I Think Too Much About Everything…Even Facebook Posting
Jennifer Angelina Petro
When is it OK to start posting silly puns and memes after events like the massacre at Tree of Life? Is it even appropriate to post anything silly at all in today’s frightening times? Am I exhausting my FB friends when I post all this serious-as-shit-trans-stuff? Do I offend them when I ask them to change their profile frames? Do I risk getting into arguments over politics? How do I handle feeling disappointed when more people don’t (won’t?) read my activist FB notes and blog-posts, and even my poems? Why am I even asking and sharing questions like these?
I am bipolar. My PTSD can exhibit similar symptoms to borderline personality disorder. I am aware my abuse history and addictions sometimes stir up codependency. I say these things to shed some light as to why I care so much about something as inane as posting on FB.
I have taken it upon my FB timeline to be an oasis of positivity and humor in the desert of horror going on in our country and around the world. I consciously chose to stick with funny posts because I know how important it is to laugh. And then, I couldn’t do it anymore. Not just because my life is more threatened now than it was even two weeks ago, but also because it just seems wrong to post silliness while such tragedies occur.
Of course, I am not responsible for how you feel, what you think, or what you do or do not do. Of course, you probably don’t have time to care about what I post or don’t post. Of course, I need to get my mind away from caring about any of this. Trouble with me is that I am thoughtful, highly empathic, and, am old-fashioned in the sense of treating the words, “FB Friends,” as friends in general—in “real” life. In other words—I think too much and I care too much.
As a bipolar person it’s very challenging to find “balance,” in anything in life, let alone something as inconsequential as FB posting. I need to be aware of-and-steer clear of all-or-nothing, black/white thinking, and so it’s absurdly hard for my brain to decide do I post something funny or serious, or do I try to balance them out, or must I post only one or the other, or do I leave FB altogether?
Not everyone is on FB as much as I am, and of course, it can be argued I’m on it too much. I am also unemployed and prone to hazardous isolation, so, for me, FB can be an important means for staying even virtually connected to the world while most people I know are off being gainfully employed. So, as goofy as it seems, the question of what to post is important to my broken brain.
I also understand FB has implemented annoying algorithms that prevent us from seeing things on one another’s profiles. I know we can also choose to “follow,” each other’s pages thus seeing more posts of those we follow than those we don’t. And of course, anyone is free to unfriend anyone or choose to stop following someone and still remain friends. You can even choose to stop seeing someone’s post completely and still remain FB friends, which, incidentally, I have done with some FB friends.
As so often happens, I am thinking out loud. I am telling all. No secrets with Jenn. Why do I do this? Because more than anything it’s important to share my vulnerable, messy, and stumbling humanity, and if that includes overthinking what I do or do not do FB post, so be it. Why do I think it’s so important? Am I being narcissistic? I hope not. I feel it’s important for the reasons I have stated many times—to humanize being trans, to help end the stigma of mental illness, and just to demonstrate that living in a radically open way is possible.
What am I going to do about the FB posting dilemma? Post what I post and let go of whatever happens. If my serious posts tire you out as just another preach-to-the-choir-political-poster, then so be it. If my silly posts cheer you up and lighten your day, so be it. It is my hope the serious posts will inspire you to action—clear and open action. It is my hope you will share those activist posts with your friends and family. It is my hope the memes and puns will be shared too and inspire you to remember it’s OK to laugh even when there is so much horror in the world.
Mainly, however, it is my hope that my brain becomes healthy enough someday to not spend this much thought power on FB.