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  • Writer's pictureEmily Rigz

I am not Instagramable

The cover of Stephen Harrod Buhner's book Earth Grief

So I don’t know if I’m going to publish this. I don’t even know if I’m going to finish writing it. It’s very likely, if I go off previous things like this in my world, that I will write half a page, hate it, feel exhausted, lose all motivation, realise there was no point, feel mildly annoyed for wasting my time (which I’m honestly, sort of wasting anyway) and get on with my day. That’s just the truth.

I used to blog because I thought that what I thought was so important, and I wanted other people to think so too (just being honest). In fact, that’s why I used to do everything I did. I was trying to prove myself, forge some sort of identity, I wanted to be successful at something, I wanted and needed validation. So much validation.

And then one day, I realised that my whole life had been an exhausting race against myself that I was never going to win. I thought that if I worked harder than everyone else I could make up for being less talented, not as smart, for having a life that had not allowed me to pursue the traditional “route to success”, which I thought was university and years of dedicated work in some field that gained you notoriety. 

Now I just think that some people are born…more together than me. I guess if I hadn’t been born into a scenario that shattered my self-worth from a young age, and if I just wasn’t me biologically, maybe I could have gone through life enjoying it instead of just surviving everything. But that, is a different story and besides the point. Is this where you say “I digress?”.

So anyway, one day I just realised that I had nothing left. I couldn’t do any more social media bullshit posting. I couldn’t write another song, or book another gig. I couldn’t do another course. I couldn’t start another project. I couldn’t try to build a following because there was nothing to say, truly, nothing to post. I came face to face with myself, and I am not Instagramable or TikTokable or any of that bull shit. I know all the shit to do, but somehow I just couldn’t anymore. Besides, I failed at it all anyway. It seems that for some people, building commercial success into their lives isn’t too hard, but one day it was like I could see the horizon, and I could see that all that was ahead of me down that path was endless, gruelling, forced and fake “content creation”. There was no end to it. And the little part inside me that has always recoiled when I am seeing a very obviously unsustainable system that everyone is just smiling and nodding over as if “everything’s going to be fine”, that little part of me decided to stop it all.

So I kind of gave up. I gave up my music career (which, if I’m honest, never really felt like a career, it felt like smoke and mirrors behind which I was hiding how unaccomplished I truly am). I gave up “ideas” of “things to do”. I had and still have no energy. I have no energy to put into trying to get things off the ground that revolve solely around me. That's a bit of a distinction to make. There's a very big difference between being part of a team and having everything you do rely solely on your energy.

All of this was sort of catalysed by the birth of my third child, my son Marshall. Something about the energy it took for me to bring him into the world. It felt like I had to borrow strength from beyond the borders of my own human strength, and what resulted was sort of a burnt-out engine or something. Some part of me burnt out in a way that can’t be brought back to life.

So I floated at sea, and am still at sea. Trying to figure out how to live. What was post-natal depression is now, I’m slowly coming to terms with, life on the other side of some total internal shift that has taken place in the deepest parts of me.

In the process, I’ve grieved a lot of things. The hardest thing has been trying to function as part of society and part of a family when inside I’m just…not there anymore. A lot. I am juuuusssst starting to learn that I have changed in some terrible “maturing” kind of way that only happens to you through a shit ton of pain and grief.

Along the way I discovered the writing of an author named Stephen Harrod Buhner. It was sort of a terribly sad experience to find him in the last days of his life. He lived in Colorado I think? Somewhere in The USA. And by the time I was reading one of his books for the first time, he was dying (and writing profound literature about death!). He died a few years ago now. I wrote him a message that I don’t know if he ever saw telling him that I would read everything he ever wrote.

His work talks about life in a way I’d never heard anyone talk about life. Like all my life I’ve been adapting to this fucked up way of life we have, and then someone mentioned that actually it is pretty fucked up and I didn’t feel so…depressed and alone anymore. It’s really too hard to go into all the details of his work, it would be much easier for you to just read it yourself and see if you like it. But the reason I’m talking about this is because I’m nearly finished reading a book of his, which was only published in 2022, called Earth Grief. The impact of this book on me currently is pretty overwhelming. But it also feels healing in a very strange way. Like when you finally confess something you’ve been holding inside, ashamed and afraid, and you finally let it out and decide to face whatever comes, and you have the whole body feeling of relief. When you finally come to terms with your secret shame and you are ready to face it and then you realise you’ve created all this space inside yourself and you feel it all starting to heal, even though it really hurt to get all the festering shit out of the wound inside.

