Mere Observations · People

Self-Care is ‘Ignoring a Bigot Online and Continuing With Your Life’

via Daily Prompt: Qualm

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“IDGAF*,” she casually replied, amid reams of other comments, for the purpose of subtly yet solidly expressing her nonchalance and disregard for something that is a worry for others. But she should’ve known (and at least accepted) that it struck her. And it wouldn’t leave her mind until clickbait of a less heavier nature carried her away. But until then, “IDGAF” was a false statement. She gave a f**k, she gave all the f**ks.

Telling yourself that something that would habitually bother you is not going to bother you because You Will Not Allow It, comfortably fits under the Easier said than done category. I had mentioned that I’m braver online than in real life; if you assessed my online persona, most frequently active on Instagram, you would presume I’m an assertive, profane, “Woke, I guess” type of woman who never loses her cool or gets emotional. Right?

Brain and anxiety:

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I’m a wuss at heart, but I am trying to be assertive at work and not just for a front. A lot of the things I would post or share on Facebook and Instagram are things I feel strongly about (peppered with a couple of memes, as a coping mechanism), there is a lot of emotion that goes into anything I write. I’m sure my followers know when they see my username floating up from the bottom, that “whatever this picture is about or not about, she’s going to have at least two paragraphs”. Perhaps it might seem like I’m going through all this rationally because I can create intelligible sentences, but if I really wasn’t bound by the rules of ‘proper language’, I’d express how I felt with words shortened so far there are only consonants and by using Caps Lock as though it’s normal font.

I feel a lot, and I feel all the time. But the way I deal with my feels now is different from how it was two years ago. I think I was just on a mission to insert myself in and/or pick comment wars with people because I was bored. I wanted to run a activist type of account on Instagram, and I did for a while until it became like an obligation. I realised I just want to post what I want, including my womanist views, but not being completely all about it.

When I’m online, almost everyday I see news or words of someone that triggers a feeling of repulsion in me. If this was still late 2014, I would have been all up in that person’s throat about how their opinion is ‘wrong’. Now, I truly DGAF because nothing I could say will change that person’s mind. And it’s unfair to let the labour of replying to that alt-right (read: neo-Nazi) bro, thinking about what you’re gonna say and enduring his next comment, which will definitely be 30 times worse than what set you off the first time, get your face hot and your soul heavy. Self-care is a buzzword being thrown around right now, but it is real and important.

You need to know when to let go, if you can. I can testify that though I don’t forget a lot of the awful things people say online, I just let it go and hope that karma comes on through. Which it does, and when it does, it is just *sips tea*-worthy.

18342136_10100572828584555_909745545581750807_n18342756_10100572828589545_8093709050642621818_n18402985_10100572828599525_723512532806970307_n18425131_10100572828594535_5004819238225331926_nAs one gets older, one starts to really understand what que sera, sera means.

I am tempted however to give in and read something that I know will break my heart, and once I’m done, I have to work extra hard to dust my saltiness away. In South Africa right now, hashtags like #AllMenAreTrash, #MenAreTrash and of course the one nobody invited to the party #NotAllMenAreTrash are trending. Because a woman named Karabo Mokoena was brutally murdered (yeah, I’m gonna say the word) by her boyfriend. She went missing last month and only last week did her boyfriend come forward to confess. So because of that, it’s got South African Twitter (and Facebook) in a ‘discussion’ about domestic violence, rape culture, you know the kind of stuff you bring out at dinner parties.

Whenever rape is involved in South Africa, it makes me wish that South Africa never got them fibre cables because now all the lousy members of society are coming forth with their stank opinions, and then I remember “yo, men in my country can be real backwards”. I opt to switch off in times like that, because life ain’t going too sweet for me to be stressed about something beyond me.

I have less than R100 on my person, my hair is revolting against me (it was my fault, though), I haven’t been drinking enough water and it’s too cold to exist: what a fool I would be for worrying about some (probably, definitely) ashy dude named Mfundo saying “But what if she provoked him?”.

People say that the Internet has desensitized us, that we are no longer as affected by the sight of dead bodies, blood, graphic violence and whatnot. Yes, we are too used to violence that it no longer has as much impact on our senses, because such things land up on Twitter and Facebook for all to see. The major news outlets are no longer the sole gatekeepers of information. However, a lot of us are habitually disturbed by the sight of corpses, mangled, bloody bodies, but you’d think we don’t really care (because we’re not sharing the link) when really, we click off because we can only take so much depravity in a whole day.

Some people (ahem, family) don’t get this memo and share a link which might have a bloody, decapitated head, with some fearmongering caption stating that this is what happens to the women and children who go missing for months. I don’t know if that head is an actual human head, but I wish I hadn’t seen that.

It’s not healthy to feel distressed a lot of the time, which reading the news can cause. I’ve heard of a lot of people who after learning about a horrific crime or loss of life, step away from social media and hibernate for however long. That is self-care. It doesn’t have to be a whole spa package or as cute as eating snacks and snuggling next to all your stuffed animals, but something as simple (and boring) as sparing yourself emotional distress. For a lot of people, such news is triggering, because mirror neurons. For us who can practice empathy, the anguish and loss of others hits us in our core.

If a person was meant to internalise every piece of depressing, harrowing news, I’m sure that could kill them. I would like to know about everything that’s going on so I’m not out of the loop or speaking ignorantly, but I can’t. My heart won’t let me. I could easily sit and cry for the whole day, just thinking about all the women who’ve lost their lives to abusive partners and the children in conflict-ridden areas who don’t get to have a childhood or even reach their teens. But I would be sadder than Drake, and where has that gotten him? Richer? Maybe, but he is annoying.

The world is harsh and it sucks, and it is a feat to be able to soldier on despite all the signs that humanity is doomed. I’m not promoting purposeful ignorance; I’m saying it’s okay to give a f**k and to not give a f**k, and give/reserve f**ks to varying degrees. You can be informed about something but not go head-between-your-legs-backwards over it. You acknowledge the horrible thing happened, you may say a prayer or two for the innocents affected, and continue with your life. It’s okay to do that.

Nobody should make you feel bad for that.

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