I had a nice little Twitter account up until about a month ago. I like Twitter. It’s the internet in miniature. You can search this subject and follow that topic until you have a nicely-curated feed that’s far removed from the corrupt horror show that is Facebook.[i] It does tend to be a bit of an echo chamber, but since I’m on the right side of history, I’m good with that.
There are other ways that Twitter can be problematic. With the best of intentions, you can find yourself falling into bad behaviour. Politics is my jam, and the interactions get feisty indeed. People planned an attempted coup by communicating on Twitter.
One of the big issues is the inconsistent application of the humourously labelled “community standards.” Racism and bigotry abound, and the vilest of the vile remain consequence-free: reports generate little to no response. I reported a rape threat that was deemed fine. And then I used the phrase “bitch slap.” It wasn’t directed at anyone in particular but beyond the pale as far as Twitter Standards was concerned: enter suspension limbo. I suppose I could’ve kept the old account: all I had to do was delete the tweet and accept the suspension. I got a new account instead. Hypocrisy can rot.
I’m enjoying starting fresh. I’m working on having more grace, and now I don’t have the weight of history dragging me down.
In addition to being history-free, small numbers of followers make me feel less pressure. I like it when one or two are on board, but there are advantages to being mostly unseen.
It’s been a rough couple of years. And then there’s COVID19 on top of it. I think it started in October 2019. That was when I got my breast cancer diagnosis. I always found it ironic that I was diagnosed during breast cancer month. Of course, it’s also “adopt a pet” month. Once I got my diagnosis, however, the hits kept coming.
I think I’m starting to lose perspective.
I’m amazed by people who handle challenging circumstances with grace. I don’t think that’s me. The end result of the endless blows feels like an infinite well of anger. I feel like the Hulk: I’m always angry. I don’t like it. It adds an edge to my interactions, often changing funny to cutting.
I’ve learned to apologize well, though. I’m called to do it frequently.
I thought, with the old account, that venting was the way. I could take that anger and let it rain down on the deserving. The vile, the criminal, the unethical – they all deserved a side of my tongue. But the oddest thing happened. I was never less angry, despite the daily venting.
I finally realized the truth of Michelle Obama’s advice: when they go low, we go high. It’s not for them; it’s for me. Unaddressed anger really is drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
And so, I’m new. The name remains the same, or mostly, because I liked it. But there has to be a way to speak truth to power without burying the target in venom. It doesn’t even feel good. It’s like eating that fifth chocolate from the box: it’s a little much. [ii]
I want something. I have no idea what it is or where it is. I have no idea if it’s coming or if I missed the boat. I am, however, suddenly facing death everywhere. It’s a strange and complex reality to be inhabiting. It’s not nearly as fun as Final Destination, and it makes me aware in my bones of the mortality I thought I’d faced. Everything changes when you’re over fifty. [iii]
At least I’m fifty in the here and now. People like to think about when else they’d live. Most people seem to want different, either far in the future or back in the past. Psychologists probably have interesting information about personalities based on the direction someone chooses to travel. I wonder what they’d say about someone like me? I’m good with my when and where.
I like Twitter. I like social media and the internet. I like toaster ovens and meat that comes from Styrofoam. [iv] I like my car. I like owning property. I like owning my uterus. A lot of the things I like about my life are because I live now and here. If I’d been born in a fundamental theocracy, if I’d been born before indoor plumbing, much of what I like wouldn’t be possible.
As to the future, so much is unwritten. What if I dropped into Morlocks and Eloi, an option that seems more and more possible every day? What if I dropped into a world with no people at all? Now isn’t perfect, Twitter isn’t ideal, and my life isn’t brilliant. But for me, the known now is better than the mysterious whenever.
But when I meet up with the organizers in the hereafter, we’re going to have words.
[i] Meta? Is this a joke? How many millions of dollars do you suppose they spent to come up with the pretentiously banal “meta?”
[ii] Four, however, is totally fine.
[iii] credit, Louie Anderson, March 24, 1953-January 21, 2022.
[iv] Meat doesn’t come from animals; it comes from the supermarket. I don’t want to talk about it.