While I’ve been sick I’ve been spending a lot of time online. I’ve been checking out all corners of the internet. I’ve read deep into both sides of politics, I’ve read about science, and I’ve watched some teen YouTube stars. When you dive into each of these universes it’s a bit like falling down a rabbit hole. You get consumed by it for the few hours your online.
What we don’t think about that much is what it does to us when we log off. Certain ideas stick with us and we’re not blind to them, but what we tend to miss is the fact that our mental vocabulary changes to meet what we’ve been consuming. The ideas overcome us.
A good example of this was when I was reading extreme feminist Twitter accounts. A few days after I was in my car and this song came on and I thought “this song is really good and so emotional, how is it even written by a man?” It took me back because I couldn’t believe what I just thought. I had been reading about emotionless men and “toxic masculinity” that I accidentally started to internalize it. There is no reason for me to think of men this way. All the men I’ve been in relationships with have shown emotions to me and their masculinity never was toxic. I actually enjoy masculine traits in men. I knew men could be emotional, so why had I forgotten it?
I noticed the amount of cursing I did directly related to what I was watching on TV. I noticed political terms clogging up my mental dialog when I read to many news articles trying to make up for the years I tried to pretend politics didn’t exist. I found myself reading “theories” and thinking about how crazy they were only to have one circling in my mind a few hours later.
A lot of these things I can dismiss. I’ve been spending too much time online, I wouldn’t normally get this far down the rabbit hole, not if I wasn’t sick. I can beat them out of my head once I notice them and move on with my life with a wider world view.
But, the entire thing got me thinking about what I consume daily. The types of Instagram accounts I scroll through at the doctors office. The blogs I read. The Twitter accounts I follow. I’ve always made a point not to follow these extremists. I find that no matter what the idea is, if you take it to the extreme it’s not healthy. It actually becomes kind of toxic in itself. This goes for both sides of politics and any obsession in pop culture.
Does that mean all that I read is good for me though? Absolutely not. I started critically thinking about the types of accounts I follow. I challenged myself to challenge the ideas that were put out in front of me. I found accounts with different points of views and followed them so I wouldn’t be getting one sided information. I wanted to cut down on my cursing so I started cutting out certain consumption that did it to the excess.
I became hyper aware of the fact that the things I was consuming had a lasting effect on my brain. I needed to think about every objectively if I wanted to keep my ideas straight from theirs. I needed to stop dismissing things as unimportant. I needed to stop following certain accounts “for the drama of it all”.
I’ll end this blog post with two questions. What kind of media do you consume? How has it changed you?