When I initially set out to write this blog post, I had done so with the intent to talk about the rallies and other gatherings of folks seeking justice for the murders of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine, something that so many of us are intensely passionate about. However, after weeks of my Facebook and Twitter feeds being filled with story after story and heartache after heartache, I found myself spiraling down into a deep low, and my intent with this post changed.
At first I was ashamed that I felt this way, because I am furious and upset about the verdicts of Stanley and Cormier and I too want the system to be fixed and justice to be served—not just for Colten and Tina, but for all our Peoples. However, I realized that I was daily being exposed to only sadness and negativity and seeing those I look up to post nothing but anger (rightfully felt) and devastation (also rightfully felt) made me want to quit social media for good. I don’t think social media is healthy in general—studies prove this, yet I still partake—and for a while there, it was causing me to retreat into a profound sadness I have been working to avoid.
All too often, we click the retweet or the share button without giving it a second thought. Sure, sometimes we go to the effort of copying and pasting a profound statement in the article along with it, but how often do we feel an emotional response to something and just click away? What happens when over half of your friend/follower list is also posting these same things? Absolutely these stories need to be shared and talked about—I would never say to ignore them or not to share—but I think it is worthwhile to hold up a minute and look over what you’ve recently posted and ask yourself why you are clicking what you are clicking.
“We need to question how we are influencing our own mental health and emotions, and how we might be contributing negatively to the mental health and emotions of others.”
I’m not saying not to share stories or express the way you feel about something on social media. I shared the same stories on mine as many other folks did. I am not saying we shouldn’t talk about Colten and Tina and all our relations who have not received justice. I am saying to be mindful of how you are sharing and who might be seeing these stories and perhaps becoming re-traumatized over and over again every time they log in to see what their grandbabies or cousins are up to. Maybe share something beautiful or funny in between posts of sadness to both help yourself out, and to give something positive for your followers to read or to watch.
If you are seeing multiple people on your social media feeds saying they need a break from social media (I know I have recently) then maybe it is time for us to re-evaluate how and how often we are disseminating information and stories. We need to question how we are influencing our own mental health and emotions, and how we might be contributing negatively to the mental health and emotions of others. We need to cry together, but we also need to laugh, to celebrate, to share examples of amazing things happening in our communities. We need to show love and support, and we need to get some positivity up in here.