I’ve been having a love-hate relationship with social media.
When Myspace was still a thing, everyone was excited about it and so was I. I loved putting my favorite music up, finding the best background that celebrated my personality, and putting up my own first set of selfies. It was fun, and it opened up a different avenue for me to share and connect with others.
That’s the thing with me- I love connecting with others. I am enthralled when a stranger talks to me about their day, and especially when it’s a story about their lives. I love getting into deep discussions about anything, even when the topics are sometimes scary. I welcome ideas and learning. I am, pure and simple, an extremely curious person.
On the brighter side of my curiosity, is a person who happily goes to gatherings because I’m excited to see the different kinds of people I’ll meet. I begin to ready my mind to the various things I’ll be exposed to, readying it to take mental notes if I find something I happen to fancy. On this brighter side of my curiosity, I am adventurous. I am the one who takes the first step into the door that leads to a room filled with strangers and says, “Hello!!” with a happy grin.
But then of course, where there’s a bright side is an equally darker one. I don’t notice this until a few days later, when I feel like I’ve woken up from a night of binge-eating on custard pies and lemon bars after I have somehow convinced myself that it was an awesome idea to do so. Only in this case, it’s binge-talking, and instead of pies, it’s people. I talk to strangers left and right, excited to hear their thoughts on the existence of God and aliens. I feel happy because someone from Australia is sharing their views on equality, human rights, climate change, and a bunch of other things, and I am more amazed at the fact that we agree! I have always believed that there is value in human connection and communication, and I am a part of ones that are done so in such a global scale. Until…
Until I realize that I’m scared- the sobered-up feelings after awakening from a night of having too much fun. Because on the darker side of my curiosity is a person who is unable to shut it all off. I could get so deep in my thoughts about all my interactions. I begin to realize that I’m surrounded by people whom I don’t really know. Strangers. I am sharing my pictures with them, my enlightened moments, my emotions. I am sharing to people things I hold dear, things I probably would have only shared with someone I knew better. Like a friend, maybe. Or a lover. But no, the whole world now knows of it too. And what makes the weight heavier for me is knowing that most of these people don’t really care.
That wasn’t a statement of self-loathing. It’s more of a fact that I know we’re all aware of. Most of the people that sees us don’t have a slight grasp of how much these images we share or these things we say actually mean to us. How could they? They don’t know who we are. They haven’t been to where we have.
Perhaps this is why I prefer Tumblr. It’s quiet here. I can say all of this and, if there’s a person out there who feels the same, they’ll make it known. If not, it’s no bother. It’s just… effortless. I don’t worry here, for some reason. And I’ve been trying to figure out why that is, what makes my experience here much different from Twitter or Facebook, but I can’t seem to find what that reason is.
In any case, I’m just in one of those moods where I can’t decide whether to commit to being a social butterfly or more of a loner. On the days that I’m in between, it feels nice. Those days don’t bother me, but unfortunately, those days are also rare. I’m usually at one extreme or the other, and in all honesty, I would be very happy with either. It’s just a matter of deciding where I’d rather be, and actually staying there without regretting it later. Is that possible?
I saw this quote while browsing through Humans of New York’s page and read an interview they’ve done with a woman who survived WWII. It struck me, not only because it’s something I tell myself, but also because it’s one of the hardest things to do. When we’re constantly witnessing anger, greed, and carelessness from other people, it becomes easier for us to think that that’s all we’re capable of- that to be ruthless and uncaring is our nature. But it’s not. We couldn’t be more wrong, and I’m happy that we’re wrong. We’re as capable of loving as we are of hating. It all boils down to which of them will we choose.
I’ve had so many encounters with prejudices lately, most of them are attacks towards someone else, but it hurts all the same. We’re at an age wherein we’re learning more and more about the world around us. And because we’ve gained some knowledge, it’s easy to believe that we’re no longer judgmental. That we’re above being prejudiced. But the truth has always been that no matter how much you think you know, there’s so much more that you don’t.
We have to remember to keep on learning, to keep on trying to understand one another. We all pass judgment on others, it’s not unusual. But once your assumptions affect the way you treat or look at another person, then your prejudice has taken over you. The good news is, we can alter our perceptions by reminding ourselves that we don’t know and that our assumptions must remain that way- mere assumptions.
Foster the People, "Houdini"
I believe it’s always a good idea to check our motivations for our actions, or even the intentions hiding behind our ideals. A rule I’ve made for myself is this- whenever I have an important decision to make, before I speak up or react to other people, I check myself. When fear or anger is at its core, it’s wiser to pause and think it through because there’s a greater chance that I’ll be doing something I will regret.