Weighing It Up

I weighed myself today. For the first time since the start of November. It is an activity which is loaded with meaning, because despite never being ‘a slave’ to the scales, it’s still a thing that lingers. It’s existence is enough to get me into a bit of a state. So, when I weigh myself, like I did, and I ended up being just under 16 stone, I could have cried.

For too long, the number on the scales or the size of one’s waistband, has been used as a way to identify people. People who a person has never met. There are a number of personality traits, which have, falsely, been connected to people who are overweight. Laziness, stupidity, dirtiness, rude, many more things which seem to be tied to a person being overweight. All without merit.

My weight has been a problem for years. I have faced comments about my weight since I was at school, back when I weighed way less than I do now. I always had a stocky build, my Grampie used to say I was ‘built like a rugby player’. This was enough for me to be bullied. And for me to understand that my weight is a reason for me to be seen as a horrible person. My mental health suffered so much, and eventually i turned to food to cope. I could eat away my problems. A coping mechanism I still have to this day.

I watched a video recently by a personal trainer on TikTok (Gavin McKinney) who said that using food as a coping mechanism was a good thing. It helps people cope with bad stuff, and means they are still here to see another day. When I tell you I cried after seeing that video, I mean I cried my eyes out. So the first think that needs to be done, is a find a new way to cope. Because if you don’t find a new way to cope, food is going to look like the answer again. That should not sound as revolutionary as it feels.

I am having problems with arthritis in my knee, and I want to make my health better, to ease the pain. Make myself feel better. Because that’s why things should be done, to improve one’s life, right?

I may repeat myself, as I try to figure all this out.

TikTok

I have been frequenting TikTok recently. People will sneer, as they have done already, as it is a ‘child’s app’.

No social media app is suitable for children to be left alone on. All parents should be aware of the content their child consumes, as you would if the child was playing outside. It is just as dangerous. There are people who will take advantage, as there is in the real world. Social media is even more dangerous, as people can pretend to be someone else, and get close to a child.

Since last year, with the first lockdown, TikTok became super popular. With people downloading the app in their millions, to beat boredom. Small 15 second videos can be uploaded by anyone. People talk about personal problems, hobbies, show a talent, discuss politics, anything. And it’s one of the few things my bad attention span is able to deal with.

I started making my own videos. Just moaning about life. Talking about my mental health and my struggles in losing weight. It’s so fast to do. And I think that is key to me using the app regularly. I find with a lot of social media, you are encouraged to edit everything, like a quest for perfection. I find, that 15 seconds is so quick. I can make a quick point, and upload before I can think too much. And I find it quite cathartic.

Insta-hate Filled Hole

Over the years, social media networks have come and gone. Instagram, is a social network that I have used since I learned of it’s existence, back in my college days.

It’s the social network that provides me the most joy. I can post opinions, memories, or even wee stories of my day. And, in return, I get to see what other people create. I have made friends, followed artists and people that inspire me every day, and genuinely have fun on Instagram.

My profile. It’s full of nonsense, but that is me.

Instagram seems to get pulled up as the worst social media site, especially for the content that young eyes can find. People need to understand that social media sites run off what information you give it. What information and hashtags you may use, is what helps create the content you view. I think people need to be educated on how to use social media, before they start blaming it for everything. Social media makes money by curating a timeline that a user will interact with. Because heavy interaction, means there is more chance of adverts being seen, clicked on, and maybe sales made.

I follow accounts of artists, friends and people who post stuff that encourages me. I save topics like ‘alternative’, ‘Naruto’, ‘BlackPink’, ‘journaling’ and many more. I am not interested in fashion or make-up, so I find that I don’t get recommended pages of models and diet focused accounts.

My Instagram ‘explore’ page is mostly BlackPink. Which is fine by me.

Parents should always be aware of how social media sites work. Educate themselves. If you don’t like what you find, you protect your child. Teach them how to use social media responsibly, show what dangers lie on the internet. Because it should be taken just as seriously as dangers outside in the real world. If a parent refuses to understand how a site works, they can’t expect their child to.

