was a furry that I promise no one is too attached too— but I just couldn’t do it. For some reason last night it was very easy to do, without second-guessing or regrets. I deleted well over 200 submissions, and I’m still going. Again, please don’t worry, the sort of things I deleted are very unlikely to be missed by anyone. But even if that were the case, it felt so good to delete them, it gave me such a wonderful feeling that I hope you’ll forgive me for doing so. It’s mostly ancient art related to my books.
I also went through my entire gallery as part of the process. I’ve uploaded a lot to FA, and it was an emotional process, to say the least. Not hard, just emotional.
I remembered people who died. I remembered when I first met new friends and gave them that first piece of gift art. I remembered when I first met others for whom life was so, so different at the time from what it is now. Some are a lot happier. Some have disappeared and I barely know through the grapevine that they are still alive. Some had children. Some married. Some I’ve become so close with, that I consider them family. Some had absolute meltdowns on Twitter or FA and then disappeared forever from the fandom. Others left less dramatically.
Some I remember meeting in person at that first Megaplex —leaving my bags in the lobby to run into their arms.
Some I met for the first time during our little GemmaCon Atlanta meet, and I remember running down the street at night to a bar where everyone was waiting, and how I was breathless, crying from happiness and excitement, one of the happiest nights of my life still all these years later.
Some I met as recently as last year after years of online friendship. Some I used to not get along with so well, and now I would take a bullet for. Some I’ve fell out with. There isn’t a person I’ve fallen out with that I still do not care for on some level.
There are a few things in my life that dramatically altered its course. Of course, everything you do in life will have this effect, in big and little ways. Some of the biggest for me were coming to the United States, meeting my husband, and, as life changing as these two, joining the furry fandom.
Over the past few years I felt I was becoming very disillusioned with it. I stopped calling myself a furry for certain periods. I felt I had all of these wonderful memories and that was great but those days were over.
But after the last few days on Discord, after deleting Twitter and Instagram (with Twitter being the most significant) I realized I was wrong. The fandom didn’t change that much. My friends didn’t change that much. Not in the ways that matter. Social media, and Twitter in particular (even Livejournal and Tumblr, honestly any place that has a repository for harassing/calling out people, really) will absolutely warp your perception. They sure did warp mine.
I know not everyone can just up and leave social media. A lot of you will tell me “it’s how I make a living” which I can completely understand. I’m (currently) in a more comfortable position: I have a couple of commercial clients and my husband takes care of all my needs. That said, I do still count on my commission income for any business related bills, and any frivolous spending. So I do very much care about being able to continue to sell commissions, and in that regard I have no idea how it’s going to pan out when I reopen later this year.
However, if you want to risk it, what I can tell you is that it took less than a week for my life to completely change. I’ve felt so light and happy. My brain seems to be adjusting itself, I can concentrate more easily, my thoughts are more positive, my stress has melted away. I’ve been talking to my friends a lot more, the opposite of what I expected! I knew that social media was ruining my life. But I don’t think I realized to what degree. Even as much as I despised it, still, I underestimated its effect on me.
I guess I have to bring this entry to a close, since I don’t have much else to add. I’m feeling happy and nostalgic and looking forward to the future.
I’m off to start my day properly now, and I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful one!