13 Mar 2017

How social media deepens our sense of deprivation

I don’t have the emotional or the physical energy to write about how social media is negatively affecting our lives, it’s already been said. I don’t want to reiterate how people have been using their social media pages to post exaggerated versions of their lives, successes, achievements, friendships, families and romances, that argument is just as old and exhausted. It’s nauseating how as people we’ve become incapable of living without an audience. I tried social media twice and gave it up both time, deciding it really was a lot of crap, a waste of time, and has absolutely nothing to do with human connection, but had everything to do with obsessing over other people’s lives, unhealthy arguments about politics and religion, destructive criticism, passing judgements, and stalking people. 

But even when you’re not on social media, you can still be haunted by it. As I went on the internet to check my e-mail. My Yahoo home page gave me the daily newsfeed, the top, most popular story was Mark Zuckerberg’s “touching” post on facebook, announcing his wife’s pregnancy. They were so happy, so blessed, especially when they thought they couldn’t have another child, especially when they found out it’s a girl. And how much they’ve always wanted a girl, and how Mark was so lucky to have grown up with three sisters, who taught him how to be strong and successful, how loving and caring his sisters were towards him, how supportive they all were of each other. How his wife grew up with two sisters and how they were each other’s rock, always there for each other, all the inside jokes that only loving caring siblings can have. Mark and his wife looked so happy, so in love, so strong, so lucky, so like people who had everything.
I wish I didn’t read about Mark, I wish I didn’t have to know how lucky Mark and his wife are, how amazing their sisters were, how loyal, loving, and supportive families can be. How deprived I am, how far away my reality was, how little I had. I don’t envy Mark, but I could have gone without having my deprivation deepened, pronounced, underlined, and put into perspective. I don’t know how much I can turn away from the abundance others have. How guilty I feel when I can’t feel happy for other people’s boundless blessings. How much I scold and shame myself for reading such things; “you could have not looked, you could have ignored, you could have not clicked”. How much can one close one’s eyes, pretend, look away in order to survive, in order to get through the day intact. And then more shame and guilt; how much deprivation does someone like me trigger in a less fortunate life; someone with a disability, someone terminally ill, someone homeless, someone living in a warzone.