I am a troubled woman. I became more troubled when I signed up to social media. It breaks my heart to see that in order to be seen I have to bare my soul or my body or my spirit, become a born-again and set about ‘saving’ everyone. Or trivialise my life into some kind of ‘diary of an ideal day’ in order to furnish the glazed eyes and empty headed thinking of the readers with something they would like. Turning my otherwise ordinary life into something that is ‘speaking to’ and has ‘meaning’ to so many others, because I baked a cake or completed 15 consecutive days of my gym training, or confronted my parent on their bad parenting skills. I find that approach to social media fame, very hard to do especially in a world full of salacious gazing, rabid content consumers and even more troubled people than myself.
I know your great hair-do or gelled hair, along with your well-fitting outfit is making you feel like a million dollars but in all honesty, what does a bad day feel like to you? When you don’t have time to do your hair or afford a slap-up meal in a fancy restaurant? Isn’t that a genuine insight into your life? And does swanning around your house, with your record button on, as you listen to your favourite track, or snapping photos of your meal, when posted, become a real source of inspiration for the hungry, troubled, overworked masses out there?
You congratulate yourself on reaching 500 followers and you make a big announcement, telling your many happy-faced likers and followers how grateful you are. Do you tell your family or a friend, who perhaps paid a bill or two for you along the way, or helped pay your tuition fee for a course you thought you wanted to do, but never completed how grateful you are to them for their longstanding, support over the years? Do you think of those times when you were on your knees, needing the hand of someone you could trust, who turned up for you in that moment…do you thank them for that quiet moment of respite, gifted to you through their act of kindness? And if you do, does doing in public like on social media, make your gratitude and love so much more meaningful because loads of people you don’t really know ‘like’ it?
Yes. I am a troubled woman. I see other women, both famous and otherwise doing daring things like taking off their clothes, cussing at the powers that be, talking dirty just to confront conventional thinking, about how women should behave. Riling against the establishment for keeping sexist thinking alive and well. And I ask, do you tell these things to the men in your lives, your husbands, your sons, your sons friends, your brothers etc or is it better to blare it out on social media and get the ‘likes’ from your followers? Does the message mean more because it is rolled out on your soapbox? Will you personally listen to someone who just seeks to alarm you, jarr your sense of peace, be provocative to get a point across? Will that really make you sit up and listen or turn away?
I ask myself, troubled as I am, just what am I doing here, there and everywhere on social media when most times it makes me idle, placid and fake? I know I have lowered my game to fit in. I know that. I look for posts that would just roll off easily to a staged audience I do not know or truly care to know because apart from your outings, outfits and outbursts, nothing else is offered. In other words, who you really are is less important than who you want to be ….on social media. Ask yourself why? That troubles me.
It troubles me to see how affected I have become over things that are not worth my time or effort. Like when someone jumps on another’s post because they want to invoke a religious or racial slant to a comment. It troubles me. The capacity for unkindness and pushiness because some people incorrectly assert that they are smarter and others are always more stupid. It troubles me because I think we are all just as liable as any other to get it wrong, and that in itself is not a problem, or a fault, or an undesirable quality, but a way to assess and re-assess our thinking processes.
It breaks my heart to hear people proclaim in black and white terms, for and against diatribes for complex, troubling topics like abortion, alcoholism, so called terrorism. Is every abortion case the same? Do some women knowingly go out to just have sex and run away from the responsibility of child rearing? I don’t know. I really don’t. So I am troubled that so many seem to know. Then why would the opposers not look at the medical profession too? I mean they are at fault, technically speaking for they carry out the medical procedures. It is not just the woman who is ‘evil’ in some eyes. And although many protest at abortion clinics, they still rely on the same medical profession body to take care of them and their loved ones when it is needed. This way of seeing and acting troubles me. For individuals cannot decide what is a greater or lesser good for the masses. It is far too complex. And the desire to do this is what is at the heart of most troubles.
It troubles me that many feel it is their right to act in the name of religion. The Gods or their prophets have laid down the law. Some follow and others don’t. It is not in the interest of those quietly or loudly following, to call upon others to do what they say is needed. It is not a club or a religious sale. It takes time and thought. It’s troubling that we live in a fast-forward approach to religious idealism where perfection and not reflection is sought after. It only adds to my troubled thoughts.
So yes, many, many things I have discovered troubles me. But I came to social media with my own troubles too and being here has not helped. The troubling question for me is what does one do? How do I remain really human in an age where what we think or know has to be mindlessly packaged to suit the larger interface of social media that many of us are choosing to be on? My troubles about life are not nice little stories of finding myself, finding love, or my true worth, accompanied by a nice poster, and putting it up on my wall, to engage my likers and followers. My troubles run deep. And it requires quiet reflection away from the 200 followers and likers, from the distraction of social media. In my real life, not social media me. Leaving me to conclude that the ‘contents’ of my life must remain true to me and not packaged into cutesy, little segments of canned sympathy, laughter, pretend-go-getter/entrepreneur and false introspection for indiscernible consumer content seekers, otherwise known as ‘followers or likers’.
A troubled but hopeful woman