I never liked the idea of going to haunted houses as a child. Blood and gore, monsters even — the idea of those things never scared me. But to walk into any situation unprepared is still a source of extreme anxiety for me.
In a haunted house, you have no control. You don’t know what you’ll see or when you’ll see it. The monster might be around the corner, behind you, or walking with you in the dark. The floor may creak when you step, or someone or something may splash you with water if you try to turn around. When you walk into a haunted house, you forfeit your autonomy and play the game at the mercy of monstrous men.
I’m not sure when, but social media became my haunted house.
I no longer have control over what I will see or when I will see it. Algorithms and “best practices” might say dance on Tuesday, then cry on Wednesday. A video of a giraffe’s first steps might precede another video with extreme violence. No matter how much I “teach” the bots what I like or don’t like, Mark, Adam, Susan, and Shou Zi continue to feed me digital meals that I find difficult to digest.
I’ve left and returned, deactivated and reactivated enough times to realize that my relationship with social media isn’t the healthiest.
Social media became my haunted house, but it isn’t a haunted house. I fully control how much time and energy I devote to the Instagram scaries. I fully control what I allow myself to see. Every day I get to decide to show up a little or a lot or completely disappear. In time I’ll find a way to make the most of my online presence, but for now, I’ll just remind myself that I’m not afraid of the dark.
I think the anxiety that comes from unpredictability is something I should lean into and explore.
What is social media for you?
CandaceAlikéSmith.com is a Dallas-based intentional living blog. Candace created this space in 2015 to help women of color reclaim their vitality through self-care and exploration. Read Candace’s journal entries, and follow her content on holistic beauty, essential oils, non-toxic products, healthy libations, and wellness travel. Read Cherise’s mental wellness contributions and get your mind right.
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