Taking a break from social media (if not ideology…maybe)

Content Warning: descriptions of sexual assault, racism and transphobia

So, yeah, exactly what it says on the label. Had a psychological meltdown recently when it was revealed over the weekend that a movie critic whose writings I’ve quoted quite a bit, Devin Faraci, has sexually assaulted a woman years ago, stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of, “Birth, Movies, Death” after the news broke (source). At first I was sad, then I began to ruminate in feelings of despair as I realize how much I looked up to the guy despite his not-so-great reputation. Afterwards I had a meltdown, and shared my meltdown on the social media website Twitter, publically, before I made my avatar black and set my account to private (if I ever decide to come back, I won’t be deleting those posts. Might as well own up to it).

Quite a few people have advised me to take a break from concentrated, algorithm-controlled social media websites for a while, because for a long time I have felt that a lot of my internet browsing is toxic. Lots of bigotry in my timeline/feeds (which often makes me hyper-vigilant and thus makes me browse said bullshit for hours at a time just so I can individually block unsavory individuals who want me and my friends dead), along with a lot of other stuff. And I just snapped, lashed out at everything and everyone, self-immolated then segregated myself from everybody else for hours.

The following morning, on my Twitter account, I told people that I am taking a break, and that I won’t be there for a while. So I have cut myself out from the musings of multiple online friends, figures and colleagues for the time being (you can e-mail me if you wish, but I have to trust you). This leaves me mostly alone to deal with my general issues: my impulsiveness, my desperation, and my insecurity, all stemming from younger years that have not exactly been rosy. And you know what, I get that this is all a big display. Maybe the fact that I am as articulate on this (I think) as I normally am is proof that I am lying. Maybe my scars aren’t realistic enough for people whose knowledge of bodily wounds comes from shitty horror movies. Maybe my orgasms don’t sound real enough to people pirating Brazzers videos for hours on end. Well, fuck that shit, I just want to be heard.

I freaked out on my Twitter account about how my looking up to people like Devin is proof of how stupid, insecure and careless I am in the presence of a dangerous world. I’ve had people cut ties with me just for merely brushing shoulders with people they dislike or for not behaving the right way. I’ve also cut ties with people who for some reason gave me the time of day but on close reflection threaten me and people I care about. I often think of myself as a paranoid person, but I spill my guts at random moments, and I worry that my spilling of my guts will be interpreted as insincere. Also that my very insincerity is actually very sincere, just for all the wrong/right reasons. I worry about all of that, privately and in public with long telegraphed ruminations like this, because I want validation.

I want people to look at me in the eyes and say, “You’re all right”, and I want people to keep saying that, to keep looking at me and seeing how hard I am working, understand that I am trying my best. I am often broke, I am currently in a living situation where I have to take care of multiple people at once despite explaining to them over and over that I can only do so much, while they beg, yell at me and take me for granted. At the same time, I recognize my tendency to spend my money on ridiculous things for purposes that I probably don’t do all the way. I mean, do I NEED the GTX 1060 video card in my computer? Do I NEED my Blu-Ray collection? Do I need my subscription to Mubi, my book collection and the bookshelf that I stuff with random junk? Do I need my video games, moviemaking gear, or my sex toys? Do I need my backpack, survival gear and food supplies in case a bunch of dipshits decide to LARP, “Fallout: New Vegas” with actual nukes? You probably know the answers to those questions (and I will fight you on all of them because they’re all mine, MINE). But I get those things because, well, consumption can build an identity, I guess.

Not that it’s the ONLY identity. I grasp that I only have, “my” possessions because I done something in return and was paid for it (from my social standing, anyway). I’m only expressing myself in the reckless, multi-faceted way I simply wasn’t allowed to even in my college years. I’m trans, Black, bisexual, pan-curious, horny as fuck and almost always trying to prove myself. Sometimes with projects that are far from finished, other times with stuff I can crank out in an instant even when I am in moods where I wish for the world and I to die (like right now). But having it confirmed for me that a person whose writings have influenced me is not so good of a person…even though I’ve known for quite a long while that he was not exactly a good person to begin with, that part hurts. Because it means that not only is the world a piece of shit, but that I am not as careful as I should be, and not being careful can cost you friends, chances to get good work, and even your life.

I have a bad habit of giving people a benefit of a doubt, dead and alive. It’s why I talked to a date the other day about Andrea Dworkin and how, despite her shittiness, she was actually pretty inclusive towards trans women (kinda)…albeit in a creepy, “I-respect-you-because-you’re-the-choosen-ones” way that’s two shades removed from her working the cinematography of Grooby Girls. It’s why I ruminate for hours on end about certain white gay folk who go around being bigots and getting in intellectual beds with Trump supporters and literal fucking Nazis. After all, how can people that confident and brazen be wrong about everything? And how can I, neurotic and fearful, be right about anything? It’s why I spend hours browsing hateful shit on the internet and elsewhere, internalizing it, as if someday someone is going to stop me in the middle of the street and quiz me on the plot of, “The Turner Diaries” while holding a gun to my head (one can always go to Wikipedia for that, I know, but…I just need to know the details). That’s the cost of wanting to be smart, I guess, of wanting to impress people. Sooner or later you get into a position where you have to make hard choices about the people you surround yourself with, for the safety of other people you happen to care about, and also yourself.

With that kind of insecurity and wistfulness, it often seems like the world asks me on a daily basis questions along the lines of, “Do you want to be a good person, or do you want to be alive? Do you want to be polite, or do you want to be helpful? Who do you want to be helpful to? Why? Why is that your reason? Why that other reason? What about THEIR reasons? Don’t they deserve a benefit of a doubt, too?” It doesn’t stop, and it probably never will. But I want it to. I want to never again have to question that I am on the right side, that I am on the right team, making the right decisions and having the right philosophy coursing through my atrophied veins.

Then again, one only has to look into history books to know where that can end.

Despite that catastrophic risk, I want to be in affirming company, and to actually feel affirmed, never having to worry about people leaving me (or, if they’re going to leave anyway, at least be kind and sensitive about it). I want to have the inspirational songs of dozens of people be my background music when I take my headphones off, as opposed to this white noise that wears down my nerves and reminds me of the worst moments of my life, and which also criticizes me for having suffered because, “Other people in the world actually have it worse than you do, tranny nigger, so fuck your rape trauma and your social anxiety. And don’t ever bitch about shit again or else.” Or else what? Then the noise makes a few wimpy lunges towards me and I start crying.

It will take a while for me to get there, I guess. If I ever get there. I can only hope that I am doing the right thing by the time I do, or that I develop the courage to make things right if no one else is going to validate me. Maybe I have to be my own engine, or maybe I can be an engine that is fed and supplied by a support group that I also feed and supply with whatever I can provide. Until I get there, however, I have to take a break. Not from the things I want to do (like my writing), but from things that, lately, have felt hollow and toxic, like social media (like I said, you can e-mail me, but I will have trust you). I don’t know who my lovers, friends, or family are right now. But at least I know where I am now: an ideological, philosophical, scientific, and religious mess, with me at the center of it all and coming to grips with things that have ailed me for years…maybe learning to love myself after all these years.

That’s a start, right?

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