Somebody once called me a popularity w**** (not the exact word used by them, but exactly what was meant), trying to piggyback on social media, spreading lies and trying to get famous. Get famous? Really? I have a paltry 1000 followers, and a few hundreds read my blog post. Sometimes the likes on my posts on Facebook don’t even reach double digits! How am I popular? And I mostly write about my depression and the train wreck that I am. In this narcissistic, “fake perfection” crazy world, how is that going to get me popular?! If I am actually trying to do all that they accused me of, I am doing quite a shoddy job of it I would say!
They had also called me a lot of other choicest words. I forgot all of them. One of them stayed in my head till recently, cause it was bloody hilarious. It was like they were describing themselves but projecting it all on me. I guess, it’s a good sign that I forgot it. Like any sane, positive and a self respecting normal person, I deleted those toxic texts and that person from my life.
Before I did that, I tried. I tried talking to them, trying to explain my point of view. Trying to dispel a probable misunderstanding. After all, when detached from body language, facial expressions and voice modulations, a written text is open to any kind of interpretation. I called, to talk, like grown adults. You know what happened? They hummed. Mmmhmmm. They started humming loudly as I was talking!! Whaaaat?! I didn’t know whether to get hurt or laugh! As soon as I hung up, there was a barrage of abusive text messages again. This was chapter 1 of “The guide to a middle school bully 101”. They didn’t care about the truth, they just wanted to make me feel bad about myself. That was their win. That was their happiness.
People who have been on this earth for decades, behaving like the schoolyard bully who only feels validated and superior by breaking someone else down. Someone who is incapable of thinking and feeling anything beyond satisfying their needs and their idea of happiness. Someone extremely insecure about themselves, and to avoid looking at self, they are busy pointing fingers at others. And that unfortunately, is a big part of all of our lives right now.
Not sit and talk to each other across a table, but hide behind their screens and keypads writing whatever they feel like, cause they can get away with it. They don’t have the courage to actually have a discussion. Not an argument, a discussion. Listen to each other and if still doesn’t work out, agree to disagree.
When we post on social media, we are serving our ideas and opinions to a very wide audience. To a variety of people from different stories, backgrounds and walks of life. They don’t always need to understand and agree with you. But, most times the reactions are beyond understanding. I tend to stay away from commenting on any body else’s post on social media on any sensitive topic. Which by the way, is almost everything nowadays. As I was one day scrolling through Facebook, those rare once in a quarter days, I came across a comment thread. I think it came up on my feed because somebody on my friend list had commented on it. It was a video/post about people choosing to not have/give birth to children. Someone commented about how they don’t want to bring another being in to this overpopulated world (very commendable and mature thought), someone just sharing their wish and opinion. The backlash they received! It was offensive, it made no sense! People calling them all kinds of names!
I have a public Instagram profile for my fitness posts. I get some crazy DMs there. These are people who don’t even follow me. Some are telling me “how I am not good enough” and “don’t know anything”, “how I have small b****” (I told them they were bigger than their brain for sure), your standard d*** pics and the best… once I got a plain and simple “F*** off”. I am still trying to figure out what they actually wanted to say. Now, I can’t let these posts bring me down. Honestly, they don’t even stay in my mind for more than 5 secs. I am putting myself out in front of random strangers, I am not going to care what they think, unless it’s a constructive criticism.
But, what about the times when you are attacked by people you know, or for a sensitive topic? I will start with the second instance. My dog had gone missing recently and I was posting it on various groups on social media. On one such group a lady accused me of not actually caring about my pet and some random stuff which had no connection to the topic on hand. A lot of people came to my support because they were aware of all that we were doing. They were following my posts and updates. This woman probably wasn’t and just after reading one post decides that I am not actually doing enough. She was also removed from the group for getting abusive with other members who tried to talk to her. Again, it didn’t affect me. I had received so much positivity and support from hundreds of people during my search for Hela, an uninformed abuser didn’t have the power to change it.
