Firstly, there will be two posts today, one fun and one, well, this. It goes without saying that Covid has been tough on all of us; the lucky ones who didn’t get Covid have had the weight of social restriction and the constant worry of 18 months of ‘what the hell is going on?’. And Social Media has become the one way of interacting, bar breaking the law (never thought I’d think or type that in my life but, you know, Covid madness).
And people have got, well, a little odd and weird. There’s actually an easy explanation – everybody has PTSD. You can’t live under a low level of stress for so long without the brain warping somehow. The lonely have got lonelier, the extroverts have got frustrated, it’s just one big mess.
And for people like me, who use Social Media as both a way to express a part of me I haven’t got the courage to live and to bolster my self-confidence, it’s become a minefield.
See, I post things to make myself happy. But I also have a part of me, a big part of me, that has no confidence. It’s down to an upbringing where self-confidence was destroyed; being told you’re going to fail at everything during your formative years really f*cks you up. To put it simply, there are days when my entire self-worth is based on the comments I get from the Social Media posts I put up.
It sounds sad but it’s a coping mechanism. I put something up, someone says something lovely, I feel good about myself and my life choices. I put something up, someone says something negative or catty, I feel terrible and question every decision I’ve made.
And that’s an awful place to be, especially in the current climate. People like me are lucky in that the internet gives us a stage previous generations didn’t have, but you have to be careful not to base your own worth on the words of others.
I’m also very lucky in that I’ve grown a hard skin over the years; being told you’re a failure for so long means it doesn’t come as a surprise when someone criticises something you do. It still hurts but, pragmatically, if you put stuff up you have to take the good with the bad.
And there’s lots of good. I’ve met and made friends online that are ten times more supportive than people I classed as friends before the internet came along; before 2015 I’d never met a transgendered person. Seriously. The internet exposed me to a new lifestyle and the fact that the things that make that little warm dark spark in my soul also make others feel the same way. That knowledge in and of itself is worth all the hate.
This isn’t about safe spaces; there are no such things. If you make somewhere a completely safe space you’re repressing the ability of people to have an opinion. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. For me personally it’s taken a long time for me to understand that what people say doesn’t have to be taken as the gospel truth. It’s their opinion.
In the case of the stuff I do I’m on thin ice anyway; subconsciously I still feel guilty about ‘not being a real man’, and it’s hard not to feel down and a failure when you get criticism. But the point of this post, and there is a point I promise, is that Social Media is a harsh landscape at the moment but it will get better.
People are fed up of being effectively locked in. Social Media is both an outlet for frustrations and a chance to experience in a small part the socialisation we had before the lockdown. Everything is amplified. Add that to everyone being, well, a little touchy and it’s a wildfire waiting for a drunken barbecue.
Granted, I’ve had a bad couple of weeks. Personal issues, tiredness, insomnia, the waxing incident (still ongoing, red rash is going down but every follicle is dark black, making me look like an unhappy strawberry), car troubles, the full monty. I get the urge to post a lot, and then to obsess about the comments. Somedays I look at the pictures I have and all I see is a middle-aged man with delusions, somedays I love the woman I see. Last couple of weeks have been all the former.
Anyway, self-indulgent whinge over. Going to write a blog-post about Roleplay and pretend to cheer myself up.
Stay beautiful and as strong as you can, sweeties. It will get better.