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  • Devany Amber Wolfe

Hi all,


This post is intended to help you understand the protocol used for any form of gut dysbiosis whether that be SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) SIFO (Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth) or Candida. You do not need to be overweight or with significant health problems in order to have this - in fact it is very common with our modern diets + lifestyles to have dysbiosis. This protocol, while quite strict, follows very healthy guidelines, helping to get the microbiome back in balance.


Lil disclaimer: I am not a health professional - just someone who cares - a lot. I’ve done a ton of independent research and am finding new things out every day. I am well aware of how overwhelming the medical / functional medicine communities can be, as well as the internet, so this is the process of me having distilled some things down. If it works for you, then great, if not - that’s ok too, as we are all different.


Also, please bear in mind that this protocol requires eating meat + fish. I was vegan + vegetarian for two years, which led to my own dysbiosis. This protocol is not a moralization / condemnation of veganism or vegetarianism in any way, but simply approaching from the perspective of total health and homeostasis.



PART ONE - WHAT IS DYSBIOSIS?


First, we need a few key terms.


Microbiota: ecological communities of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms found in and on all multicellular organisms studied to date from plants to animals. Microbiota includes bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi and viruses.


Microbiome: the collection of all the genetic material / microbiota, including the places in which the microbiota reside (gut, skin etc).


Metabolome: the biologically active molecules produced by the microbiota, also called postbiotics.


Prebiotics: dietary fiber that feeds healthy bacteria in the gut. Needed for short chain fatty acid production (SCFAs).


Probiotics: live bacteria and yeasts.


Postbiotics: see above - bioactive compounds that are created by the microbiota as a result of fermentation.


“An estimated 30-100 trillion bacteria comprise the microbiota, collectively weighing around 4.5 pounds! These bacteria include a mixture of commensal (neutrally existing), probiotic (mutually beneficial, also called symbiotic), and pathogenic (harmful to us) organisms, and can consist of any of 35,000 species known to inhabit the human gut. Every person’s gut contains approximately 400 to 1,500 different bacterial species of the possible 35,000 that are well adapted to survive in the human gastrointestinal tract, although thirty to forty species of bacteria will dominate an individual’s gut microbiota, accounting for about 99% of the microorganisms present in our gut.” ~ The Gut Health Guidebook, by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD

So given this amazing biodiversity, it is easy to see how, when in dysbiosis, so much of our health can go awry.

Dysbiosis occurs when a) too many pathogenic bacteria / fungi populate the gut (think Candida or E-Coli, or b) when bacteria / fungi overpopulate places they shouldn’t, i.e. the small intestine. The small intestine is naturally home to some bacteria, but it should not be overpopulated. SIBO and SIFO occur when too many bacterial colonies (they do not have to be pathogenic) invade this area. This occurs due to the pyloric sphincter between the stomach and small intestine, and the ileocecal sphincter between the small and large intestine, remaining too open and allowing bacteria to pass through (and inevitably take up residence).

The cause of this is yet mostly unknown - but a lot of anecdotal evidence suggests that low stomach acid is the cause, as when we don’t have enough of this, it does not kill off “bad” bacteria. It also, of course, leads to improper digestion of foods, which means that the lower digestive tract must pick up the slack. More on what to do about this later on.

Please research the symptoms of SIBO, SIFO and Candida to see if they apply to you. I will include links at the bottom of this document.

Unfortunately, gut dysbiosis is a fairly new topic of study. Which means, more unfortunately still, that a) when we go to doctors about this, they will often not know what to do and b) untreated dysbiosis can lead to a whole whack of autoimmune illnesses, including MS, Lupus, etc.

Hippocrates believed that all illnesses begin (and end) in the gut. When we consider that the microbiome is a host of other living organisms inside of us that perform tasks and have their own gene expressions, it makes sense. The gut can literally help our genes express themselves and change how they do.

