On personal relationships, pimple-popping videos, and politics in my Facebook feed

politics in my facebook feed

You guys … sheesh.

When was the last time I posted something here that wasn’t about a product of some sort? A long, long time ago.

I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been busy, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. I mean, I have been busy, but no busier than usual, really. And what’s busy, other than a made-up word that we use as an excuse when what we actually mean is I don’t have the emotional space for this thing right now and even if I could free up time in my schedule I wouldn’t because I don’t want to?

That’s how I’m feeling about a lot of things lately. There’s always the “finite number of minutes in each day (most of which are taken up by work and sleeping and eating and also deciding what to eat and making the thing that you’re going to eat and that your kid is probably just going to throw on the floor in a blind rage)” thing, yes. But if I’m being honest, there are more minutes in each day than I actually use — or want to use — on real things like writing or reading or catching up on emails or cleaning the house (not that I would have cleaned the house in the first place … sorry, Justin). There are minutes where all I can bring myself to do is sit on the couch, zone out in front of the TV or mindlessly scroll through Facebook.

My Facebook news feed is full of links to pimple-popping videos. (Why do those keep coming up? I never click on them but Facebook’s algorithm just keeps on churning them through as though I’ve shown an interest.) They have all these fun titles like “Think this is a bulging bicep? Think again, says Dr. Pimple Popper!” (ew). A giant cyst might look just like a muscle if it’s positioned in the right spot. But you have to draw it out, to excise it in order to see that it’s toxic — and to allow it to heal.

I’m also seeing a lot of politics in my Facebook feed. Is anyone else’s Facebook super depressing lately? Are anyone else’s personal relationships becoming really difficult to navigate because of what you see in your feed? I’ve seen and heard some friends and family members say some pretty terrible things (both online and in person) in the past few months, and honestly it’s caught me off guard to learn what’s been bubbling beneath the surface of people I thought I knew. Sometimes I wonder what happened to the empathy we were taught when we were small. In too many cases, it’s become conditional.

Empathy …

… unless they’re black

… Muslim

… Aboriginal

… a woman

… or they have a disability.

Empathy, but not for the young, entitled, liberal Millennials, because they should just shut up and fall in line.

Empathy, provided they don’t speak up or march or beg not to be murdered or even just ask to be treated like human beings, because really they’re whiners who just don’t get how good they have it.

Empathy, except where it’s inconvenient.

Empathy, but only for people who are exactly like us.

And so on, ad nauseam. How can we turn our backs on one another so easily?

We talk a big game in Canada, but anyone who’s been paying attention knows we aren’t immune to the toxicity emerging just south of us (and really, all over) — as much as we might like to think we’re different, it’s happening here too. As the parent of a small child with a very spongey brain, I worry a whole heckuva lot about this cultural shift, how it’s playing out in our homes and schools and screens, and what it means for who she’ll grow up to be.

Which brings me back to the politics in my Facebook feed. Is it better to go through life not knowing what’s really going on in people’s heads, so you can just ignore it? Or is it better to know, so that you can work to make things better — to change their minds?

Can you even change someone’s mind?

I’ve started writing probably five or six different versions of this post since the beginning of this year, but I keep getting stuck. I tell myself I’ll go back and finish the posts, and then something else happens — either in our big world or in my small world — and I give up because I honestly don’t know what to do with it. So I guess I haven’t been writing because I’m worn out from wrestling with these ideas. I’m disappointed that as a society, we aren’t living up to what I think we could be. And I’m afraid of what might happen next.

I should probably get off Facebook, right?

But here’s something else that came up in my Facebook feed:

I hope she’s right. She has to be right. But some labours are long, and we have a long way to go.

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