So, look… I’m the first to admit that social media most definitely has its blessings. I know I’m not the only one lying in bed at night watching some dumb Tiktok video and whisper-laughing so hard I’m crying next to my sleeping partner who has to deal with this lunacy every. single. night. I also know I’m not the only one expressing their feelings via meme in a DM instead of actually calling someone, because phones are clearly only for texting and social media-scrolling, no calls ALLOWED and if it rings I will throw it into the sea. There are so many things I love about social media, the opportunities for connection, the endless well of new things to learn, the joy to be had by watching a video that makes you laugh every time you see it. I can’t not defend it and I can’t imagine quitting it. It’s like crack, if crack taught you how to perfectly roast a chicken and turned you on to the best face cream known to humankind.
But there’s obviously this other side of it, the ugly side. The one behind the wall of anonymity where those who wish to do so push send on hateful comments just because and judge people with such commitment and fervour it’s practically an Olympic sport. It’s human nature at its finest, really, this unleashing of the worst sort of insecurities projected onto someone else whose only crime is oversharing, or just being available. There’s also this very odd thing I’ve never truly understood where if you’re remotely in the public eye or have willingly signed yourself up to appear on camera for a living, you should automatically be totally okay and also willing to take whatever criticism or flack comes your way from a perfect stranger. “It comes with the territory.” “It’s the price you pay for success.” “You put yourself out there, it’s my right to judge you.” As if that ever occurred to any of us who chose a creative field of work. Sign here on this dotted line to be picked apart and ridiculed for sport! Plus lots of rejection on a pretty much daily basis but hey the parties are fun!
And I supposed it IS a person’s right to judge. There’s no one who can really stop you from doing so. It’s unequivocally up to us as human beings to police our own actions and be responsible for our own words. Maybe it’s the freedom in that, the “right” to say whatever we want to say that’s so satisfying for these people, the lawlessness of it, even if you run the risk of being flagged if you’ve gone too far. But the length in which you have to go in order for that to actually happen is significant. “You’re ugly” or “you’ve aged too much” or “you used to be hotter and now you look like an old shoe that’s had bad botox” certainly won’t get you banned, even though in my opinion it damn well should.
Ever since I became social media-accessible, I’ve had my fair share of weekly (sometimes daily) trolls, people tearing me down in all sorts of ways, for being “responsible” for their favourite shows being canceled (newsflash: all shows get canceled eventually, babe), for looking a certain way (too old! too young! too trashy! not sexy enough!), sounding a certain way (dumb/too proud/too shallow, or just having a man voice). I came to the realization early on that you can’t be accessible without being able to take the flack, no matter what you say. To use a real example, I can post about loving my cats and someone will honest-to-god inevitably say, “You don’t like dogs? Unfollowed!” as if they’re a Boeing 747 and need to announce their departure. I once posted a vacation pic with my husband, sans child, and had a man say that I don’t deserve to have children if I think it’s okay to leave them at home while I frolic on a beach. And then had a woman comment, on the same post, that my bathing suit was too sexy for a mother to wear. I thought about informing her how my baby was actually conceived by *cough* having sex, but I apparently was in possession of some self-restraint that one measly time, lucky for you, Mildred.
I have friends who are much more well-known than me with millions of followers, and thus have it way worse, because the scale stays the same as the fame grows: the percentage of true fans of your work vs the haters. And the haters feed off each other. It becomes.. gleeful, the picking at someone and tearing them down in any way you can, like a descending mob hell-bent on the destruction of someone, just… because they can? These friends of mine don’t even bother to read the comments anymore though because there are just too many, or they’re rich enough to hire someone to monitor their socials for them. But the sheer number of the trolls… It really makes you realize just how many unhappy people are living on this planet, and it’s sad and a little scary and a lot unsettling. It’s almost enough to make you quit social media. Except look at these cute little dancing dogs and this tiktok montage of news bloopers! Goddamn, I love a news blooper!
I will say, though, that there are always at least ten lovely comments to the one shitty “you suck”. And I know that in terms of my audience, I’m super lucky. For the most part, the people engaging with me are kind and supportive and hilarious. And my skin is thick like a rhino at this point. (Like, figuratively, not literally, because I’m not kidding about that insane face moisturizer). I can take it, otherwise I wouldn’t be posting. But sometimes I fantasize about a world where people don’t project their shit on other people, where mental healthcare is more easily acceptable, where therapy isn’t viewed as embarrassing, where maybe– just maybe– people learn to hesitate and think before they hit send. I’m always harping on my kid on how the coolest thing to be is kind, because I’m hoping (probably naively) that maybe that’ll become a trend one day. To be the nicest. Maybe then the small minority of unhappy trolls will become even smaller, minuscule, like the little silver in your palm the tweezers can’t quite catch but who cares because eventually it’ll disintegrate anyway.
Wouldn’t that be something?
Until then, as always, I am going to continue loving myself more while I smack that block button like the daily multivitamin it is until I’m rich enough to have someone else do it for me. Because we don’t take hate currency over here, honey. Hate’s bad for your skin. Everybody knows that.
PS in concert with this post, I’m including some good for you brain food in the way of the best kale salad I’ve ever had, my sister-in-law’s brain child and a recipe everyone must have in their repertoire. Feed your brain. Love each other. Love yourself. xo
The BEST Kale Salad
- 1 large bunch of kale
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- 6 oz goat cheese
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- Gently massage the kale with the salt for a few minutes. Think Swedish, not deep tissue.
- Mix the dressing. In a small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar, dijon, and maple syrup, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
- Season the sliced onions with a pinch of salt, then sink them into the vinaigrette. Let them sit in there for 15-20 minutes to take the bitterness out of them and pickle them oh-so-nicely.
- Using your hands, crumble the goat cheese into the kale, then add the cranberries. Toss the salad with the dressing and onions. Best kale salad ever. EVER, I SAID.