An edited shorter version of this post appears in the Times of Israel, Selfcare, Lashon Hara and Social Media
It’s the same thing every January. We are deluged with stories about exercise, eating right, and how we are all going to die in a gluttony of obesity and indulgence. When the news media is done with deriding us because we like chocolate and bread, they will then launch into the discussion of our wastrel life of materialism and capitalistic idolatry.
We will be lectured by people who seemingly never missed a credit card payment in their life, as to how to pay down debt, become fiscally responsible, and still save for retirement. And then they also let us know that it is not our responsibility to send children to college. This is my favorite one that financial consultants like to pull out of their briefcases. Irrespective of the reality that the first question asked on the student loan applications is what is your parent’s income, these erstwhile money makers tell you that you should let your offspring pay for their own education and that what’s important is to save for retirement. They forget to tell you that they also don’t make money off of the 504 Plans, which are run by the States, but do get compensated when you invest in their IRAs or retirement portfolios.
I remember when we actually talked to a financial planner about how to right our financial ship, and was told not to invest money in painting and taking care of our house, our biggest investment, while we have debt. But that it was ok to pay him thousands of dollars every quarter for his advice. We opted to take care of the house, and not go further into debt by paying his bill. I guess he didn’t see that choice coming.
Listen, the cognitive dissonance is profound whether in the financial advisor marketplace, or the news media hyper competitive world. It all basically comes down to: give me money so I can tell you what a piece of shit you are, and you can buy all my products and then I can tell you you don’t know how to function in this world either financially or health wise without me.
Is it any reason that people simply throw in the towel and say “fuck it,” and end up spending money they don’t have, and eating things that are not good for you? If everything you do is going to kill you, and nothing you do financially will alleviate debt unless you go live in a cave, off the grid, what exactly is the point?
Well I came up with a better idea: stop watching these segments. Turn off the TV and stop thinking that these infomercials, which traffic as informative television, are anything but a means to add greenbacks to the station’s bank accounts.
This is part of my New Year’s resolution: selfcare. Doing what is best for me and not worrying what others think. Well, not that the TV anchor cares what you do, but it is a societal mode that we are required to reassess and reevaluate our world dependent upon the time of year and what others in our community are doing.
Side note: Honestly, sometimes these segments are fine. If you watch a cooking montage and want to learn a new way to prepare food, there’s nothing wrong with that. It can be interesting if you want to think outside your box and challenge your own food knowledge. But also be aware that not everything mentioned in these segments are actually doable if you work and have a full time job, or in today’s economy that would be “jobs.” I rarely find that these past times are geared toward making life easier for the working person, male or female.
There is also nothing wrong with simple, easy, and tasty food either. Cooking doesn’t have to be laborious nor complicated. Make what you enjoy. Tweak it a little. Add good fats. Take out sugar. Remove white foods and processed flour, if you can. Use some real butter, good olive oil, add vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Spices. Don’t. Forget. Spices. This is what makes a simple meal extraordinary.
Anyway, I have decided to eat well, but enjoy what I eat. Everything in moderation, they used to say, and that is what i am sticking with for the future. There will be chocolate, coffee, some wine, and ice cream. All foods will be eaten and enjoyed. There will be days that I overindulge and days that I do not. There will never be a day without coffee, butter, or chocolate though. Never. Selfcare is many things. Including allowing yourself to enjoy your day-to-day existence.
Another area of negativity in my life is social media. Let’s not even get started on the swamp and the hell hole that is Twitter. I think there should be a study how that site actually sucks you into the maelstrom. The hate, racism, antisemitism, misogyny is so prevalent on that sad excuse for human interaction, and is only getting worse. No one really actually understands why. There are many theories as to why Twitter degenerated and degenerated so quickly too, all blaming someone else by the way. But in the end it does come down to what the user accepts, doesn’t it?
The creators like to tell you that they have standards, yet the only person I have ever seen banned from twitter was my younger son who called antisemites names. The Jew haters, by the way, are still active, unless they are identifiably Nazis, then they are gone. But if they are Left wing and claim to be progressives then they are there on Twitter, left to spread their antisemitism in the guise of antiZionism. Of course, @Jack likes to pretend otherwise. Moreover, the Twitter Gods allow terrorist groups to openly recruit from their platform, whether it is Hamas or Hezbollah, (fortunately not ISIS anymore since they are finally considered the bad terrorists) and they allow totalitarian states to also spout their propaganda, Iran and Turkey, while blocking Twitter in these countries at these autocrats behest.
