Social media was ruining my life. Ever since the election, logging in meant exposing myself to conversations I wasn’t emotionally ready to have. One morning, as I was typing away, paragraph after paragraph, rebuking someone I think I met at an internship seven years ago, I thought to myself Ugh. I feel like I’ve eaten a bag of nails. It was then when a light went on in my head. Ever since, any time I get the urge to check social media I eat a bag of nails instead… and I haven’t felt this good in months!
See, social media used to be a place where I could see what my friends were eating or who from high school is married or thin. Since last November though, it’s become a sick portal into the absolute worst minds of a nation, unfiltered by the natural shame of face-to-face interaction. Exposure to that venom of the soul is not healthy. And while I’m sure substituting my internet leisure time with eating bags of nails isn’t healthy either, I’ve made my decision and the bags of nails are working for now.
You’d think chewing the nails would be the hardest part and buddy, you’d be right. However, swallowing is also very challenging. A close second for sure. Both hurt pretty bad. I am looking forward to the day when I no longer think about Facebook and therefore no longer need to eat another bag of nails ever again.
My doctor expressed serious concern about the general wear-and-tear prolonged exposure to nails will have on my digestive system. But even he had to admit my blood pressure is way, way, way down, due in no small part to my avoidance of posts that make me angry and also to the chronically open wounds that exist in my entire body.
On the other hand, the guy at the hardware store loves me. He is convinced I live in a poorly built palace. Last time I was in, he even offered to lend me some books on DIY home improvement. I haven’t been able to explain why those books were unnecessary; we had a hard time understanding each other since he’s Ukrainian and my tongue is riddled with lacerations.
“It’s cheaper to buy the full 1-lb bag, you know!” He says. I pretend like I don’t hear him and go for the 1/2-lb bag. No need to make things any harder on myself.
I am honestly surprised I still get urges. Just yesterday I logged on to my computer to check the weather and instinctively I opened four separate tabs for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Twitter AGAIN. That was four bags of nails before lunch! And trips to the bathroom are intense. Any time on the toilet was prime social media time and the desire to log in on my phone is unavoidable. There is a subtle irony to eating a bag of nails while also… well, you know.
I still consider myself an informed citizen. I go to protests, I call elected officials, I read the news. What I stay away from are any rolling feeds where my peers, who are also understandably balls-of-frayed-nerves, are serving up reminders of how terribly screwed we all are and the problematic comments from friend-of-a-friend’s-uncle-in-law’s-with-bald-eagle-profile-photo whom I never met.
Eating bags of nails is what centers me, calms me, and causes me to find a sense of rest that only nodding off from considerable blood loss can. I’ve never done yoga, but eating bags of nails has become my yoga. My painful, painful yoga.
When I think back to the better days of social media, I don’t know that it ever made me feel good. Maybe I’ve always been “eating bags of nails” in a figurative sense. But I try not to think about it too hard, so I don’t have to eat another bag of nails.