My instagram is like a journal, a bit of a visual blog. I post what catches my attention, rather than just selfies of myself. I understand different people use it for different reasons, and that’s okay. But having such a outlet, has helped my mental health. If I am struggling, i try to go for a walk to take some pictures. And it really helps me gain some focus. It makes me sad that some people see everything on the internet as bad. To me it’s the opposite.

Going Offline

The world has become a little crazy, hasn’t it?

I have found myself writing my feelings into a traditional journal. It’s been good. It means, that I am still able to get my feelings out, but don’t seem to overthink, or procrastinate as much as I do when there is an internet connection involved.

So, I write a few pages of rambling, before bed. And it actually has been helping me sleep better. Because I am not clicking on another tab, or looking through Facebook nonsense. It’s a positive thing. And in these, very challenging, times, it’s good to try and claim any positivity we can.

Don’t Stop Me Now

To most people I am a quiet person. Very shy, and don’t like to go to places where I don’t know anyone. I get panic attacks and frequently cancel plans to stay at home on my own. I am very good at isolating myself.

However, when I see articles or comments berating a group of people, for being who they are and I can’t hold back. I feel like life is about better things for yourself and others around you through education. So when I see ignorance on Facebook, or some article, I feel composed to jump up and say something. My belief is that if someone is not harming anyone, and making themselves happy, why to get so upset about what they do. Most of the time the angriest people are angry because they simply can’t relate. And I feel that it is wrong to comment harmful words on a topic that you have no knowledge on, and are scared of.

This feels like a big thing right now, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I see people berating trans people, or people who aren’t cis-gendered, regularly. As I grew up, I had so much verbal abuse about my own sexuality and gender. I have always been a tomboy, and never been a girly girl. I was bullied at school, for looking like a boy. It was the first point where I started hating myself, which started a horrible spiral which has lead to many mental health issues through my life. I kept myself to myself, I never hurt anyone, and tried to be a good person. But I was made to feel like a criminal for being who I am.

So, when I see people angling abuse at folk, I feel I have to say something. I think everyone should. I frequently hear people say they are okay with ‘the gays’ but then berate someone struggling with gender identity. You either support the LGBTQ+ community or you don’t, in my opinion. I don’t understand why you would hate someone for something you don’t understand. And mockery translates to hate to a person who feels attacked from all sides.

People say that their ‘free speech for jokes’ has been spoilt by Social Justice Warriors, and it isn’t true. It’s just the jokes that used to be made at the expense of women, race, or LGBTQ+, is no longer acceptable. You see, these people now have a voice, and can speak up and tell you why it’s not okay to berate them. Free speech is allowing you speak what you want, but it also gives people the ability to call you out on anything which is problematic.

Every day is a chance to educate yourself on a viewpoint which is unknown to you. Make the best of it. The world will be better for it.

Social Media Care

I remember when I started using social media, many years ago (in fact, 10 years ago), it was a place of excitement. It was new for everyone, it was filled with normal folk, as advertisers hadn’t really jumped on the bandwagon yet. Social media became a place of freedom of expression. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this isn’t the case anymore. No matter what you express, it feels like there are always people about to try and pick holes in what you say. Like, I try to be kind and advice-like when I write, but people like to jump on what I say to be all ’that isn’t how it is to me, so you are lying’. And these people are usually anonymous profiles who seem to spend all their time hating other people.

It is important to look after yourself in an atmosphere that can be so destructive. So, I thought up I few things that I use, when social media gets to me.

1) Block button. Every social media site has the ability to mute or block certain users. This is good. You might have a friend who is posting annoying rubbish for a TV show you hate, you can mute them for a while. This means, you are still following them, but you don’t see their content for a while. Blocking means that the person is unfollowed, can’t see what you post or anything on your profile. This is a good way to cut out people who may be harassing you.

2)Take time out. Go for a day or so without social media. I usually simply put my phone on airplane mode for a few hours, like when I am studying, so that I can focus without the constant pinging of my phone. If that isn’t enough, and you want a few days away from the distraction of your Facebook timeline, delete the app from your most used device. A lot of the time, we check social media constantly because it always seems to be there. And it not being there, can free up a lot of time.

