What if I didn't
Impossible questions to answer in life 3/3
I'm sure you all heard about FOMO, the fear of missing out, and how it seems to be the anxiety amplified by social media.
The first time I have ever considered my own influence under FOMO. I was reading a book named "Status Anxiety" by Alan de Botton. It helped me understand how the Internet makes me believe that I should achieve a tremendous amount in my lifetime. It is easy enough to read updates hourly that everyone is leading more interesting lives than me whenever I want nowadays. Is it wise to pitch yourself against the Internet accessing humanity? Put it this way, comparing yourself against the entire human legacy is ridiculous. But when you're scrolling through your social media feeds, we can't help yourself doing exactly just that.
It's impossible to just be completely aloof. You have to put up a guard and set up obstacles to stop yourself from comparing and competing against another human you see on the Internet. To curb my addiction to social media, I deleted numerous native apps from my phone to only access social media via a web browser. I also lock my work devices(containing social media) physically away from 9 PM every evening.
For the longest time, Facebook was my lifeline. It was not a place for me to rant about traffic or to see pictures of cute pets. I utilise Facebook's network to find creative opportunities. Most time then not, after spending two or three hours on Facebook, I would find myself gainful employment ruminating anywhere between £300-£1000 as a daily fee. At the same time, I was writing traditional job applications constantly. But slowly, it was very clear that traditional means of applying for jobs had a lower return on investment in social media.
Through Facebook, I find illustration agents, modelling agents, and creative briefs for small businesses. Even though I had attained representation, I had an intense fear that I was missing out on other opportunities that I had not imagined constantly. Not to mention that I was also seeking approvals on dating apps when both my ex-husband and I would rather save anything than deposit in our union a moment more. My life was entirely on others' drum beat because it was easier to react than to face painful decisions.
It seems obvious now I pile it all neatly into a few lines many years later. But at the time, it is impossible to struggle against the riptide. There is a price to pay to live like this. I simply was too young, too anxious, too insecure, too poor and too afraid to say No to people.
I begin to have severe mental illness around the time of using Facebook and Instagram ceaselessly. Anything I did in my life was about projecting an image of success on social media. Everything I did was merely facilitating what was to come. If there is no photo, it didn't happen. This includes sex, eating, and even the simplest joy of petting a dog.
If you are an entire being is about selling an image based on yourself. Even your performative mystirque can never be an enigma. I also didn't want to be caught that I actually had no idea who I was and what I was doing. I even convinced myself that I was only what I saw in my social media feed. If I felt anything deviant from the brand of me, that feeling was wrong.
It was such a textbook story of a young person coming to London losing oneself on all fronts. But the story has changed a lot since. But I would not give this change a reformation narrative. The biggest lesson I have learned is that one mustn't seek dramatic means for any end. You simply cannot dig yourself through any hole by punching yourself constantly. The real and unsatisfactory truth is that through trial and error over a long period of dedicated reflexive experimentation, I found growing compassion for myself that freed me from the false security social media gave.
Life is complex, and it shouldn't fit into a line of copywriting. You always have a sense of agency, so you don't have to live as a product to compete in the economy. There is no easy way out of this. Once we are out of the holes we dug, we just carry out digging a newer grave. The sooner you give up on this idea that you would fill bullet-proof one day, the easier your life will be.
I present the arguments below to myself often, and it helps.
You're not good enough. What you're feeling is correct. But if you keep on searching this feeling of plenty with the same methods and aims as you did yesterday, and expecting different results, you are quite silly.
No one has the faintest idea of what you need to do or should be doing right now. No one knows what the future holds for you. Others can say something reassuring if you want to hide under it for a moment. The only person who has the means to protect you is you.
Stay curious and keep trying, borrow the kindness and confidence you don't have from yourself in the future, do what you need to keep going. Trashing yourself while you are down is not a good strategy.
I can't promise tomorrow will be better, but if you're lucky enough to see tomorrow, shit at least will be different. Go gently!