Cancel Me Too

An inside look at how social media makes me feel, and a different take on why cancel culture is weird

Most days I feel really good.

But some days I struggle just to get out of bed, to eat enough, to live enough, to talk enough with others, or to feel like I am enough. The truth is some days it’s really hard for me to do anything at all.

This past week alone I’ve lost a lot of motivation, had a lot of uncertainty present itself, and did not feel at all like myself.

If you’ve ever been in a similar mood, you know that it only grows and gets more powerful as you sit in those thoughts and feelings.

And I did just that, I didn’t try to find my way out.

But in this week of feeling sorry for myself, I learned a lot about why I feel like that sometimes. Why some days move so slowly and others move so fast. Why sometimes I wish I could rush through life, even though I know consciously that the best time to live is today.

It is ultimately just that, “eh” feeling we all get.

The root of this kind of mood for me, sometimes rests in the hands of my ability to disassociate myself from what is going on in the media. Some days, I suck at it.

That is the inevitability of life. Most days I am focused on my life presently and I feel amazing. Then suddenly, I start to feel the weight of everyone and everything around me.

We are all feeling so many things, and no one has any complete idea about what is going on. On a broad scale, the world is quite literally…a mess.

I think it is easy right now, to hyper-focus on social media and become consumed by the chaos it presents. The world is ugly and we all see it, and now more so than ever before it is impossible not to look. While it is vital we remain engaged, it is even more important we meet this engagement with speculation.

Credible or not, the media in large is extremely perforative. The reality is we choose to present things in a manner that we feel will be met with the certain attention we desire. No person is on any app without a certain concern for the world around them, or else what would be the point in posting anything at all….

I digress, my point in bringing up social media is simply to share that for me, the media has fueled a lot of what has made me feel lonely in this period of physical isolation.

When I was on my phone all day, It was easy for me to become angry, or sad, or unnecessarily emotional because what I was seeing was suffocating. I felt like there was no good left anywhere and to pretend like there was anything good going on was to turn my back on the people fighting for better things.

Then I felt sad, because for whatever reason I wasn’t sharing the same emotions as my peers in regards to an individuals advocacy pressence or lack thereof on social media.

This struck a point of interest for me. Everything that I have felt recently has opened my eyes to the complexity of thought and how heavy emotions can weigh.

It is comparative to when you think back on something embarrassing you did, and the embarrassment almost seems to grow and you physically shudder at the memory.

Except this was happening to me because I was looking for something that can’t be found. I was looking for someone who saw the world exactly as I did. I was quick to judge those who thought differently than I and made sweeping generalizations on their character. I learned quickly, that the person I was looking for doesn’t exist….and never will.

My focus is now on how emotionally taxing it can become for an individual to activate change in their communities through their platforms, but this emotional toll can be seen in any form of social media use. Meaning that simply existing as a representative of body positivity, gender complexity, non-conforming beauty standards, and anything else really can be seen as a marker for distress when engaging with the media. It is all so tiring at times, and even harder when you are simply trying to exist in an environment that “sidekicks” your presence as an individual.

It is often even more difficult to get people to see you holistically for all that you are, because we often don’t initially understand things that fall outside our own understanding of normal.

Here is the lesson in that: In trying to teach anyone anything, you must meet them where they are and then bring them up to where you sit. In doing so it does not guarantee they will understand to a full extent what you mean, but it ensures they then can try to visualize your perspective–and you theirs.

To present an example that may be more definitive, this issue is the same as some of the problems within the American school system. A system that attempts to teach every child from every background under the same rules and implications, without regard for the environment in which each child lives–an environment that sets the basis for everything they know and how they process information. Then kids from more disadvantaged backgrounds show trends of performing lower on standardized tests and people think it’s crazy to assume that where you come from can debilitate your ability to learn the same as others.

To translate that issue to social media activism…without a person’s willingness to see the perspective of an individual with a different experience, everybody fails the test.

I don’t want to fail the test, but I don’t know enough to participate in the ways I want right now. So we’ll call what I’m doing studying. All I can do currently is observe and learn.

Now to return to the bad week I had and the overwhelming emotions I was feeling.
In learning, observing, educating, and listening, I still needed to remember everything good that is happening around me. That is just as important as advocating for change.

In connection to what I post on social media, I have received scrutiny from peers about not doing enough or remaining too quiet for their liking. Despite living a life where specifically racial injustice is very much a part of my daily reality, it was as though my existance as a human being was being minimized to my pressence on the internet.

My instagram page is mostly posts of positivity. I don’t post overly aggressive content and try my best to use inclusive language. I chose consciously to do so while remaining active on social media because for me that was the only thing I could cling to.

It makes me no less of an activist, it just makes me a different kind. Instagram just isn’t my prefferred outlet.

My point in all of this is really that everyone is going through something, and social media is merely a small piece to a very large picture. If you judged me on all my weaker moments or missteps, there wouldn’t be a lot of good things to say.

Thus in knowing that, I refuse to make assumptions on people without further interaction because I have no idea what went into a certain post, what reinforced their set of beliefs, or sometimes anything on their social background. Those are the questions I ask. My goal first is always to try and understand where someone else is coming from.

Without trying to understand, it’s like forcing two negative facing magnets to attract without flipping one to create a point of positive connection.

The media makes it seem like I’m supposed to have it all figured out. I don’t.
Yet, I’m ok with feeling the pressure of my environment and having no clue what to do. I’m not supposed to have all the answers or present perfection to anyone. I am not all-knowing, and sometimes I say and do the worst things.

But that’s the point. You are supposed to get it wrong, get told a better way, and develop into something greater.

Without mistakes, disaster, and the occasional chaos we’d all be pretty stagnant.

So I won’t hold a flame to anyone’s mistakes but my own. Because for every bad thing in my past that I’ve done, said, or felt…you’d probably have to cancel me too.

This shoot focuses on emotions while playing with very fun colors and a bright style of editing. This is included with this blog post to represent a take on difficult emotions, while expressing the beauty in each.

rachelmarshhh

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