3)Don’t read bad comments. Sometimes, you could post a picture of an apple on Instagram, and it would attract bad comments. If you see this happening, try not to feel down. These people seem to get some kind of thrill of bringing people down. You can disable comments on many social media services, as well as make it so only your friends can comment. You will find that people are a lot less confrontational if they know you, or have to share their identity.

4) Just laugh. Try not to take social media too seriously. A lot of the content that you will be shown on sites like Facebook and Twitter are there to get a reaction. So they will either be content you agree with, or content you massively disagree with. For example, I would say I am ’left-leaning’ when it comes to politics, so the stuff I get shown is either supporting that stance, or is wildly opposing those views. So, try not to take everything as gospel, and just laugh when people do. It also can defuse a situation building up within yourself, as laughter does make you feel better.

5) Be kind to yourself. If you find anything on social media to be causing any kind of negative reaction to yourself, then step away. You are the only you there is, so it’s important you look after yourself. If there is too much BS happening, then go and read a book, play a computer game or whatever social media is distracting you from.

You can be selective over what you show on social media, and it’s important to remember that. Because everyone else is too. A lot of people show part of themselves, whether it be a nice or a nasty side. So if someone attacks you, then remember it is just what they think they see, it’s not actually you.

Multi- Media Anxiety

Oh, these days are magical. You can communicate with someone on the other side of the world, as easy as you can communicate with your pal down the road. The internet has truly made the world smaller. Which is great.

Until you have a problem with anxiety.

Now, I have a job, and I am studying a university course, and people doubt that I can have any problems whilst doing those things. I can be okay when I am in a routine, when there is something I can focus on. I have this awful fear of disappointing people. So, when it comes to work, the point of disappointment is not attending work, so that someone else has to do my job. It’s this idea that I am letting someone down, and it is something that can make me panic and have sleepless nights.

This brings me to social media messaging. If I know the person well, I can message back fine. Usually. The problem is, that I assume that whatever expectancy someone has, I am just going to fail. I feel like a ‘wet blanket’, that I am just going to bring someone ‘down’. Like, other people are busy having lives, and I am still here, stuck in my own head. So, sometimes I am messaged by people, and my mind trips me up over the obligation to message back. And I panic, I worry, and I find it hard to reply.

Of course, that isn’t the case all the time. But when it does, I feel like my lack of reply has created an issue. That I have offended someone by my own inability to do something so trivial. The thing is, people do take offence. I have had people get grumpy with me, thinking that I have ignored them, without them being aware that I spend hours of my life worrying about a small message. Writing it out, it does seem really stupid. But that is anxiety, something so silly and stupid, but something I can’t seem to help.

So, if you message someone, and they don’t message back, try not to give them a hard time. It can be hard being so connected to the internet and to the world all the time. It is easy to get overwhelmed. Everyone may reach the point where they need to switch off their phone and have some downtime. And it is okay. It really is.

Multi Media Viewing

I am sitting at home right now, Eastenders is playing in the background as I write this post. And, this happens all the time. I spend a lot of time with the TV on, whilst browsing twitter or checking news articles. There isn’t a lot of programmes that can keep my attention.

This isn’t anything new. A lot of people have the same problem, it is so hard to focus just one thing. I mean, even my mum sits with the TV on, whilst playing Candy Crush on her phone. It works in other ways, how many people read a newspaper or book with the TV on in the background. It does effect how we can view things such as movies. I have about a 30 minute limit to get ‘into’ a film, if I am not interested then I simply get bored.

It is something I want to combat. Like put my phone away more, and simple relax, enjoy one thing at a time. So
I can pay attention to programmes and films better. The only things I watch with all my attention are subtitled anime episodes. I think that is because you have to read as well as watch, you don’t pay attention and you miss what happens. At the moment, I am watching Naruto Shippuden. I watched the dubbed version of some of the series years ago, but the voices annoyed me. A big issue I have with a lot of English dubbed anime
series. But I am getting more into the ones with subtitles, as the original voices are less annoying, and as said reading what happens takes all my attention. It’s easier to stay focused.

