Day 6: How has the power of social media impacted the way you look at yourself?
A6: The power of social media has pushed me to be more self-conscious and guarded more than anything when it comes to my personal life. In the past, I have often caught myself just being a little more guarded and watching what I say and do more online now than normal. To me, it seems like people get a kick out of broadcasting every little negative thing that is happening in their lives whether it be in a written form like on twitter, or in a video form like on Snapchat. There’s nothing wrong with that, to each its own, but I have found it disturbing that people like to broadcast other’s failures and loses as a source of entertainment for themselves. For example, there was a time period where I was really into this guy. Lets us just say this guy’s name is John. Well John was not into me……pretty much at all I came to learn in the end when it came to my own well being overall. I would often confide in John about issues I may have going on personally, or just with myself in general. The bad thing about me confiding in John is that he was not trustworthy…….at all. The entire time these in person conversations would be going on, John would be tweeting away right in front of me, using everything that was being said to him as a laughing matter. When I would log on after having a conversation with pretty much myself even though I would be confiding in himself, it hurt like hell to see my entire conversation being posted for others to read and give their input. I have always been a fairly private person when it comes to immediate matters that are affecting me negatively, so this really made me mad that all that hard work I was doing to stay off the internet did not matter in the long run because he had already placed me on the internet for entertainment. This became a huge problem not only for myself and him, but also for the people around him. Things got so bad that he would take what I was saying and not only place it online, but also as a source of conversation with another girl in person in hopes of making me look worse than what I really was, and him look better in her eyes for …you know what. This is also called pillow talking, I created a painting based on this abusive and manipulative behavior a while back, you can check it out at this link.
All of this ultimately ended up on twitter feeds through subliminal messages a while the entire time I had no idea it was going on right in front of me. This was a lesson I learned years ago that you can’t trust everybody. Even when you’re dong good and just want to express your joy, it can and often will be turned into something negative for you in the hands of the wrong person. That one experience with John changed my entire mindset not only about him, along with the girl who was taking part in his abusive behavior, but also how I myself used social media in general and how I felt about myself all together. I began to hate myself. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong to be treated in such a negative manner. This began to affect my mental health as well because I began to beat myself up over everything. I just did not feel good enough for anyone or anything around me that I was trying to pursue in my life. My focus became blurred and I often felt as though John got a good laugh and kick out of that as well. It was like he enjoyed watching me hurt publicly online in order to stroke his own ego and make himself feel better. This is a form of emotional and mental abuse that could have turned into physical abuse. My page activity went from me being very social and friendly with random people online whom I had never met before, to my page activity becoming very saddening and negative towards my own self.
Once it was brought to my attention what was being done right in front of me, to me, I began to take people a little more serious including myself after awhile. Now, when I have something good going for myself or in my life, I refuse to tell people now unless they are extremely close to me, but even then I may not tell everything. That one negative social media experience and impact made me place a huge additional guard around myself all together which still to this day makes it extremely hard for people to get close to me out of fear of them intentionally breaking my spirits down. That guard has been put into place to see who actually cares enough to work through it and get to know me fully instead of placing judgement on me based on what someone else has told them. I am more easily able, and willing, to literally block people online when they are tweeting or posting outlandish things about others whether I know them or not because I have been there and know how that feels when you’re seeing thousands of people laughing at your failures, or hundreds of people cheering on one person cyber-bullying another. It is not fair, and I have refused to glorify it and give respect to such activities and actions online since my first negative experience years ago.
Two good things came out of this though. One is it helped me to clean up my social media pages. The more I began to tweet and post things to uplift others instead of anything negative and saddening showing my how hurt I was, the more I began to attract a better following. It just hit me one day that it was time to let that hurt go as explained in Day 5. I did not want those two people have any additional control over me and my emotions as they already had, so I just changed and began to better myself. This better following has led me to some amazing art collaborations, along with better events to attend as well. The more I began to tweet and post about more positive things, the more I noticed those negative people disappear on their own from my pages and my entire life personally. A negative person will never show up for anything positive. The second thing that came out of this was the natural karma for John and his female cyber-bullying companion. This also taught me a lesson that you don’t have to physically, nor even verbally, do anything to get back at a person when they do wrong by you, especially while online. Instead, you should sit back and watch them put on a show publicly the same way God is also watching them as well. He will ultimately take care of all loose ends for you, on his own timing. That natural karma will be a life changing experience for those who have done wrong by you, and will be even bigger and worse for them if this wrongdoing is being done publicly. In the end, John and the girl who enabled his abusive ways and mentality helped me to grow up and become far more mature as a person than I have ever been in my life, and what’s better than real, true growth for yourself ya know?