Having a rough night so I’m curling up with the kitty and writing.
It takes a lot to keep my attention these days. Nonsense is simply not enough. I’ve had an expressive year learning my boundaries, contemplating my penchant for adopting negative, unstable people, and trying to reassert myself to me.
Being an introvert is such an odd duck in this overly outgoing social media minded world.
We create narcissists out of sheer necessity to encourage over sharing and it’s simply not who I am or who I am comfortable being. I don’t need to instagram my trip to the health food store to prove I am interesting on some wholistic level, I don’t need to snapchat pictures of myself lying in my bed on a rainy Thursday afternoon looking contemplative and suitably nerdy with whatever comic book or novel I am currently indulging, but many do.
We are living in a society of constant input. The idea of being an introvert in such a world is entirely unheard of. Instead we live in some sort of pseudo-eco-introversion where if we simply pretend we don’t care enough about the social media influx, we still count as introverted and move on to post more and more.
I actually love a part of this idea because it means I could connect with someone without ever having to interact with them or without them ever knowing I exist. This is pretty much what you would think an introverts dream would be, but it still is too abraisive a lifestyle to be truly comfortable for the true introvert. Knowing too much about someone’s day to day life is like pushing a follow button on Facebook and being updated of their every status change. It makes me overtly aware of their journey and feel like I am connected in some way to their journey at every step. It comes to a point where I am shouting I need space! to someone who is completely unaware of my knowledge of their daily activities in anything more than a generic social space.
Needless to say, I unfollow nearly everyone on social media. I enjoy occasional photos of your new hairdos and children and little annecdotes about this weird thing that happened to you today in the parking lot, but being as it is everyone all the time, stories can easily be obscured by nonsense. Nonsense is death to storytelling. How can we create our own narratives when we are inundated with someone else’s in a state of near constancy. When we are told by the tools around us that such constancy is the new normal. That our walk through the park today only counts if we are posting pictures of ourselves climbing that weird old twisted tree we found which would look so good instagrammed with a lo fi filter and vignetted!
Social media is still media. Pictures, stories, anecdotes, generally wailings of unfairness or things that irritate us and while there is a place for that in our lives, we have to be careful that the wailing of others does not take over our own narratives.
I am very easily angered by tales of social injustice in a world that has an entire media marketplace designed around the concept that we should be outraged by tales of social injustice. Of course we should be. A lot of horrible things happen in this world that there is no good reason for. We want to make sense of things. We want to champion someone who is hurt for no reason. We want people who are hurting others to understand they are being unkind and stop. We want this world to be a better place for our children or the young adorable children of others who we’ve watched grow up as our own over the internet all these years.
There is so much to be aware of in this world and we have access to almost all of it. Heck, we even know what most people had for lunch today or whether they went to the gym afterwards. Social media is this crazy pseudo reality and there is nothing wrong with any of it- until you try to pull out of it.
I don’t check any of my online accounts regularly anymore, but I know that if I go on Facebook the day after I do an event, I will be inundated with pictures of smiling beautiful faces and the experiences of those around me as we participate in a sort of shared post mortem of our fabulous memories from the days event. We have formed memories together and now they are to be shared with the world. That’s glorious and reaffirming. It happens for every occasion. I love when it’s for an event or a show, but we also do it for little things like a trip to the corner market. and that’s okay, too- but where do we draw the line? It’s an odd thing to even imagine a line there. I’m only aware of the existence of a line because I have one. I have to to have one. It changes it’s depth and dimensions constantly as I learn and grow, but generally when people feel that every aspect of your life and day is open to them they are less respectful of the idea that you can have a life when the camera is off.
What it comes down to is that as long as I am allowed to set my own boundaries, I consider our relationship healthy. Social media is a weird animal because we put these demands upon ourselves based not he online personas we invest in and want to be like, but we have to be able to step back and actually decide who we are when the cameras are off first. What do you like to do when no one is watching- but also when no one will be watching for days? What would make you happy if no one were to ever watch the story of your life again? I know that I would read a lot, drink tea, dance, and do yoga because those are the things I require my downtime for. In this new world, it seems we are forced to quantify what al those things mean and create an outgoing identity based on those likes and source some other friends who have similar interests, but that’s all nonsense. I am just as valid if I am not sending you pictures of my downward dog and new fruit infusion tumbler because you knowing those things about me doesn’t matter. It matters that I know them about myself because they are my go to when I need to find my peace.
Our lack of an internal value system creates that need for feedback to validate everything from our memories to our choice off the lunch menu to our literature needs. It creates a need to step back, to exist with the social narrative off, to go do something no one will ever know about every day. There is such liberation and freedom in an act of defiance that perfectly embodies you and no one else.
It seems kind of silly after a while how people try to reach you through a social network portal via technology and get angered when your reply isn’t immediate and readily available. Often I abandon my phone these days to come back to it hours or days later to replies of people apologizing that their own replies were not immediate. Give yourself space to breathe and know that I choose my friends very carefully because I trust that they are my friends. A lack of an immediate reply to a text message should never be a make or break part of someones idea of what a friendship is though very often I hear just that.
Being constantly available is so often instilled in us that we think taking a few hours break is a big deal. I was on the phone and couldn’t respond to you for forty minutes. I was asleep and didn’t get back to you last night. The explanations are ever present and treated as excuses when we really should feel okay being a living, thriving being having a real world experience.
What are we here for if not to experience?