Sir Patrick Stewart totally upstaged me with his social distancing video by dressing up in a tuxedo and drinking a martini while he read his 157th Shakespearean Sonnet. Honestly, I hadn’t planned a big party or to-do about this being the 200th day of virtual isolation, but after seeing that video, I decided to stay with my current theme.
As of this writing, there are over 210,000 Americans dead from COVID, the President of the United States is in the hospital with COVID, with at least a couple dozen assorted staffers, senators and even his campaign manager testing positive as well. It surprises me that a group of people who arrogantly and carelessly ignored CDC guidelines, didn’t social distance, and didn’t wear masks didn’t get infected sooner. Never mind that there are people like me stuck at home for 200 days, who followed the guidelines and protected themselves, and… because of others’ carelessness, we’re probably stuck inside, alone, another 200 days.
When I make comments like that on my social media, to some, it’s chum in the water. Suddenly, I find myself in the middle of a conversation I didn’t want to have, just because I made a statement. It’s exhausting.
It’s also exhausting to deal with the people who may read this and think it’s about them, though I’ve not thought of one specific person or instance, just my recent experiences with social media in general. I remember a friend of mine told me once that “people think about you a lot less than you think.” I’m not sitting at home thinking about you, whoever you are.
I’m stunned at the number of people who feel free to weigh in negatively or argumentatively on a Facebook post, or to comment with something that challenges or seemingly contradicts, uninvited, what you’ve put out into the ether. There are so many that for the first time in 12 years, I’m considering leaving Facebook (at least temporarily). I should be allowed, on my own social media, to say what I think or how I feel without being bombarded with, “but,” or the basic, “you don’t think like I do and I’m going to do my damn best to change your mind.”
I’m not a celebrity, influencer (I’d love a job like that-ha), or superstar. I don’t have a following or a responsibility to “fans.” I’m just me, posting how I feel or think, and it’s not an invitation to police those thoughts and feelings with comments that aren’t encouraging or helpful. I try not to do that myself, and I know how easy it is to get caught up in, “this person MUST know she’s wrong,” or, “I bet she doesn’t know XYZ and I MUST tell her,” or “this person MUST be persuaded to my side of the argument!” When those feelings start creeping into my brain, I’ve actually navigated away from pages saying aloud, “DON’T ENGAGE, DON’T ENGAGE, DON’T ENGAGE!”
We all have the need to be heard, the want to be understood. I went through more than the first half of my life seeking the approval and understanding of others to my own detriment. I was so susceptible to be bent to other’s wills and opinions in that mindset. I wanted to be liked and validated so badly that I lost myself. I’ve gone through hell to find me and I’m not going back.
I am confident that I know my own mind, and I am also mature enough to say I’m wrong when needed. When I post something, typically it’s to share how I’m feeling, and if someone else sees it and thinks, “me too,” and doesn’t feel so alone in the world? All the better.
Whatever happened to the exchange of ideas? When did it become so wrong to hold different ideals? Why do we feel the need or freedom to try and correct or belittle someone? I enjoy discussion, feedback, and learning different perspectives. I am fortunate to have a diverse spectrum of friends and I enjoy our differences. I’m fortunate that most people approach me with respect. For those people I am grateful. Please comment on!
Nearly all of my socialization has taken place virtually for the last 200 days. The last thing I want to do is wallow in the comments of something I posted with people who want to argue or change my mind. Ask my father or brother or Bestie how difficult it is to get me to change my mind.
Life is too short for that waste of energy for me. I will delete a post and move on with my life when someone is looking for a fight. If you really know me, that’s not a flight response. It’s a I know I will fight if I don’t walk away response.
This is what I’ve been pondering on Day 200. I’m tired of being by myself, and though I know one day I will have to assimilate back into society, which will be its own challenge, I’ll be honest – right now it sucks. Imagine 200 days without hugs. Imagine not being able to visit family. That’s the tip of that iceberg.
I’m grateful for social media and the internet and technology that allows me to talk to people’s faces. That’s why I want to keep those things in my life positive experiences, especially right now, 200 days into a marathon.