I’m a worrier.
Always have been, and most probably… always will be.
Right now, I’m worrying about starting university soon. Tomorrow, in fact. I’m trying my best not to freak the fuck out. I’m worried about not fitting in with the majority. I’m worried about being singled out because I don’t speak fluent Mandarin. (99% of the people there converse in Mandarin.) I mean, I do speak basic Mandarin, but it’s not the same as speaking in a language I’m comfortable with, you know? The language barrier prevents me from getting my message across the way I intend to. Hidden meanings aren’t the same. Jokes might get lost in translation, that sort of stuff. But I’m most worried about being criticized for “not being Chinese enough” because I speak English better than I do Mandarin.
At this point, I’m fully expecting the worst-case scenario to play out throughout my years in uni: I’m a loner and everyone judges me from afar and I get depressed and hate uni and can’t wait to graduate. Sounds like fun. (Although I hope it doesn’t actually get that bad.)
Either way, uni is definitely happening whether my brain explodes from all the overthinking it’s doing or not, so there’s no point dwelling on it now, I guess. (Don’t be fooled by this statement, I’ll probably carry on worrying after I’m done with this post.)
Today’s post is going to revolve more around social media – specifically my relationship with social media. I’ve had a lot of free time in my hands ever since I quit my last job, and guess what I usually spend my time on? (No points for guessing correctly.) Yes, I did spend a large chunk of my time reading as well as driving my siblings back and forth to their respective activities, but I’ve also spent a shit ton of time on social media. And let me tell you this: spending time on social media when you have something bigger to focus on – like school or work – and spending time on social media when you have zero tasks on your agenda is completely different.
When I was working 8.5 hours a day, 5 days a week, I was usually knackered by the end of the day. All I did on my phone was scroll through my newsfeed, retweet some stuff, interact with some friends, that was all. But for the past few months, I’d fiddle with my phone whenever I had free time, you could say it was almost instinctual. And the result of that? I found myself falling into black holes on the Internet. I disagreed with someone’s opinion? I’d draft an essay-length response on my Notes app, stating my own opinions, and post it. Someone pissed me off in real life? I’d go on a rant and end up with a long-ass Twitter thread. I posted opinionated statements; most of the time without thinking them through. I became more and more involved in social media, and it wasn’t long before I started becoming aware of certain unpleasant things.
For one, there’s a lot of negativity online. I think it’s fair to say that for every three positive/neutral posts, there’s going to be one negative post. And that negativity I could do without, thank you very much. So, I went on an unfollowing spree to unfollow people whose content usually triggers me to push my opinions in everyone else’s faces. Basically, anyone who frequently posts stuff I don’t want to see on my timeline were out. Some people immediately unfollowed me. No time to waste. Ha. I know, I could’ve muted them, but what’s the point of following someone if you’re not even seeing their tweets? To spare their feelings? If you’re going to be offended because I unfollowed you on this virtual platform, then by all means, get out of my life. But this topic belongs to another blog post all on its own.
I also came to the realization that I was becoming quite an asshole on social media at around the same time I realized people were muting me on Twitter. (Don’t ask me how I know people have been muting me, I just do. I mean, I’m not 100% sure about it, but I’m at least 99% sure.) This, um – for lack of a better term – rude awakening awoke the part of my brain which does the overthinking (I’m sorry I don’t know which part it is, it feels like it’s every part) and well, it went into overdrive. Did people hate me? Have I offended people with my loud, obnoxious opinions? Were people pissed because I unfollowed them? And the list went on and on. The questions ate me up on the inside all day and all night. It got to the point where I’d worry about every single thing I’ve posted online. Sometimes, I’d go back and delete stuff that I felt were problematic or had the potential to be. I’ve even had urges to delete all my social media accounts once and for all, multiple times.
The constant worrying wasn’t healthy for my brain. So, I decided to do something about it. I made a pact with myself. No more blind ranting on social media. No more obnoxious opinions. Of course, sometimes I forget and do them anyway, but I’m trying to be more aware of what I post on social media and not be an asshole. If not for others, then for myself. Here’s to being a better person on the Internet. Oh, and don’t forget, it is 100% okay to unfollow people whose content you find upsetting. Your mental health is more important than petty people who get hung up over virtual followers.