Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: suicidal ideation

Low Self-Esteem and High Self-Absorption: A Study in Contrast

moody
Softly, the rain falls.

I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem all my life. I don’t remember much of my childhood, but the memories I do have are mostly negative. I remember walking home from elementary school, my stomach in knots. There was a much older girl* who would wait for me to pass by, then she would taunt me as I did. I have no idea why she got off on picking on me, but I dreaded the three blocks I had to walk home from school. She wasn’t there every day or even most days, but in some ways, that made it worse. I never knew when I’d see her, which meant every walk home was a chore for the first block. I don’t know how long this went on until one day, I just burst into tears as she yelled whatever it was she chose to yell my way. She immediately stopped making fun of me and wiped away my tears, saying I had pretty hair. She didn’t bother me after that, and to this day, I have no idea why my crying affected her so much. Thinking back, my guess would be that she had an unhappy life herself and took it out on me. My crying reminded her that I was a human being and not a punching bag. Alternately, she might have thought she was teasing me good-naturedly, that we were buddies of some sort, and was mortified when I started crying.

I didn’t have many friends in elementary school. I was always the weird kid who’d rather read than play. In addition, I grew up in the suburbs in Minnesota in the eighties, so I was one of only a few nonwhite faces at my school. I don’t remember many instances of outright racism except the occasion chant of ‘Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these’ with the accompanying pulling of the eyelids, but nor do I remember many overt expressions of friendship, either. I was a lonely kid, fat, awkward, highly intelligent, and hiding a dysfunctional home life. I felt like an outsider for so many reasons, and I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to be friends with me. I wouldn’t want to be friends with me if I weren’t me, so why should anyone else? I spent as much time in my own head as I possibly could because I hated the world around me. I was seven when I realized I would die one day. It simultaneously terrified and relieved me. I couldn’t imagine being alive, and, yet, I couldn’t imagine living for very much longer.

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Social Media: The Silencing of the Lambs

Brief Background

apples and oranges
Flourishing social media interactions.

Like many people, I consume social media on a daily basis–mostly Twitter with a healthy side of Facebook. Several years ago, my brother pushed me to join both, and I resisted with all my might. “I don’t like people!” I cried, digging in my metaphorical heels. After he pestered me for a week or so, I reluctantly gave in. I started slowly, just dipping my toe in the social media pool. After a few months, however, I was all in. I started tweeting and Facebooking with abandon, enjoying the freedom of saying whatever the hell I wanted whenever I wanted. In the beginning, I spent more time on Facebook, posting the results of all the FB quizzes I took every day. Believe me, I was fucking annoying with that shit. Then, for whatever reason, I gravitated more towards Twitter, probably because I got heavily into politics after Obama’s election, and Twitter is more real-time than is Facebook. In addition, someone on Facebook reported me for ‘inappropriate content’, and my account was temporarily suspended.* I hopped over to Twitter and didn’t look back.

At first, Twitter was like crack to me. I was a heavy user, and I felt as if I was involved in a community. I mostly followed people who were into politics because that’s what my passion was at the time. It was exciting to talk about these issues with people from all over the world. Then, after PBO’s reelection, I started to sour on Twitter. Why? Because most of the political talk wasn’t an actual discussion–it was the same old people saying the same old thing. No matter what PBO said or did, people would react in the same way they always did, depending on who they were. Conservatives hated everything he did, of course, and wanted to see his birth certificate, too. Progressives were never satisfied, always wanting PBO to go further than he did. If they were feeling generous, they said he was a good Republican president. If they weren’t, they called him an Uncle Tom and worse. PBO stans thought he couldn’t do anything wrong. Any criticism against him, they declared it was because of racism or Republican obstruction. I’m a huge supporter of President Obama, but that doesn’t mean I think he’s perfect. There are things he’s done/not done that I’m critical of, and I think that should be OK. What I realized, however, is that the people who were complaining about W. being a dictator weren’t mad because he was one, they were mad because he wasn’tĀ theirĀ dictator. So, the people who voted for the angry black man** were furious because he meant what he said about trying to work with Republicans.

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