Perhaps it is the anonymity of the site that allows people to be so mean. That is what psychologists like to tell everyone. But it is not always the anonymous that are insulting and condescending. Sometimes, when you dare to question the rational of a celebrity they too act as if they are 12 year old brats.
That has happened to me on numerous occasions, where I was Gentilesplained Judaism (by a well-known and much lauded, atheist Palestinian by the way), mansplained by the very same individual how to have a conversation on Twitter (and some other males who seemed to get off on questioning my ESQ bonifides), and then I have simply been called a “fool,” for daring to question the authority of some Jewish Hollywood celebrity and his take on the Israel-JewishAmerican community dynamic.
A friend once remarked that Twitter is like a high school popularity contest. You would never win against the Football team captain or the Varsity cheerleader in a high school spitting match, so you are not going to win against a celebrity on Twitter. It doesn’t matter if they are spouting crap. It matters only that they have thousands of followers and you do not. And their egos will not allow them to be shown up in any way, so the only way the can lash out when you are correct is by name calling as if they were still in Middle School.
I suppose it’s the song from Fiddle on the Roof, If I were a Rich man, they would listen to me whether I was right or not.” People seem to think that celebrity breeds intelligence, which it does not. But what it can create is contempt. Obnoxious and condescension is not a good look no matter who you are, but then again these people used their asinine take on reality to get them the money, notoriety and the presumption of intelligence that goes along with their fake realities. And that includes academicians as well.
Heaven forbid that you question their perspective on a situation. If you do you are reminded how they, and not you, are the expert on a subject, again, even if you are right and they are wrong. Example: well known Jewish history academician called the Israeli security barrier an affront to his Judaism. I questioned him. He blocked me. I mentioned it to another academician who is a well know proIsrael advocate. His response was to belittle me and my take on his fellow professor. Not that the professor was a moron, or inadequate, or quite frankly spineless in his reaction to my take on his philosophy, but that I, am too stupid to understand the nuance of what the man was saying.
On Twitter I have been called racist for not accepting the Black Lives Matter movement and their antisemitic platform, I have been called unAmerican because I did not vote for Trump and alternatively because I do not reject out of hand everything that man does (only most of what he does), I have been called unwomanly because I swear and don’t take garbage from someone simply because they have a penis, and I have been called a traitor to the Jewish people because I challenge the authority of the rabbinate.
In truth, I joined Twitter years ago looking for help and support while I parented autistic children. I searched out autistic selfadvocates for some information and understanding of what my children were going through. I joined in on a twitter support group for parents, and found camaraderie among those in this very isolated community. But that too changed. At some point parents became the enemy. The autism-warrior parent became anathema to the movement of civil rights for the disabled. The parents were now the evil spawn of society and they are the ones to be rejected. Nastiness abounds. Not support.
When you tell advocates how you fought for your children, that you are not a bystander, they call you names and tell you, that you have a martyr complex and that you are an abusive bitch, and that they feel sorry for your children. Your oldest, who, by the way, you took from having PDD-NOS to 2 Master Degrees. But hey yeah, I’m the one hurting my child.
I don’t know if this is the need, as we see throughout social media, of people projecting their inadequacies onto others, or the need to have their choices verified by the world at large, so they attack others who do choose differently than they do. Support groups are no longer support groups. They are cauldrons of my way is the only way. A different kind of politics, in another venue, and on another plain. There will always be those who are frenemies and jealous of others due to their own poor choices, but it is never so apparent as on social media and especially on Twitter.
So everything has changed on Twitter and not for the better. While you can find links to articles and information, most of the time it is a dystopian fantasy come to life, a real Zero Sum game. But there is no winner of this Hunger Games, even though some think they can take home the ultimate prize.
So, to follow through on selfcare and riding myself of negative influence in my life, I deleted the Twitter app from my phone.
Oh I still will go on the platform from my computer. And I am working on my own obsession with this site. So for now in my down time, when I am not working, or when I am out and about waiting at therapists offices, or even on line at the supermarket, I do other things than search Twitter for information, and conversation. I play games on my iPhone, I read a book, I binge watch a murder mystery or comedy, and…. I write.
We talk about selfcare in so many different ways in today’s day and age. What we need to do first and foremost is rid ourselves of the negative influences in our lives. spend as little time as possible on the news that makes us feel inadequate, on social media that becomes abusive, and even among people that we thought were supportive but turns out that the only thing they want is to put you down to make themselves feel better (whether on social media or In Real Life, too)
I think the first step is to identify what it is that makes you feel bad about yourself, and then rid yourself of that influence. Take it slow if you need to. Make sure that you surround yourself with positive and productive people, actions, and beliefs.
In short, don’t let the asshats get you down. There are ways to fight back.