Returning to social media, even as the memories can hurt, and the past can haunt
This is a follow up post to Logging out of social media.
After having three weeks away from social media I feel like I have a really good plan for the website's social media accounts. The website's Facebook will continue to have the blog posts shared to them. The website's Instagram relaunch will feature really bright colorful and fun posts that I have been designing during my weeks away. I have weeks worth of designs already started, and I am so excited to show you them.
For my personal and private accounts, which I used way more often than the website ones, I don't feel as good about them. As the memories can hurt, and the past can haunt.
A while ago I actually went through my personal Instagram and archived a bunch of photos with people that I’m not friends with anymore and I took down most of the photos that had large groups of people in them. I feel weird about deleting them, so I archive them.
Instagram isn’t the only place where I let the photos from the past be somewhere. I haven’t deleted any photos since high school, and they all sit on my computer. If I want to remind myself of past people and places I can just go through the thousands of photos where we were laughing together and all was well.
I remember what it was like to spend hours upon hours at school, have fun in the garden, volunteer at the local library, go on walks to raise funds for a good cause, teach in a classroom, work at the bakery, fold 1000 origami cranes with some of the most dedicated people I had ever met, and speaking on a stage, with the entire audience smiling, and even laughing.
I miss people. I miss experiences. I miss the good times. And I wish they weren’t tainted by the bad times. I signed a piece of paper at 16 years old, and then again at 19, that I wish I never signed. I sent emails I never should have sent, and the reactions on their faces when they walked in, I wish I could forget. Being all alone in a hot kitchen, by myself, feeling so overwhelmed and stressed and scared, and thinking it was normal, I wish I never thought it was normal. I once posted something on social media that accidentally hurt someone’s feelings I cared about, and I wish I never posted it. I wish I knew what interpersonal property was before I did all of that work for them. I wish I knew what unhealthy relationships were before I was in one. I wish I knew what it was like to not have to be afraid.
Someone once told me that even though I am afraid, I do the thing I need to do anyway. So I find myself doing everything I can to make sure I do the right thing, even after I mess up, fail, and fall. I find myself fighting for things because I care. I care so much, and sometimes it feels like caring too much is my greatest weakness.
It’s why I have such a hard time putting self care first. It’s why I sometimes worry and wonder about people I haven’t talked to in years. It’s why I still wish the best for people who hate me, for the people I hurt, and for the people who have hurt me. It’s why I spend so much time trying to help people.
And it’s why going off personal social media was so hard, and why returning to personal social media is so hard.
To maintain an image, where everything is all sunshine and rainbows, and I like everybody’s posts. And I really wish it all was good, but I have been feeling damaged. Like the nice person I had tried so hard to be has been torn apart into little pieces over the past few years, and sometimes I don’t know who I am anymore. As being kind, hardworking, caring, responsible, forgiving and even an attempt at so called perfection, led to bad things.
And I hate that I feel like I turned bitter. As of recently I have been talking about karma and oh my, this couldn’t be anything more than karma. I never wanted to be bitter.
I feared saying the wrong things and accidentally hurting someone’s feelings and I feared everyone around me potentially hurting me. Sometimes it felt like if I made one mistake, if I said the wrong thing, posted the wrong thing, or did anything that could be offensive, then I would be rejected, as the bad and crazy person. So I typically built up walls, followed popular trends and just tried to be the person I thought everyone wanted me to be. A good girl who is always nice, and listens and obeys. She never intends to hurt anyone, but if she does, she apologizes over and over again. And even when those around her hurt her and continue to hurt her, she accepts it. For some reason as long as she doesn’t hurt them, it’s okay for them to hurt her, and never recognize their actions or apologize for them. She can take it.
I can’t take it anymore, and I have been feeling this way for awhile now. It’s why this past school year I finally stood up for myself. It’s why my therapist said my actions were so unlike me, as I would not usually cause scenes calling out people in power for doing bad things. The anger and frustration had built up from all of the combined trauma, and I couldn’t be silent anymore. I had to do something, because being taken advantage of, manipulated, lied to and hurt, for just being nice and doing my best, hurt so much.
It’s why I spent the first few months of this year listening to Taylor Swift's album, reputation, on repeat. It’s why I have watched her documentary, Miss Americana, on Netflix more than once. Because I know what it’s like to be a girl trying so much to be good, and then the bad actions of others pull her apart.
The memories can hurt and the past can haunt, but all of these experiences that pulled me apart into pieces belong there, as memories in the past. I sometimes get flashbacks and nightmares of all the different situations and they intertwine and there are parallels and more little red flags I ignored and shouldn’t have. There’s so much wishing for a time machine, if only I had done something different, or been more brave, or changed anything to have created a different outcome.
If I only show the good in my life, like most people do on social media, it’s a skewed perspective. It’s the side people want others to see. And I want people to see the good and the bad, but how I’m not allowing the bad to take control over my life. I am no longer a victim to all the trauma of the past. And so I let go of the bitterness and the anger.
Sometimes good people do bad things. There are external forces and pressures. They may want to try to preserve their image. They may want to protect themselves. They may want to get closer to their own goals. And as they are so caught up with themselves, they may never think about how the other person is being affected and harmed. These aren’t excuses for their actions, these are other factors that may have been in play.
Instead of just letting myself get hurt over and over again, I should have said something, or done something. I should have stood up for myself, and told them that they were hurting me instead of allowing myself to just tolerate it. As I said before, last school year, for once, I finally did tell them.
I forgive everyone who has ever hurt me, as that is who I am.
I have been through a lot in recent years, but it doesn’t define me. I am more than the trauma I’ve been through. And as I continue on in this recovery process, I find ways to work through the past, and search for the good that was there. As just because there was bad, doesn’t mean there also wasn’t good. There was good involved in every situation. Someone once told me that in every crisis there is an opportunity, and I really believe in that.
And so I return to social media as someone who is on the search for the good within the bad, for the opportunity within the crisis and the lessons learned, as I will no longer allow people to hurt me over and over again, and accept it as fine. I will give myself the respect, kindness and grace that I give to others. I will be the person I want to be, who is kind, caring, and responsible, but knows when to take a step back and evaluate her situation, apologize only when she needs to, recognize when she’s being hurt, and say something, as staying silent didn’t do anything. I will be the person who continues to live her life, risks and all, knowing that people hurting each other is a part of life, but it shouldn’t destroy the good.
Even as the memories can hurt and the past can haunt I can also shift focus to the memories that smile and the past that shines. As reflecting on the bad from the past and remembering the good from the past is a choice I choose to make.
For similar posts read Redefining Work, Never Enough and Take the Risk.