Leaky gut occurs when the SIBO / SIFO begin eating away at the epithelial cells (cells that act as barriers) in your small intestine. Proteins begin to “leak” out into your bloodstream, which your immune system picks up as something to fight. If you have a steady stream of “leakage” and therefore a steady stream of immune system red flags, you develop inflammation and autoimmunity.

This diet is geared towards reversing all of this, and for me, it has been working. I’m only a month in, but have been seeing great results - so I hope this helps you, too.

PART TWO - FOODS FOR HEALING

Diet(s) - (these are what I am doing, other diets / variations are possible as well).

1. Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP):

Diet that essentially removes, for at least 6 weeks, ALL known "general" allergen producing foods (barring unique allergies we may have). The idea is to wean them back in one by one after at least this period of time, but some people (for example those who have MS) will be on the diet for much longer. Immensely helpful for identifying inflammatory responses in the body, and beginning to heal the gut.

2. Low FODMAP Diet (Fermentable, Oligo, Di, Mono-saccharides, Polyols):

Much different variety of foods than AIP, but can be added on (or subtracted, as it were) from AIP to ensure that things like SIBO, SIFO and Candida are being taken care of. In our modern diet, we often combine the wrong foods together, which can lead to fermentation in the gut. When we have SIB/FO + Candida, the fermentation is highly problematic, as it becomes 'food' for the overgrowth of bacteria / fungus.

The following protocol is keeping both AIP and FODMAP in mind:

OK TO EAT:

~ Meat, shellfish, fish (emphasis on fatty fish, lean meats, with some saturated fats, more on that later).

~ All veggies barring beans (green beans, snap peas etc), white potatoes and the entire nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, hot peppers, goji berries etc)

(note: for FODMAP, be mindful of the stalks of broccoli, garlic, onion, shallots, cauliflower, beets, mushrooms, artichokes, asparagus - see how your system does with these). High FODMAP veggies may be able to be taken in moderation, but you may want to eliminate them completely for a while to give yourself the best chance.

~ All fruits in very strict moderation - see how you tolerate them. High fructose fruits are more likely to "feed" SIBO and Candida, so be mindful and keep track of your symptoms when you eat them, you should be able to tell what is ok and what isn't. Certain fruits are really high in fiber, though, which is very important (more on that later).

~ Fats: MCT oil, olive oil, avocado oil, tallow, duck fat, coconut oil.

~ Green herbs and spices, salt (no pepper + avoid all "red" spices, barring cinnamon and turmeric, both are fine).

~ Apple cider vinegar for salad dressings and potentially before meals to help stimulate bile (more below).

~ WATER WATER WATER WATER WATER. Cannot emphasize this enough. Stay hydrated. Once you begin shedding these toxins (die-off) you will want them to exit! You do not want these re-circulating through your bloodstream, making you feel extra ill. Water and fiber are essential.

SUPPLEMENTS:

~ Get a good bone broth protein, plus collagen and peptides. I get mine here. Bone broth is SUPER helpful in healing + soothing the gut

~ MCT oil - trendy and therefore expensive but also SUPER important. I put 1 tbsp into my morning protein shake (more on its benefits below)

~ Omega 3 supplement (we get too many omega 6's in our diet, so a supplement that says 3,6,9 is often unnecessary)

~ a solid multivitamin, not all are created equal. This is a good one. If you are female, getting an iron supplement (or a multi that contains iron) is important. If you have low stomach acid, iron is harder to absorb.

~ Oregano oil - antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. Trifecta of amazingness. Absolutely essential!

