We’re connected. We’re connected all the damn time to our cellphones and laptops and it’s a damn shame. I’m sitting here on the couch with my husband and fur baby and in this instant I am overwhelmed. Sometimes being connected is a wonderful thing, but sometimes when you’re super empathetic it’s a horrible thing.
There I was, tweeting and retweeting “#WPMOY Newton” “#WPMOYChallenge Newton” and feeling my mind and resolve just crack with every tweet, every response to every new “friend”. I use the term friend in quotations because friendship is defined nowadays on the premise that you’re political beliefs align perfectly with your friend’s and that’s it. Gone are the days where you can “not talk about it” or “not have an affiliation” because to apparently not want to be involved is to not care.
I don’t tweet about politics or religion, I live by the golden rule “a lady never tells” but that doesn’t mean I live in a glass bubble, unsympathetic to the plights of those suffering. In fact, as an empath, I feel it so acutely that my heart literally breaks and I cry when I see any kind of hate towards people based on their political beliefs, religion, race , or sexual orientation. As a Christian (NOT the kind that stands outside your abortion clinic telling you you’re going to hell) a genuine Christian I believe that everyone deserves love and respect even people I struggle to love and respect. I once begged on Twitter to stop seeing the image of a dog which was the victim of dog fighting, why? I broke down and cried every time I saw it.
So there I was in the middle of a healthy disagreement on whether or not someone who “supports Trump in 2019” deserves to get “blocked” before someone even knows them and I broke down and cried. Now to be clear, I’m not pro-Trump but I was also raised to respect whoever the leader of the free world was whether that be Clinton, Bush, Obama and yes-even the President who should stay the fuck off Twitter once in a while. I know people who voted for Trump in the election, I also know people who voted for Hillary. I know people, some within my families, who’s views are so contradictory to from one another BUT I recognize also political beliefs are only one layer to a person. Did I write off family and friends simply because they do not agree with me? No, absolutely not.
Seeing that hatred on social media and muting it day after day is, well, soul crushing. I identify as independent, I lean neither left or right, but I love to listen to experiences and have dialogues with people who’ve been affected in ways I couldn’t even imagine so that I could better try to understand how they feel. I try to be open minded and see both sides of the argument, however, when I tried to explain this point of view in this discussion I was jumped on so quickly that it made me seriously wonder just how open minded and freeing thinking some people truly are.
I started to feel really overcome by the whole experience and in that moment, I felt super sorry for the 13-year-olds out there because I am a full-fledged adult and I actually felt afraid for the first time to speak my mind on social media. There is a stress and chaos that comes with many people from many walks of life communicating over a mobile device without being able to gage emotion.
It was deeper than that one issue though, it was in that moment I realized maintaining social media has become a bit like a full-time job, only it’s a full-time job you don’t get any days off from. At any given moment, of any given day, somebody can reach out to you and either make you smile or trigger you so completely that you want to avoid any and all human beings. Right now, I don’t think I want anyone to have that kind of power over me. I’ve wondered if I was even enjoying myself anymore, since my tweets became public and not protected, or if it’s all just turned into another dumb obligation. That’s when I knew I needed a break.
Once I logged off from my main account, I was relieved. After all, the world is not going to end if I miss some tweets, or don’t post a picture of my dinner or lunch. I want to go back to the days where I wasn’t face to face with people commenting, complimenting and criticizing everything I do. I want to be able to spend a decent amount of time living my life sans social media. Let’s be real, if you go out to a restaurant and look around you, you’ll probably notice everyone is on their phones, and it sucks. I want to stop Instagramming, Tweeting, and Facebooking long enough to eat a meal with my damn family & friends.
My Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feed lately seems like a constant parade of all the fun stuff everyone else is doing, and it really started to make me feel like I was comparing my life to other people’s especially seeing people taking more vacations than me made me feel defeated on days I struggled with keeping my expectations in check. Not everyone has to have fun 24/7, even though the barrage of photos and updates makes it seem that way. I just want some time away from scrolling through the litany of party posts and vacation pics.
Social media can be a blessing and a curse. Right now, it’s leaving me feeling stressed, profoundly sad, and anxious, so I need to take care of me and give myself a break by taking a social media vacation.
Do you think social media can be overwhelming?