I realised that my entire life I have looked around at the way we live, what we call normal in our society, and I’ve always just thought it was bat shit insane. Do you know how lonely that is? Looking around at a whole society and being like “why do we do this? Why do we exhaust the resources of Earth (which are finite, by the way) to generate enormous amounts of waste for things we don’t need, stupid, gimmicky shit, and then just…dump it all in the Earth, or in the oceans? Why is that allowed at all? Why is nobody doing shit about this obvious atrocity that is playing out? And why do we have all of these systems that are obsessed with getting people to conform to them instead of accomplishing what they are meant to accomplish, like education? Or religion. Why are the people who run the world actually criminals who kill people, and then we lock people up for doing things a fraction as bad, but the politicians can do things as atrocious badly, or just flat out…lie, with no consequences? So many of these things. Mostly, why do we do things that are not sustainable when we don’t have to and why is nobody acknowledging that things can not and will not go on like this forever without extremely horrifying consequences?

And as life went on, I realised that I had to survive in this fucked up place, and so I learnt how to survive and tried my best to conform and be like everyone else around me who didn’t seem to think any of these things were worth thinking about at all. Most people flat out refuse to acknowledge that there's even anything wrong with the system, like completely brainwashed cowards or something, too scared to see what is right in front of them. And if you speak about it, you are crazy and stupid for believing in something that isn’t butterflies and rainbows (don’t you know, climate change is an extremely convenient hoax? Everything is fine. Humans are awesome) and also look how sad it makes you when you realise how much we are hurting every living thing, and don’t you know that life should be hysterically positive all the time and if you have to think about something that makes you sad, it means it’s bad, and then you are choosing to be bad and sad and why don’t you just stop thinking about it and smile so everyone can be more comfortable around you? Or some bullshit, cowardice logic like that.

So reading this book validated a lot of things I’ve lived with for my whole life. Things that have been extremely difficult on such a deep level I couldn’t even see them. Being a child in a world that makes no sense while everyone acts like it’s completely fine is extremely traumatising. But after reading Earth Grief, I can see that my reaction to living in an insane society, run by murderers, is actually normal. The depression I’ve had to battle my whole life is actually normal. It’s not pleasant, but it is a normal human reaction to a depressing situation.

And so, I am learning how to live with the grief I have to live with as a result of being a part of a horrifying shit show of a society that is never going to get better. I now know that I’m not crazy, and that things aren’t going to magically get better because the greedy monsters who believe it is their right to kill Earth for corporate greed will never, ever stop, and that the only way forward is to accept what they have done to the world, accept that it’s too late to change it, and try to find a way to live within it, like millions of other people have done who feel the same way as me. 

So all of my motivations to do things have completely changed. There was a time where writing a blog like this would have gotten me so bogged down in how it would be received, how many people would see it. And now, I basically know that nobody will read this. Occasionally people tell me they have read my blog, or listened to my music, but for the most part I am a raging un-success. So I’m doing this simply because I felt inspired to share, and that is all. Even though nobody will read this, and I might not write another blog for 6 years, these days I tend to think that I’ll only ever do things in life if I feel inspired to do them. I just don’t have it in me to do things I’m not energised by.

Actually, another evolution I’ve gone through is realising that anything I ever do with my life that has any kind of value will almost certainly fall outside the parameters of a “career”. This is a strange change in thinking for me because I have worked very hard, for a very long time to build a skill set and establish myself in my work as a musician and music teacher. I always said that I wanted work to be something I loved, was good at and got paid for. And now, somehow, funnily enough, I’ve achieved those things but feel like anything I ever do that holds any real meaning will not happen within the confines of the traditional systems our society works within. 

That is, of course, if I ever manage to do anything meaningful with my life at all! Now I know, I know that I have three children and that this is meaningful. But I just always wanted to do something with myself, with my skills and talents, that…well…was successful…that’s how I felt up until I had basically a major breakdown. Now, I honestly just want to do something meaningful, and deep inside I don’t think I ever will. That’s another thing I’ve kind of kissed goodbye. Because for some reason, nothing I ever do amounts to anything or means anything. People in general just aren’t interested in the things I have tried to do, the music I’ve made, the gigs I used to do, my writing. All of this is ok. It just is. It just leaves me in a really weird place in life. Not sure what to do with myself…

It looks like I got to the end of my blog. What a weird ramble hey! 

Here’s a poem. 

I am not a commercial entity

I am not an inspiring meme

I am not Instagramable

I am not living the dream

I am not doing my makeup

To sit in front of a screen

And smile like a fake example

Of what you aspire to be

I am so tired inside

I am lost at sea

I smile, I cry, I gasp for air

I feel lonely, and happy

I feel shattered and shocked

I feel love and the sun

I feel cheated and mocked

The baddies have won

And all I have to offer, in this dire state, in this ending of times, isn’t very much

All I have to offer, is my love.


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