~ CoEnzyme Q10 - antioxidant, helps remove any free radicals / endotoxins from the body

~ Psyllium Husk - an insoluble fibre, helps bind toxins and excrete them - take in moderation as it can also feed SIBO / Candida if taken too much (so maybe 2x / week, 2 tbsp mixed with hot water to form a paste, I add a little cinnamon for flavour)

NOTES ON MACROS

Carbs: Ketosis - under 50g/day || "Regular" diet - 50-100+g/day

The AIP / FODMAP diet is naturally lower in carbs, which may cause you to lose weight. For some this is desirable, but if it isn't, and for balance's sake, you may want to up your carb intake. The reason I say balance is because the gut is home to trillions of bacteria and up to 1,500 different strains. At first I thought that being entirely ketogenic was desirable, because the complete lack of carbs and fruit sugars would inevitably starve the SIBO etc, right? While this is possible, no extensive human studies have yet been done on how keto affects the gut microbiome. The preliminary ones that have been conducted on rats + mice show that ketosis leads to the decline of certain helpful bacterial colonies and less gut biodiversity overall. What we want is diversity. It may seem counterintuitive to eat in such a restrictive fashion if what we ultimately want is diversity, but this restriction is only ever supposed to be temporary, in order to help restore variety in the colonies (starving the overgrowth). Similar to the planet's ecosystem, these colonies work in harmony with one another. Which is why, in my belief, carbohydrates in moderation are important during this healing process.

Since carb sources are so limited (sweet potato, squash, lower quantities in other veg), and protein ends up becoming a larger nutritional source, it is very important to up your fiber intake to ensure waste is being excreted.

Fiber: as much as feels ok, but make sure to chew, a LOT.

Three types - soluble, insoluble, resistant

You will want to get the same amount of all three if possible, and the more the better. Hunter / gatherer diets in different regions used to get between 100-250g of fiber per day. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is as low as 25g/day, sometimes not even that much. Resistant fiber is good for SIBO and Candida as it does not 'feed' it - this kind of fiber can be found in green, unripe bananas (other sources too if non-FODMAP).

Fats: Saturated - 16-22g/day || Unsaturated - 16-22g/day

Monounsaturated: olive oil, avocado oil - increases expression of genes involved in gut-barrier function and reduces metabolic syndromes.

Polyunsaturated: omega 3 + 6 fatty acids (more below)

Saturated: coconut oil, animal fats - must make sure to eat in moderation due to the fact that too many of these can affect SCFA (short chain fatty acid) creation, and can lead to endotoxin release into the bloodstream, adding to more negative symptoms.

MCT oil: technically a 'saturated' fat, but does not act as such (see above endotoxin note) and helps rebuild the epithelial cells in the small intestine + colon, which become permeable from "leaky gut." It is also an anti-fungal, and can help restore balance to the microbiota.

Omega 3: reduces endotoxin production, gut permeability and inflammation.

Protein: (to calculate exactly, multiply your body weight in kg x 0.8)

In those with SIBO / Candida, animal proteins seem to be very well-tolerated, especially if eaten separately from other foods (far less able to ferment in the gut). Just be mindful of the above saturated fat info, and eat fish to get the omega 3 content. Also please be mindful of factory farmed meats / farmed fish. It is best to try and get local, organically raised meat whenever possible.

Ferments, Vinegars + Probiotics:

Apple Cider Vinegar - take a tsp a half an hour before meals to help stimulate bile production. One of the main issues we have with SIBO etc is low stomach acid.

Low stomach acid is possibly the beginning of the entire problem, as it does not kill off / moderate 'bad' bacteria, and does not sufficiently digest food.

Fermented foods - the jury is out on this one. Some think it is helpful for SIBO but unhelpful for Candida. So if you have both, it may be good to avoid, or try in moderation to see how you feel.

Probiotics - generally only contain certain "helpful" strains of bacteria and do not suffice in repopulating the gut. The best approach is to repopulate through foods.

PART THREE - IMPLEMENTATION

This is going to take a lot of tenacity on your part. In a strange way it is helpful that restaurants aren’t open at the moment, as it leads to less temptation / social isolation during meals.

This is what I’ve found helpful for keeping on track.

  1. Make veg / meats in advance / in batches. If you aren’t used to cooking a lot, then this can be helpful in ensuring you don’t have to be in the kitchen constantly.

