Things Are A Bit Different Now

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

 Its been a while since I've written in this space. I've missed it.

For many years, my creativity has found a home on Instagram, where it has received much celebration. I have had the additional benefit of connecting with other creators and forming real, lasting friendships beyond what I ever anticipated. People I once admired from afar are now my co-creators, my inner circle, my closest and most trusted friends. I've grown. I've learned. I've seen and been seen. 

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the whole reason I started writing in the first place. When I first began, much of my writing content focused on spirituality, then faith transition, then my writing disappeared from this space entirely. In the meantime, I've been devoting my heart and soul to The Faithful Feminists, a podcast co-hosted by myself and my bestie. Its been incredible to see a project that began with two friends saying "We should record the conversations we're already having because others might be interested," to a flourishing podcast with an incredibly loyal following. As the four-year project comes to a close this year, I am reflecting back on Channing, four years ago.

Channing, Four Years Ago:

  • had a lot of answers she was super certain about
  • felt incredibly unseen
  • was deeply insecure about her lack of higher formal education
  • had two children still at home at least part time
  • was devoted entirely to the idea that it was possible to be faithful to the LDS church and embrace feminist ideals
  • nursed a growing interest in the occult, witchcraft, and earth-based spiritual practices
  • grappled with healing from developmental trauma and complex PTSD from childhood abuse
  • had a TON of energy and get-up-and-go
  • was really mad about moving from Arizona to Utah
Channing Now:
  • still has a lot of answers but is less threatened by the need to explain, challenge, and change
  • is a woman confident in her ability to communicate and teach from the vast wisdom of her lived experience and hyper-focused personal research
  • embraces her bisexuality after coming out to herself and the public in 2021
  • is nearly certain it is impossible to wholly embrace a healing, decolonized, equitable ethic while still remaining faithful to the LDS church
  • leans hard into the occult, witchcraft, and earth-based spiritual practices based on the beliefs and traditions of her pre-Christian northwestern European ancestors
  • feels a lot more equipped and supported in tending to her mental health
  • navigates her PCOS diagnosis with some difficulty, but a stubborn hopefulness all the same
  • is like, really into astrology, herbalism, and birding
  • has had her nose pierced twice, unsuccessfully
  • has two tattoos
  • is in love with Great Salt Lake and the place she lives
That's a lot to catch up on if this is the first time you're hearing from me since my devotion to Instagram; but if you've been following along there, you'll know this has been a slow and progressive journey that has been built step-by-careful-step. That's the beautiful thing about Instagram - it is easy to share and connect over pieces of a life and moments of beauty.

But Instagram has proven itself a tricky platform all on its own. From the constant advertisement, the encouraged endless scrolling, and the difficulty of engaging in hard conversations from behind a de-personalized screen, Instagram has become to feel more like a chaotic breeding ground for perfectionism, competition, and sales.

When I first started writing on this platform six or seven years ago, I deliberately chose not to feature ads on my website. The reason for this was two-fold. First, I find ads to be obnoxious and annoying. They are often conspicuous and difficult to ignore. I wanted my website to be a space uninterrupted by the constant stream of "buy, buy, buy." Additionally, as my content focused on often counter-cultural or spiritual devotions, it felt extremely out of alignment to be talking about loving and accepting oneself and rejecting the norms of beauty and youth and have an ad for beauty products and diets alongside my words.

Its funny to me how much those exact things show up on social media but in ways I didn't (or refused) to notice. Social media is not what it once was five, six, seven, ten years ago. As my spiritual journey has taken me into spaces that require silence, softness, and quietude, I've found it more and more necessary to cut out the ambient noise that is not life giving. Its not to say that I want my life to be quiet. Not at all. But there is a difference between the sound of children playing in the backyard, adults laughing at a birthday party, my favorite music blasting on full volume so even the neighbors can hear, the sound of the birds rising with the sun, and the noise of advertisements, a 24-hr news and tragedy stream, and small, ever-repeating audio and visual clips. Its just so much for me. I don't know if its a sign of neurodivergence, a trauma trigger, or just a proclivity to quietude in my childhood, but noise bothers me. In a world that already seems overwhelming, cutting out unnecessary noise is one way I am choosing to soften my life.

Of course, this brings with it a gamut of fears. Where will I share my writing? How will I be seen? What will happen to my friendships if I happened to not see their latest Instagram post, or the drama unfolding in social media spaces? I don't know. But I do know I need a space to share what is swirling around my mind without the constant worry about being accosted by Noom ads right after seeing a news headline about the latest public shooting. What a fucked up world we live in.

It feels nice to return to this space. I am a different person now, with a different worldview and different priorities. Its good to be back in a space of my own making. My hope is this can function in the future as a journal, a landing space for fleshing out ideas big and small, and continued connection, teaching, and sharing.


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