Can I Live?
The internet is ruining us.
The internet is my lifelong bad boyfriend. I love it, and crave its approval, and at this point, it literally pays the bills. 99% of the time, I think the internet is the fucking best–– especially when it gives me cat gifs or videos of porcupines eating corn on the cob.
But as with almost all great things, there’s a downside. When you have access to everyone’s thoughts and opinions, you have access to everyone’s thoughts and opinions. And sometimes, those opinions suck.
Back yonder when people still actually had to show up to plans they made because they couldn’t bail via text, the only opinions on our choices that really mattered to us were those of like, our family, our good friends, and our dogs. But now, thanks to the inconceivably massive reach of the internet, opinions are flying at us from all directions, all the time. People who think we should all be gluten-free versus people who think gluten allergies are made up. People who think breastfeeding is the only surefire way to make sure your child doesn’t grow up to be a serial killer. People who think Scott Baio deserves a shot at political commentating.
The thing about all the people behind screens with their opinions is that they don’t know you. Or even if they do–– even if they’re the pastor’s wife at your church or your best friend’s new girlfriend–– they don’t necessarily know what’s best for you. We choose who to confide in, who to ask for advice, for a reason. We pick our best friends because we trust them, and we know they know us better than anyone else. I know which one to go to when I need a sympathetic ear. I know which one to go to when I have an ill-advised crush. I know which one to go to when I need someone to pull me back to reality. And none of those people are bloggers or twitter personalities or talk show hosts.
When you’re chronically ill, you’re bound to come across just about every opinion possible on how you should be living your life–– not only socially and politically, but also health-wise, which at best is annoying and at its worst can be dangerous. You’ll have people blogging about how yoga cured them, or trying to sell you a diet plan, or worshipping at the altar of essential oils. You’ll have friends of friends sending you articles about “cures” and randoms implying that you brought your disease on yourself by eating too many carbs or spending too much time watching TV as a kid. The thing about these opinions is that for pretty much any opinion that exists on the internet, the inverse of it exists as well. So maybe put down the Google and just talk to your doctor and some fellow patients and friends that you really trust.
So next time you’re on the other side of things and tempted to take a hard stance on something and make a sweeping judgement, bite your tongue–– both so you shut up and so you start having a Pavlovian response between being judgey and being in serious mouth pain. If you hear someone talking about how they plan to adopt, remember that you don’t know the ins and outs of their situation and refrain from yelling “BUT YOU’RE MISSING OUT ON REAL MOTHERHOOD,” like a giant douche. If someone tells you they send their kids to park district pre-school, don’t launch into a lecture about how kids need to learn Portuguese by age four. If someone tells you they don’t eat meat, maybe just live and let live and don’t talk about how great the lamb you had last night tasted.
Moral of the story here is try not to be a dick, let people live their lives, and if you need a break from internet opinions, turn your phone off and play with your cats until you forget your step-grandma’s judgey, Trump-supporting Facebook account exists
C’est la vie, yo.