  2. Get used to not having a ton of sauces - ugh this one is a bit sad. But it’s true. Soon enough, though, you will enjoy all foods in their pure form. Coconut aminos, salt and lemon juice will become your BFFs.

  3. Keep a “food + mood” journal. Record what you eat every day, when you ate it, how it made you feel - and record the protein / fiber / carb / fat content. You won’t have to do this forever. I personally find it really informative.

  4. Try to maintain as much variety as you can. This one is hard, because this diet is so restrictive. Just don’t get stuck on one veg per week, for example. Mix it up throughout the day / week as much as you can.

  5. Move as much as possible. If you aren’t an avid exerciser that’s ok, but make sure to go for walks / stretch / use your body - it’ll help ensure the die-off happens.

  6. Expect to feel like crap sometimes. Detoxing is real. Make some room in your schedule to rest.

CONCLUSION

The minimum for this diet is 6 weeks. After this time, it is advisable to begin adding certain foods back in, and seeing how you do with them. This is when the food + mood journal would be really helpful again if you stopped doing it along the way. Only you know your body though, and it can take upwards of a year or longer to heal dysbiosis depending on how out of sync it is. A lack of variety in the long term can further complicate matters, because (as discussed in the first section) we need diversity in our gut bacteria. So again the emphasis must be on getting as much variety as you can while the diet is being implemented, and safely testing new foods after 6 weeks.

I hope you find this helpful + informative. To your health!

<3 Devany

SOURCES

The Paleo Mom

High Fibre Foods

FODMAPs

AIP

Symptoms of SIBO

Symptoms of Candida


  • Devany Amber Wolfe

S E R P E N T F I R E

Assistant


Role Description


Requirement: Must live in Toronto!


Hours per week: 5-8


Pay: 18.00CDN / hourly paid bi-weekly via e-transfer 3 month probationary period, 20.00CDN / hourly paid bi-weekly via e-transfer after probationary period.


Tasks:


~ Customer service / emailing with customers and wholesalers in a courteous, kind, patient and professional manner.


~ Keeping the online shop organized - ensuring all orders are well maintained and filled in a timely manner. Knowledge of the Shopify platform is a plus, and will be favoured.


~ Packaging and shipping tarot decks carefully and in a timely manner (once a week, day is flexible) - having a vehicle is an asset.


~ Ability to come to Devany’s home office to participate in packaging / shipping once a week, exact day TBD.


~ Flexibility with weekly hours is an asset - will never be any more than 8 hours per week, but the role will sometimes demand less depending on how many orders have come in at any given time. This is an organic small business so fluidity is preferred.


~ Ability to keep monthly calendar organized and keep Devany informed / reminded of anything important having to do with the business.


~ Positive, playful attitude required!


Please email CV and cover letter describing skills and experience to

serpentwolfe@gmail.com


Deadline for applications: Friday, January 31st, 2020.


  • Devany Amber Wolfe

~Rehearsing Idyllic Realities For Ego Reinforcement and Mirages of Communion~


It’s 1997, I’m 13, and I’m sitting down to a personal computer for the very first time. The most nascent, umbilical-fed, hard-wired inception of the internet was not too far removed from going to a library and viewing newspapers in a microfiche. But it soon became rapid layering of textures, visuals, a place to peer into deeply, with the voraciousness of human curiosity burrowing ever-further into the reaches of the void where all things digital live, or perhaps more accurately - exist. In pixels, particles, particular flickers, a dancing light show that mimics real life.


It is a wonderful experience for my senses. I go to a few websites for my favourite bands. I feel like a voyeur who has been given a master key. The images take several minutes to peel themselves into revelation, yet I don’t mind, as I still mostly exist in a world where patience and gratitude for the wonders of technology are at the fore, and this has never been done before. I’m given an allowance of one hour per day in front of this screen, this shiny gateway. I’m content.


