(I originally wrote this post in February and tweaked it to reflect my current thoughts )
Okay. Deep breath for a long, vulnerable fucking post.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting as Donald Trump has taken office. It’s like he’s permeating everything around me – television, articles, conversations, my thoughts as I fall asleep, etc. It grosses me out that I feel like the vitriol and chaos is actually getting under my skin, like a visceral sensation. It’s totally violating. It’s creepy and disturbing and unsettling. Oddly, this has caused me to think the most about my relationship with social media right now, as Trump is ever present in one way or another on our collective feeds. When history books start to write about this chaos, our new part-time occupant of the White House, embarrassingly, is probably going to be most extensively documented in tweet format. 140 characters at a time of violence fueling, lie spurting, and fear mongering bullshit.
And for real, I’m afraid.
But also, I’ve been afraid. All of this has gotten me thinking really acutely about struggling with social media as a platform. And it’s purely a symptom of a lot of other struggles in my life – grappling with being social, with community, and with my one-on-one relationships to others. I’ve struggled with it all because of anxiety and fear and self-doubt and self-loathing and a strong case of imposter syndrome and whole gaggle of other things, probably. And honestly for some reason I’ve sort of accepted that as something I have deserved or whatever. Maybe that surprises some of you because public persona or the ways we come off can look so wildly different from the chaos going on inside our own heads. In the end, that’s unfortunately my own trauma-cross to bear.
But something kind of weird happened. At some point this past fall (I think in the midst of the three presidential debates) I came to realize (along with many others) how Donald Trump’s behavior is a textbook example of gas lighting and shitty abusers tactics, only with the slight twist of being spoken into a global microphone and validated by some 65 million people. I started feeling like I was looking at remnants of my own abuse in the face, and it was telling me the exact same shit I was telling myself. And I thought, fuck, I don’t want my voice to get drowned out by a narcissistic, incompetent, sentient toupee, so I should probably try to tone down drowning out my own voice. So here we are, at a bit of a crossroads.
I want to re-engage a bit more candidly with social media as a personal experiment. Right now, I’m influenced by two pieces of art in embarking on this endeavor: C. A. Conrad’s War Hair and Laurel Nakadate’s A Catalogue of Tears. Do them a google. In short, I am trying to embody quotidian political accountability over the course of the first 100 days of this shitshow through the protest of emotional vulnerability. In other words, uploading just your everyday crying selfie to facebook. Take that, liberal arts.
And not to diminish my own experiences or whatever, but also, holy shit I know that there are probably a lot of people who feel this way!! I’m trying not to panic and back out just because it intimidates me, so if you’re like, the fuck Rachel, you haven’t been chronicling shit for days, bother me if you’re so inclined. Or join in, whatever works. Regardless, cheers, let’s do it together