Before I go to bed, I usually give all my social media a quick once-over. I know doing this is a segway for another hour or two of procrastination, but it helps keep my mind occupied and gets me tired enough to nod off as soon as I hit the sheets.
Usually around midnight, my timeline is filled with TV show commentary, spoilers, deep quotes, or subtweets disguised as music lyrics. Most nights I give it a skim, maybe find something I like and retweet, then go to bed. But when I went on Twitter tonight, I saw someone retweet a quote that really irritated me. I don’t want to put that person out totally, so I won’t say the exact quote, but it read something along the lines of “I rather be with someone I don’t love but loves me than to love someone who doesn’t love me back”.
My first thought was um…..that’s not being insecure, that’s just being selfish, and using someone. When was that ever ok?
Maybe they were trying to send a #oomf subtweet to someone. Maybe the incentive of wanting to get retweeted made that quote even more……tweetable. Or maybe they just genuinely felt that way and needed to articulate that. I understand the diary function social media provides for people. 140 characters of a tweet is fair game as an emotional outlet to vent joy, pain, frustration, etc. Certain thoughts should remain private, but part of being human is wrestling with your feelings, and reaching out to others for empathy. We all do this, regardless of how we do, so I can respect that.
But the one thing I loathe is when people share Twitteresque, Tumblr-ready quotes without really interrogating them. For example, a popular one in the past (thanks to Wale & Tiara Thomas’s hit record “Bad“) was “love is cursed by monogamy”. Any time I saw this line, I wanted to bury my head in the sand. No, actually love is not cursed by monogamy, you’re just avoiding the choice between committing to one person and living a polyamorous life. Maybe if you flipped that quote around it would make more sense. Love was love, is love, and will always be love, though monogamy, for some, isn’t a viable lifestyle. But quotes like these avoid taking ownership of our life choices. Monogamy only seems like a curse to someone who is forcing it on themselves.
I say all this because these made-for-Instagram quotes sound like one-size-fits-all revelations or deep life platitudes, but are often selfishness veiled as “insecurities”. If they are truly as “deep” as we portray them to be, then they should have a lot more substance, not just style. Like the one I hate the most: “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you can’t have me at my best”……………forgive in advance for cursing, but what type of tomfuckery is that? (that wasn’t a rhetorical apology either)
What if your worst is actually that bad? What if at your worst you are a liar, controlling, selfish, apathetic, immature, a cheater, uncompromising, mean, or any combination of negative attributes? What if there are moments in which you are such a sucky person that others chose not to deal with you? Like, come on. Yes, no one is perfect. That may be the only fact in the world. But it’s one thing to know what your weaknesses are and use that knowledge for self-growth, and it’s an entirely different thing to refuse to become a better person. That’s isolating who you actually are from who you would like to believe you are. And though you may use Tumblr-memes to define yourself to others, you may very well be using them more so to reaffirm a facade.
I’m an introvert who feels alone most of the time, has a perpetual dialogue in my mind, thinks about thinking about thinking, finds many social interactions laughably awkward, is scared of going through life without developing my gifts to their fullest potential or without having all the love I’m dying to give to be reciprocated by a woman of my dreams. Those are my major insecurities (for those who make think I’m throwing stones and hiding my hand). But what I can say is that one of my biggest strengths in life is that I attempt to be brutally honest with myself at all times. This honesty can sometimes bring pain and frustration, but it mostly brings peace. There is incredible strength in being aware of my shortcomings, because it allows me to work on them to become a better human being.
Identifying your weaknesses can be the most liberating thing you can do for yourself. It’s ok to be insecure. Everyone is insecure in one way or another, and anyone who acts otherwise will eventually crumble under the weight of that lie. We all are trying to find ourselves, and social media is one of the many ways we try to define ourselves to others. But the bitter irony is that most of our existential angst comes from how easy it is to be totally dishonest with ourselves, and the prism of social media makes it even more convenient. Let’s stop hiding behind Instagram quotes, and show the world who we really are.
Know who you are, and be honest about whether you would like to change or not. And for my health, please, stop posting those quotes on Twitter. I will fight you. That’s no lie……………….just kidding. Stay blessed y’all.
We Out Here,