Fast-forward three years. It’s 2000, I’m 16. Y2K has come and gone with little incident (except in the mind and the hype, some sort of return to zero, technological dark age, yet reality couldn’t be further from that notion). I have my own computer now. And on it is a chat program called ICQ. It goes “Uh oh!” every time I receive a message (how humorous that the cute foreboding sound effect would, like all sci-fi tends to, predict the quaking anxiety that awaited us all with the advent of social media). Its flower icons show if someone was online or off, away, or not to be disturbed. At first it seemed important to announce one’s online status, but then it became more mysterious to always have a “do not disturb” or “away” icon blazing - which to me was the beginning of the insidious nature of social media - whereby one is always online, always watching, yet embedded in a leaf pile of gentle shame for technically always being available.


I spend hours here after school. I rush home, barely squeezing in a brief hello to my parents, and climb into my computer nest. It appeals to my writer’s sense (always a better writer than speaker, as though my good speech is simply reserved for a crisp white page, real or imagined). It allows for the monkey mind to run wild. It’s scintillating in how rapid it can be, how rewarding the rush is of receiving a new “Uh oh!” and wondering what will be there for my hungry eyes to absorb. The more messages, the more the feeling of being unpopular is erased. The screen acts as a painter and an eraser all at once. Erasing the need to be insecure and vulnerable in the flesh, and painting a new picture where all words are curated, responses can be deliberated over, and ultimately therein lies a rehearsal of idyllic reality.


Fast forward again two more years - I’m 18 and I have an internet boyfriend. He’s 19, and he lives 2,600 miles from me in British Columbia. No one in my school is cuter than him. No one in my school is interested in me anyway, except for the captain of the basketball team who simply wants to conquer an artist-type, similar in fashion to that film, “She’s All That” - and I let him, equally curious about how my social tendrils would fare in that scenario. But of course it went nowhere, and thus the online boyfriend ruled the day, and that whole year. We also spoke over the phone, and then later spent two weeks together (more on that later) - but the majority of the hours that comprised that dazzling, swoon-heavy year of my puppy love life took place in the 1s and 0s of the abysmal light box, forever converting code into a semblance of true connection. I replayed time and again the videos of him, with nothing but the screen illuminating his face, saying sweet nothings to me. Those were my precious gems.

Now, don’t get me wrong - feelings are real no matter who or what you feel them for. I know this to be true. It just so happened that my aforementioned tendrils were so long, and so tenacious, to reach 2,600 miles into the heart of another Capricorn who equally felt I was the sea-goat for him.


Yet despite having some nascent, teenaged understanding of reality vs imagination, and the great divide between the two, I was wholly unprepared for the incoming disillusionment which would present itself during our true, fleshy meeting. I travelled the endless miles over three days and mind-bending terrain to his doorstep, and he turned out to be a 50 year old man ---


...no, he didn’t. But that’s a nightmarish scenario that of course played through my (and my parent’s) minds.


Oh, the sour disillusionment! He was every bit as handsome as I had compiled in my mind’s eye from photos and videos, but in a matter of days the blooming petals in my puppy heart had turned concave and begun burrowing themselves like ingrown nails, digging a new chasm inside of me that I didn’t know could exist. Every bit of poetry emitted from his virtual lips, every sinew of his liminal, imagined body did not, in its real form, imbue me with a sense of belonging as I had conjured over and over again in a feverish loop. What I stumbled upon was instead a labyrinth of - well...confused and angsty teenagehood. A boy who didn’t know how to be a boyfriend. Who spoke vast fantasies into existence, but whose existence could be dispelled like a puff of smoke. And as it turned out, I too could not rise to the occasion of my own elaborate depictions, and the self I had rehearsed myself to embody once the time came. The palpability of corporeality was simply too overwhelming for us both.


Fast-forward again to 2014. I’m 30, and I’ve begun my business. I’ve released the first edition of my inaugural tarot deck into the world. I have an instagram account, that I started the year before. I have just over 1,000 followers or so, if I remember correctly. I have a mounting sense of visual identity forming, and an endless appetite for exploration. I am avidly sharing creations and parts of my life, that seem genuinely reflected back at me by the small community of like-minded souls who also inhabit the platform. My posts are visible to everyone who follows me, and vice-versa, and our vanity, although present, is humbled by the yet-small reach we have, and the number of avocado toast photos that currently outnumber us.


