As a kid I always thought my strict Mexican/Native American parents (and grandmother) were a huge pain in the ass. As an adult I’m very thankful they didn’t hold back from their parenting style which included hitting us with chanclas (sandals); telling us “you want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about”; and giving us “the look” which meant cut it the fuck out or I’ll take you into a bathroom and whip your ass. There was no such thing as a time out, and my siblings and I were definitely not allowed to be “our own person and find ourselves” at the age of 2.
My parents weren’t about to raise idiots, or raise a bunch of sensitive, whiny assholes, which is why it cracks me up when I come across articles discussing tweens and teens going to therapy because they’re not getting enough likes on their selfie posts. Yeah, I’m not talking about bullying. I’m talking about kids getting butt hurt because nobody “liked” the 167th selfie post that looks identical to all of the other selfie posts. I read an article that featured an interview with a therapist who had seen quite a few of these cases and I was blown away by the fact that parents actually found this a dire situation – your kid is sad over pictures and you’re taking them to therapy? Does that not sound ridiculous to everyone else?
When I was in high school one of my biggest problems, other than not getting beat up, was trying to find the chemistry book I lost like the 3rd week of school so I wouldn’t have to tell my mom, which terrified me because that book was a good $70 and my mom does not waste money. (Luckily I found it 2 days before school ended.)
My mom didn’t have to worry about me being such a vagina about things that really didn’t matter but I was curious to know what her response would’ve been to something like this, so I called her and asked what she would’ve said/done if I told her I was depressed over a lack of “likes” on my pictures. Her response was, “I would say ‘Jennifer, why in the hell are you posting pictures of yourself all over the goddamn internet. Don’t you know that freaks look at stuff like that! Is that what you want? For freaks to like your picture and come find you and kidnap you? You want to get kidnapped?! Goddamn it. And I’m not wasting good money on therapy because you’re sad over stupid shit. Get over it. You don’t need a therapist, I’m your therapist. I don’t even know how you have time to take pictures of yourself when I asked you to clean your bathroom 3 days ago, that’s what you need to be worried about. Because if I have to go in there and see it dirty again I’m going to start throwing your things in the garbage, starting with your toothbrush.’ That’s what I would’ve said”.
My mom, so full of piss and vinegar, still loves to throw the bathroom debate in my face, even in hypothetical conversation. And in case you were wondering yes, she did throw my toothbrush in the garbage. I was like 14 and 17 years later I’ve kept my bathroom immaculate everywhere I’ve lived.
The point is my parents, particularly my mom, didn’t baby me which I like to believe helped me in the social media movement. You see kids, I faced social media rejection years before you were crying about not being Internet famous. And we didn’t have your fancy YouTube or ways of making our nonsense go viral in an attempt to get strangers to like us because that’s what matters, what a stranger thinks of you. Not us. My people had a little thing called Myspace, or as I like to call it, the beginning of our decline.
In the early 2000s, Myspace was leading the way in online narcissism. I recall a few other social media sites at the time but none were as popular as Myspace. This site had it all: music, Lisa Frank-ish decorative backgrounds, mood indicators (that’s right, this is not a Facebook original), a section to write blogs, and more importantly, it had accomplished something that my teenage self could’ve only dreamed of: it provided an impersonal way to communicate with a guy I was otherwise to self-conscious to talk to in person.
This invention for the self-conscious girl (or boy) came along at the perfect time. I had just gotten out of a crappy relationship and as a woman in her early twenties, I believed that the best way to get over the break up was to get back on the horse, and Myspace was going to be my trainer.
I started going through my friends list to see who I could casually flirt with. I came across a guy I went to school with that I always thought was out of my league but because we had since graduated I figured all the social statuses that plagued me in high school were now non-existent. Also, I had run into him a couple of years earlier and because he was so nice and appeared happy to see me, I thought he would be delighted to hear from me and we would hit it off. With my plan in place, and an entire scenario worked out in my head, I typed a friendly yet flirty message that I believed was subtle and would reel him in without him realizing it. The goal was to make him see that he liked me, he just didn’t know it yet. I really did think like this because when you’re in your early twenties you’re stupid.
I sent the message while I was at work but made sure to send it right before I left to prevent me from checking my profile all day. Later that night I checked my Myspace expecting to see a very excited reply from my rebound but instead, was greeted with 0 notifications. Myspace didn’t have messenger yet so in those days you had to wait for responses while your self-esteem was chiseled away at little by little. The messages didn’t have read notifications either but they did show login dates on profiles so, like social media intended, I turned into an Internet stalker and looked at his profile to see if he had logged in that day. Fortunately, he hadn’t. I gave Myspace a rest for the evening but checked it the minute I got to work the next day only to find the same amount of notifications as the day before: 0. Like a psycho I checked his profile again only this time it showed that he had logged in. Fuck.
Before I gave rejection a chance to set in I gave myself a pep talk: “he’s probably really busy”, “he only had time to read it and he’ll probably reply later”, and my favorite “he probably checked it at work but didn’t reply because he doesn’t want to get in trouble because not everyone is a rebel like you and he’ll reply at lunch so he doesn’t lose his job which is probably what you should consider, too”. The pep talk worked until I checked again at lunch with the same results.
I waited to check my Myspace again until I got home – it was my last hope. While still reeking with the stench of rejection, I logged in hoping to find a surprise in my inbox… and I did! Actually, he did something better than respond with a lame message. HE DELETED HIS ENTIRE PROFILE. You see children, back in the Myspace days you couldn’t block someone, you could only unfriend them. Well, he one-upped that and took it a step further by simply DELETING HIS ENTIRE PROFILE.
So take that you titty babies with your “no one likes my picture” problems. The next time you begin to throw a tantrum or cry over social media bullshit, just remember that not only did I not get a “like”, I MADE SOMEONE DISAPPEAR FROM SOCIAL MEDIA ALTOGETHER. Share that with your therapist.