It occurred to me yesterday that I’ve forgotten to take a break from social media. I’ve taken breaks from blogging over the years but I’ve never really cut out social media and perhaps I need to. It’s something I tend to do – get so involved in an activity or an idea or a person or a way of being that I forget that it’s good to step away and breathe now and then. I’m so high energy that I usually ride over disappointments, indifference and objections. Right until I get tired and I usually don’t see it coming. That’s when the bumps start to hurt. The screen lights start to hit my eyes like little hammers.
I’ve been feeling personally attacked and hunted for the past month or so. A lot of it has to do with the trolling attack that started in June. Add to it, the constant barrage of “Why do you have such strong opinions?”, “Why are you always so feminist?”, “Why do you keep writing angry things?”, “Why is your poetry so sad” that leaves me quite worn out. Yes, the world and its cousin are pathetic, scared, defensive male brats and they’re relentless in their quest to tear me down and put me in the pretty-little-girl-they-can-take-care-of-and-feel-like-big-men mould. Maybe I need to shut them up by pulling the digital plug for a little while.
I’m specifically shutting out Twitter and Facebook since these are the commonest places the attacks come from. I’ve often wondered how people like Febin and Pia manage to stay upbeat and cheerful and unaffected by the poison that the internet spews at anyone who says anything. Febin especially, takes periodic timeouts from Twitter and I guess that helps to not be tainted by the filth. I’m taking a leaf out of the wonderkid Febin’s book.
I haven’t yet decided to move away from the blogs. The blogs have always been a haven and I’ve rarely faced the kind of violent hatred/misogyny here that comes my way on places like Twitter. It’s happened a few times during the days I used to write for Yahoo! Real Beauty and now and then after a particularly strong post on Desicritics. But well, this is still home and the monstrous little trolls like to hide in the urban alleys that Twitter and Facebook are.
I started by deleting the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone yesterday. I even had a dream that I thought of something smart to tweet and then remembered I’d promised not to tweet for a few days. It was almost as hard as forcing myself not to reach for a cup of tea (I gave up tea a month ago). This morning, it felt odd not being able to reach for my @Mentions tab and my Facebook timeline to see what was up with the world. I do miss my morning shot of digital acid.
Our generation probably needs to identify the stress related to dealing with thousands of people’s selective venom online, daily, as a condition. Till then, lights out and I’ll see you on the other side, hopefully, refreshed. Stay sane, stay kind to each other.