Fast-forward again to 2017. I’m 33, and my business is thriving beyond my wildest imagination. My follower count has expanded to the tens of thousands. My network has expanded to include people that I never would have otherwise met. I’ve been featured in Wired Magazine, Nylon and Vogue. I’m in a race against myself. Only I stand in the way of me. My body, protesting due to un-integrated trauma, injury and autoimmune disease, becomes at once electrified and deadened by this constant onslaught of stimulation. My output is, in a word, insane. I’m making art as though it’s being hauled out of me by some unknown, anti-gravity force, pushing and pulling. It’s beautiful and ethereal. I’ve never been here before. I never dreamed it would be real. Since the grand disillusionment of my puppy love, I’ve run the gamut of the starving artist, first painting, then drawing, then both, then digital art. No one paid attention, or paid with money, for a long, long time. So this was like quenching thirst after a long time in the desert, except what the social media world expects of me was to leak, leak, leak those precious, vital liquids from my creative core into their thirsty mouths. And I, in turn, expect it of myself - becoming increasingly afraid that if I stop my enthralling momentum, I become irrelevant, returning to the squalour I worked so hard to arise from. So I press on despite myself at times. My words become ever-more personal, I’ve found my perfect light in photographs. The curation of the online experience has discovered its niche and how to manipulate others and oneself into fodder.


And in some ways, just as I was reaching my peak productivity, my body totally crashed. I suffered a concussion, and, despite keeping up a fairly good posting game, had to take the sidelines of my own career arc for several months. It was almost as though the soul screamed, “I AM NOT A MACHINE!” one last time, and threw me into submission.

Fast-forward once more to present day, with a wide net cast upon the last two years of social media development. I have 65,000 followers. I am, to the gaze of the lidless eye, a highly successful, world renowned artist. To be fair, I am that to myself as well, as I have developed a healthy viewpoint on my success. The insta grid, 3 wide and unfathomably deep, is punctuated by gorgeous visuals and poignant words, all of my own curation and creation.


Through my products and my generous writing, I’ve evidently helped countless people process limitless challenges, as I receive messages of that nature nearly daily. These tendrils, while tender, often fail to meet their intended heart-mark, due to their once-removed digital nature. You see, we do not directly touch one another’s hearts with one another’s warm hands. But we emote as though we do, which places such emphasis on the medium, repressing and sublimating the need for true connection.


The mimicry of kindredness is so insidious that, to the younger folk glued to their devices, there is no divide between the illusion and their logical discernment. There is no room for such discernment, as there has been no life Pre-Internet (PI) There is only After-Internet, (AI) Hmm...artificial intelligence, after-internet...I’m sensing a theme here.


Real life takes a backseat to the unending, technicolour dreamland of digital concepts. It is dull and gritty in comparison. There is so much pain, trauma, despair, melancholy, apathy and anger in this grit, visible within the grain of the high-definition cameras. So it’s best to blur those images, soften the lens, add filters, until there is little semblance of truth in the presentation.


Even those who ‘share their ugly’ in these voids - those who peer into our own darkness to extract meaning and flame - do so in a way that does not show the hairy asshole of it all. They stand, in lovely garb often gifted by companies who need brand ambassadors, well-coiffed, in magical, dappled sunlight, tossing a thoughtful gaze off into the distance, showing you that their toil is now bite-sized, past-tense, and most importantly they’ve gracefully transcended. Love and light. Namaste. They wear flowing robes that ripple in the breeze, they beckon you to come with them into the meadow of heightened spirituality. They flash veneered smiles that show they’ve made it through some shit and you can too. They quote Rumi, Eckhart Tolle, and if they’re real intellectuals, they might throw in some Jung. They reveal just enough so that they appear vulnerable, but remain intact. Because to totally fall apart, publicly, is akin to the madness which forever trapped Britney Spears in a meme with a bald head and threatening grimace.


