If you haven't noticed, I'm pretty chill when it comes to social media. Never have I ever bullied anyone or told them their opinions don't matter, but that might explain my slow-churning follower count and lackadaisical approach to cynical engagement. Sassypiehole is one of the few pages online that does not participate in drama. The reason: engaging with negative behavior causes a great deal of stress for me, and anxiety is a fucking killer.
I woke in a mad panic one summer after hearing a friend say my name in a dream. After going into cardiac arrest — twice — his kidneys and liver failed. He had been in ICU for over a month before anyone told me. The doctors said he was brain dead, encouraging his family to pull the plug, but I knew they were wrong —and proved it by having him respond to commands. He blinked twice for me because he felt safe and respected, but when they moved him into a rehab that summer, while we were visiting my father at the beach, he gave up and let go. It was not a happy 4th of July for those of us who loved him.
In January of 2019, my best friend and hairstylist of over 30 years stood up from her couch, walked into the next room, and collapsed on the kitchen floor. She had suffered a massive heart attack and died a few hours later. Not long afterward, my doctor put me on medication, stating that if I didn't do something to alleviate stress, there was a good chance I'd meet with a similar fate.
The second anniversary of my friend's untimely death is now upon us, and it feels like a brick to the face. While her condition was genetically out of her control, mine is a choice. And so, I chose to disengage from negativity —banning followers who disrespect one another and hiding profiles of those who do not play nice — for my mental and physical well-being. But many accounts on social media disagree with my logic: that it's better to have no followers than a mob of angry stalkers who get offended and rage-comment about whatever is pissing them off that day.
A lot has changed since rebranding my website, but the contempt people have for one another, both online and in-person, is still there. If anything, it's gotten worse. The other day, I spoke with another humorist about my feelings toward negative engagement. He disagreed, stating that any attention was welcome on his page. We joked for a minute about unicorns and rainbows, and then I warned him to check his heart. "Just had an EKG and echocardiogram last week," he quipped back. "Still going strong."
It's strange how some are unfazed by emotional drama while others suffer deeply in their minds, bodies, and spirits. Personally, I can feel my heart pounding when reading some of the comments people leave for each other on Facebook and Instagram. Tell me, where is the joy in anger? I suppose arguing can be an adrenaline rush for some, but doing so only sets the tone for new (and old) relationships, forging a transparent wedge that will ultimately collapse. If this is your thrill ride, pay attention to your body when traveling down that road. There's only so much a person can take before their tickers give up and stop beating.
To better serve my mental state, I've decided to take the rest of the year off from writing to spend with family. Thank you all for subscribing to my message this year. I hope they reach you in the right place: the feels—happy holidays to you, your friends, and your families. Let's hope 2021 earns better results.