Lacking In Something

I love writing. I used to try and keep journals growing up, with varying amounts of success, simply because I like it. I liked the idea of writing something personal about a certain situation, having a certain view, and then reading it at a later time, laughing at my own reaction about something. Or even being like, ‘I can’t believe I felt like that about such and such a person’. As I got older, I realised that a lot of the things I felt were memorable at the time, I actually didn’t remember at all later on. Like, that moment that your first crush ignores you at break time was heartbreaking at 10 years old, but it doesn’t take long for that same moment to have you scratching your head as to why you were so upset. It’s one of the good things about keeping diaries.

I have tried to keep up writing personal journals, but I am getting to the stage where it can take 2/3 years to fill a single book. Which feels a little frustrating for me, because I feel like I am missing out on things. It is like when I discuss this with people around me, they can equate it to not posting on social media. I’ll be honest, I get super annoyed, when people think my wee diary with scribbled drawings is the same as Facebook. My diaries, especially when I was a teenager, were my venting point, that best friend I could tell my secrets to, and noone else would ever. Facebook, is the polar opposite to that. I suppose the idea with social media, is that you can post tidbits of your life to share with others, which is nice, but not everything needs to be shared. For example, glad to read that someone has a new puppy, not too glad to see someone has a new partner on the side. Some things should stay private, right?

This conflict in my mind, between what to share, and what to keep private, is getting harder to negotiate. For years, I used my blogs to vent, my diaries for more personal stuff, and other social media for… well more venting. If I get annoyed with a work colleague, for example, I will rant, but it will go in a small notebook that will never get anywhere near the internet. If it is a bigger issue, like people with bad attitude in the workplace, I may post about it online in a blog post. Mostly, because it allows me the space to explain in a broader sense, because it isn’t about a particular person. However, if I am PISSED, I may rant on Facebook, and honestly, that never ends well. Someone I know will ALWAYS think I am complaining about them, when I’m not. So it creates drama where there should be none.

But because I end up being cautious about what I write, in case I do indirectly offend a friend, I umm and errr over posts, and post nothing. My draft list is getting pretty long at this stage, because I do write a lot, I just decide to sit on the posts for a while, rather than just throwing it out into the wilderness of the internet. It frustrates me, because I never used to be so indecisive about what I post. And now, it is just becoming counter-productive. But that mental barrier holding me back is also stopping me from writing in my diary too. I think it just because there was no distinction of what I was writing, just different categories would go different places, and now I kind of have a block about writing anything.

I hope I am not the only person having such problems.

Socially Over-networked

The problem with trying to create a lot of content online, is that sometimes it can get too much. Motivation, as well as inspiration, can disappear. Which is great. Particularly when you try to give yourself a target, such as I have, where I am trying to write every day. This means that things can become too forced, to the stage that writing is something that I really don’t enjoy anymore. I know this, because it has happened to me before. And, because I also like drawing, my ‘creative slump’ can also effect that, and that is my manner in dealing with stress out of the window. Annoying.

That is why I have been quiet on here for a few days. I thought I’d take some time out, which isn’t a bad thing. That is a new thing I am learning, knowing when to take a step back. Because I haven’t before, and it’s caused me to completely stress out. Which is the total opposite to what I want writing to be for me. Because, it is something that helps me chill out and organise the nonsense in my head. To the point that I don’t know what I’d do without it. I think I feel suffocated, which is bizarre because it’s just rambling online, really.

But, the internet has become something that has taken over our entire lives. There is not a day that goes by, where we don’t use the internet for something. Even if I locked my phone and laptop away, just doing my job at work involves network connections that use the internet. Nothing would work, in fact, my job wouldn’t even exist. And that is quite scary. But, however scary it appears to be, it still doesn’t mean anything compared to actual experience of dealing with real people. And as real people, ourselves, we should never forget about the way we feel. Sometimes, it is too easy to be dragged into some battle on facebook or Twitter over something that doesn’t even matter. Whilst, I know I try to shrug things like that off, it is not always that easy. The best thing is, realise when things start to bother you, and try to take yourself out of such situations when they arise. That is a good thing about the internet, there is always a block button.

Sometimes, I wish real life had a block button.