In a world where no one knows who you are outside of the instagram grid, this kind of emotional farming is not only possible, but preferred. One may take 40,000 boomerangs of oneself before deciding which 0.5 degree facial angle is the prettiest for one’s stories. One may display 10 different highly-filtered selfies in a slideshow if one cannot decide which is the sexiest, in order to inhale as much positive feedback as possible, to boost one’s fragile ego. “Felt cute, might delete later” has become the perfect escape niche for burgeoning vanity, testing the waters for inclusion without the commitment - just in case the general consensus is indeed, ‘not cute.’ The inflated amour propre of each individual influencer, in their own right, would glow an ominous crimson and could be seen from the windows of their houses, yet you would never see the details of their painful experiences unless they wanted you to know them.


And so with each user exhibiting their finest, and parading their magical manifestation powers, there becomes a simulacrum of support and good vibes - yet it is based upon a broadcast, which is based upon a rehearsal, which is based upon an idea of reality, not the whole picture. It is so far-removed from the seat of the soul that the parade actually makes people physically and mentally ill over time, yet the dopamine addiction to likes and comments overwhelms the protestations of the higher self. The awareness of the dent in mental health is high enough at this point that many users in fitness and beauty fields are attempting to dispel myths about perfection on a regular basis, but their grids are still so highly curated that it doesn’t matter to the countless women and men who are sitting at home silently shaming their bodies and faces for not having the proportions the influencers do. There is so much FOMO (fear of missing out) that even while one is at an amazing event, or travelling to a beautiful place, one still feverishly checks their instagram to see what everyone else is doing. Is it better than what they are doing? More fun? More cool people? Are they getting more engagement?


Social media thrives on this vibrating insecurity. The lidless eye knows that we all crave connection, acceptance, inclusion, praise, admiration, success, mutual benefit...these are fundamental human desires. It knows that the more we curate ourselves, the more others will too, in this unbound, deathless race towards exquisiteness that crosses over often into supremacy and faultlessness. There is no fault if what we uphold is an illusion anyhow, right? We are either all at fault or none of us are. My cross-country lover was not at fault for not living up to the expectations he nurtured, or so he said, when he threw up his arms and cried, “I don’t know what you want from me!” The influencers are, apparently, not at fault for the illusions they cast into the abyss about body and lifestyle, as it is up to the consumer to discern.


So who is accountable? Certainly not instagram itself, as its scope is verily as epic as the fetus fields in The Matrix. When something becomes that indomitable, it is hermetically sealed from responsibility, especially given its users are there of their own free will. So it becomes up to us to manage ourselves, our expectations, our egos, our discernment of reality versus illusion, the pain and anxiety we experience being under the gaze all the time. We have to actively seek out real connections and experiences and deliberately put the phones and computers away for periods of time to refresh the sense of what is true. Like it or not, as my therapist recently pointed out, this is the age we now live in. But I, for one, often miss the days PI. I have never been a proponent of artificial intelligence and I am quickly becoming tired of this article’s other AI (after internet) - as I am wary of anything that is so insidious that you cannot recall how you lived your life before it. To me, there are only a few basic things that are truly needed in life, and the toxicity of social media is not one of them.

Not unless the eternal gaze will begin to uphold those whose beauty lies in their vision for a healthier future of the planet. A space where instead of clamouring for approval of a perfect bone structure that will eventually disintegrate and populate the soil, we clamour to improve ourselves in real ways and inspire each other to do the same. A place where the top of the pyramid is truly a vast ocean where everyone is doing their part. Where the only things we are showing off are our remarkable inventions, innovations, inner work, where we beckon each other to green up and grow out our lives, into meadows we ourselves have grown and tended to.


I can hope.


Devany Amber Wolfe

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