Eventually, I’m going to run out of things that I can try to tie back to wrestling. But this has just become a general life blog at this point anyway. What else would I talk about? In the last blog, I discussed a topic that came across my Twitter feed and sparked a fair bit of conversation — the Talented and Gifted programs in school and was able to kind of tie that back to wrestling, so let’s try something like that again. Today I’d like to discuss a topic that actually tends to come up every so often on this blog in one form or another — SOCIAL MEDIA, and its effect on one’s mental health. Take caution before reading and please consume responsibly.
I actually did a Twitter thread about this earlier this week because I’ve had a pretty wild relationship with social media over the past few months. Specifically, since this whole COVID-19 thing started, but let’s start from the beginning. (CW: we’re about to get a tad political, but I’m gonna try to keep it neutral) I’ve been pretty frustrated (as most are) with how I’ve seen things get handled by a lot of people since COVID hit North America. My frustration only continued to develop into anger when I tried to discuss things with my parents. They all but shut me down and refused to even entertain my view of things.
Please Consume Responsibly
This “discussion” led to a more humanitarian-charged social media presence. Especially on my personal Facebook page (where I knew my parents would see it) I saw a tweet or something early into COVID-19’s development in America. It said “let this radicalize you” and I kind of shrugged it off, as I’ve never been a very political person. But I believe a lot about what gets lost on people is the difference between what is “politics” and basic human rights. That’s where I truly draw the line. I care about humanitarian issues and I care about my friends and their family.
I come from a very privileged background as a straight white cisgendered male from a fairly wealthy background, so I know that my family will be okay. However, I worry about my friends, I care about my friends and their families because I hear their struggles and I want to do what I can to elevate them and make life better for them, so it makes me furious when people blatantly fight against that or wave their privilege in other people’s faces.
Anyway, this new brand of social media posts, especially on Facebook where prior to this I’ve been pretty much silent for years, garnered a lot of support from a lot of people. there cannot be light without shadow, so they also attracted some more problematic people arguing about how wrong I was. These people set me off. After my “discussions” with my parents, I was ready to fight anybody.
Please Consume Responsibly
I lashed out…
And I did. I lashed out with language that I’ve never used in an online forum. I tried to teach these people or present them with facts, but to no avail. These people weren’t looking for someone to change their opinion — they also came looking for a fight. These “discussions” fueled me. I joked once that they were my new pre-workout. I’d argue and fight and present facts with my digital foe and get myself all worked up and then go run a few miles and come back for more.
Inevitably I’d hit the big BLOCK button on those who deemed themselves unworthy of my social media presence, but some were incorrigible — trying to message me privately on my fan page, vague booking me, etc. But the stress of these “discussions” started to weigh on me and my friends and loved ones started to voice their concern for my mental well-being. “Pick your battles” was a creed I heard from Carl Randers many times but I didn’t really listen.
I thought what I was doing was important. In fact, I even took to Twitter searching for tactics to not get so angry when having “discussions” with those who choose to ignore the evidence that you present them. With most of the advice from others coming back as “just don’t engage”. Even my therapist cited that I appeared to be the most stressed I’ve been since I started seeing her about a year and a half ago. Something needed to change. I considered deleting my Facebook altogether, I hated the platform anyway, but the very day I looked into doing so a news piece caught my eye while scrolling:
“Puyallup Animal Shelter to Shut Down After Financial Hit from Coronavirus Pandemic.”
My heart skipped a beat. Almost exactly a year ago, I adopted a beautiful ginger kitten from the Sunny Sky’s Animal Rescue in Puyallup. My fears were confirmed upon opening the article. Sunny Sky’s, the place I met and adopted Poutine, was shutting down due to financial hardship. I went home and wept. I knew many animal shelters were encountering a similar struggle. But this one was especially near and dear to my heart. The article included a link to a go-fund-me page to help them find a new physical location in the future, which I immediately shared anywhere I could (PLEASE DONATE AND/OR SHARE, IF YOU CAN).
My social media mission had changed. I had been going about it all wrong and it was honestly a tad embarrassing. That I had allowed myself to fall into the trap of arguing with people on the internet. Instead of just taking away their privilege to see my posts. I was using that platform to put negative energy into the world instead of positive energy. Discussions can be healthy when they are actually a discussion, but not when it’s two people yelling back and forth. No matter how wrong these people I encountered were, I did a bad job by lowering myself to their level.
So to conclude (and try to tie it back to wrestling), I learned something new about responsible social media use. It is something that a lot of people in wrestling may struggle with. Social media plays a HUGE role in the wrestling world — especially during a time where there are no wrestling shows to change our focus and attention to.
Please Consume Responsibly
The Necessity of Social Media for Independent Wrestlers
It’s almost a necessity as an independent wrestler, but it is also important to remain aware of how it affects one’s mental health. Social media can be a very useful tool. Especially when trying to build a “brand,” but comes as a double-edged sword. Some people have the knowledge, patience, willpower, and energy to have the kinds of interactions I was having on social media — but I do not. Mike Santiago said it best on Twitter, “there’s more to life than being a social media preacher, like actually living your life.”
WASH YOUR HANDS…AND
PLEASE CONSUME RESPONSIBLY!
The world is your burrito!
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