Now to the first instance. Years ago, I had had an unpleasant experience at a bathroom at an establishment and I had talked about it, mainly the inability to keep bathrooms clean in our country on a short post on Facebook, with no mention of name or location of the establishment. The conversation initially was about the same, talking about our social conditioning, society etc. And then… someone comes and starts accusing me of trying to malign and ruin the reputation of the place and the people associated with it, along with some very (again) uninformed and incorrect comments on human anatomy . I didn’t even have time to feel bad, because now this someone was actually a partner of that establishment. After their outburst, it’s identity was quite evident, and the irony of the situation hilarious. They told the world that the bathrooms at their place weren’t neat or atleast that I thought they weren’t. Something I clearly had tried not to put it out like that in open. And worse, they were the butt of multiple jokes for this situation for a long time. It’s been years and people still laugh about it.
That’s our problem. Everyone takes any comment as a personal attack on themselves, their views and life. Just because I say A is good, doesn’t mean I am calling B-Z shit! If I say Z is difficult, I am not saying A-Y is a cakewalk. Why does it have to be this or that?! I am a working mom, that’s the life I know and if I say it’s difficult, doesn’t mean I am saying a stay at home mom’s life is a breeze. Or that a single person’s life is a party! I am just talking about myself, my life and my experience, because who else can I talk about so confidently? Why can’t we just look at that?
Why can’t this humongous knowledge and information sharing system be about sharing experiences? Of seeing a side that we aren’t exposed to? Why does it have to be a competition? Why can’t we make it about learning and growing instead of bringing others down? Agreed, a lot of people write a lot of nonsense out there too. Why can’t we just ignore them and walk away? Don’t give them the attention, that’s way better than you getting into an argument with somebody you think is a fool. What does that make you? You are giving them what they want!
Just because something is a fact, doesn’t make it the truth. You know what I mean? Truth is very relative. It might be a fact that you didn’t mean to hurt someone, but the truth is your words broke someone down. So, when someone shares something personal on social media, you don’t have to dissect it. You don’t live their life. What do you know?
The important thing to remember is that it isn’t about what you post. The abuse you receive online has nothing to do with it. Abuse is always a choice. These are insecure, petty little people who choose to insult and humiliate you to feel superior. The best way to deal with them is to remember this. Get a high stool, climb on it, sit and look down at them. Look down and smirk at them. Don’t engage. Pity them. Shake your head and feel sad for such people who have no other joy in their life.
So, coming back to the initial accusation. If I don’t do all this for popularity, why do I do it? Why does anyone do it? I can’t speak for others, I won’t. But, I can speak for myself, and it might probably be the reason for a lot of other people. I write because that’s my outlet. That’s my way of processing what I am feeling. I take time to understand and express what I am going through or how a particular situation made me feel. As already discussed, human interactions are so twisted nowadays, the safest way to get them out is to pen them down. I am not interrupted or discouraged by someone’s scoff, that eye roll or that dismissive hand wave or in that case, even humming. It’s my catharsis.
Would I prefer to sit down and talk it out with someone instead of writing it down? Not instead. But hell yeah, I would also love to discuss it with someone for sure. But, who has the patience? My therapist does, but I won’t run to her with every problem I face. A few of my near and dear ones do too, I do talk to them, but I can’t keep bogging them down with my monologue all the time. I don’t want to! I love writing. I am not great, nobody is going to publish me, but again I ain’t doing this for popularity right?
If you can post about where you ate, your holidays, your progress, your kids, your gym stories, discussions on a movie, show, car, bike, politics, state of the world and everything else you can imagine, why shouldn’t I talk about an important and integral part of my life?
Another reason why I write. It gives a voice to a lot of other people who are unable to articulate or open up about what’s going on with them. When I shared about my battle with depression or my post on emotional abuse, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who reached out to me sharing their stories. I believe I helped someone apart from myself. And that is good enough for me.
So, instead of getting offended by every post put out there (unless it hurts, degrades or oppresses someone on purpose) try and keep an open mind. Instead of rejecting, think about accepting that there could be a different point of view which is influenced by a different life and story. If you are putting out your feelings and words out there, be open to disagreements and discussions. Accept that everyone doesn’t have to accept your theory. But, if someone’s sole purpose is to hurt and abuse you, you always the option to “block”.
Don’t be a Tyler Durden starting “Project Mayhem”. This world doesn’t need another Fight club.