Updated: Jul 16, 2020
So part of grief is recognizing what we are feeling and what we are going through. There is a movement right now where we have this saying "positive vibes only." So I was listening to the recent episode of The Black Girl's Bravado (I'll attach the link below), and in this episode, they discussed how we overuse positivity. Now, I am not going to give a summary of the podcast. Please listen to the podcast and rate it! But they brought up a subject that I have been pondering on as well. So, naturally, I want to discuss it, but I want to give those two Queens credit for speaking out on the subject!
So, let's talk about it! A lot of times, social media has everyone looking perfect or close to it. We look at people's pages, and we see how they are flourishing and what they are doing. We seek to see what everyone is doing and what they are saying. There are some pages on social media that are created solely on positivity alone. I mean, their whole world is positive. You have cancer, well you look at cancer in the face and let it know who's boss. You just got into a car accident, instead of taking a moment to realize what just happened, we post our cars on social media with a positive note attached to it and end it with Thank God above for saving my life. I am not saying this is good or bad. But I will say social media has taken away from us the moment. You were just in car accident. Relax. Take a breath. Process what you feel. I think it amazing that you can be so positive at such a time like this, but our bodies do go into shock!
Let me ask this, "When you look at someone's social media, do you feel encouraged, or do you feel bad about yourself?" If you are not encouraged by the social media pages that you watch, then unfollow them. The thing about social media is we have to remember that we do not know the whole story. Some people share the good and the bad, which is totally up to the person's personal preference. However, I see a lot because we feel that we MUST be positive in every direction. Listen, if you just got into a car accident, that is traumatic. If you just lost your best friend due to gun violence, that is traumatic. If you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, hey it happens. That's part of life. And if you embrace those moments, let me tell you a little secret, it doesn't mean you're giving into negativity, but that you're simply human. Positivity isn't a bad thing, and by no means am I saying to go around and be miserable. All I am saying is do not allow the pressure of being so positive to erase your truths.
Another thing to ask is, "Why am I posting this?" What's your reasoning behind this? A person like me, I post a lot! A whole lot. I've been on Facebook since 2006, and before that, I was on Bebo, MySpace, Tagged, and BlackPlanet. I've always loved social media. The pictures are what get me. I love taking pictures, and I love sharing moments, and social media is a free advertisement! I love it. I do not necessarily do it for the likes and reactions, but I do it to tell a story and to touch at least one person hopefully. So regardless if I get likes or not, I am still going to post.
For example, I was not good at Snapchat because people would not watch my stuff. I never got any views. But I would post videos and pictures all the time, but I honestly enjoyed Instagram better. I remember being told that I talk too much on Snapchat, and people click through my videos. And then, Instagram came up with their version of Snapchat, and I was like I am going back to Instagram. I have more fun there, anyways. Honestly, it was a one-stop-shop for Instagram and that's what I loved. It was easier to record and post and that is what I loved! I still posted on Snapchat, but I had no fan base, and honestly, it was not fun to me. But again, I decided to post! I wanted to post, so I did it even when no one would watch it.
For whatever reason, we put this vision in our heads about a life we think we need to live. We feel we have to work a 9-5, or we believe we have to be entrepreneurs, or we think we have to do both. And when thinking about it, we find ourselves comparing it to others. But who told us this? Who taught us this? There is a specific lifestyle that we try to fulfill, and sometimes that's not even what we want. You ever hear that saying, "Be careful what you ask for." This happens when playing that comparison game, and we try to be perfect. We all know that being perfect isn't a thing, but somehow we strive to be perfect. Somehow we get caught up in having these images in our head from social media, and hearing all these people be positive.
So, let's talk about this positive vibes only movement. I am not here to say that we shouldn't be positive. I am here to say that we have to learn to embrace our situations. I remember dating a guy. I asked him if he cried. This fool looked at me and said, "What's crying going to do besides give me a wet face? I acknowledge I am hurt and then what, now I got a wet face. Stuff happens, and we move on." I remember looking at him and saying, "you can't be positive or negative because you don't address anything. You have no connections with your emotions, and it speaks volumes in your daily life." That relationship did not last because I couldn't spend my life with someone like that. Like there just weren't any emotions that were acknowledged. He had the opposite effect. He wasn't too positive. He was just flat out harmful. But we have all met those people who whenever you ask them, "How are you doing?" and their response is "Blessed and highly favored. I am fine. I am doing good. Life is great." I mean every time you speak to them. We even have those folks who just always hit us with the "I am fine." Listen, what you share is your choice. But I want to challenge you to think about how you are feeling and why that may be. Are you living out your truth or living a facade? You are not obligated to share. And I know fake until you make it or faith it until or make it, but if we're being honest with ourselves, wouldn't it be nice if one day we could just say "This sucks. Hey friend can I just let this out?"
I remember when my mom dies, there wasn't a positive bone in my body. I literally could not see the joy in life. My heart was broken. I remember the first time a boy broke my heart. I cried and lost my appetite and couldn't understand it. People would tell me there were other fish in the sea and that I would be fine. But imagine if I was able just to say: "Wow. This hurts. They don't teach you about heartbreak in Disney movies." When my dad died, I also remember that I felt like I had to be strong and that his legacy fell in my lap. I felt like I had to be a superhero, and I never truly grieved my father's death until I was older.
I say all this to say, don't be so positive that you ignore your real emotions.
And don't be so disconnected from what you are going through or feeling.
Unpacking our life and situations is okay. We have the right to investigate what we have been through and figure out the root of the problem. We have permission to do that!
Positive vibes only can be a goal, but make sure that you allow your body to feel what you need to feel. Just like we always bring up grief, there will not always be times where you can be positive. During this revolution, where our black brothers and sisters keep getting mistreated and killed, we can't always be positive. Anger is not evil! Anger is okay to have. There are certain situations where being positive is impossible at that moment, and that's okay.
Let's watch how we view ourselves because of Social Media, AND let's watch how we use positivity.
So with all this in mind, just be reminded to speak your truth and be authentic. Remember that positivity is excellent, but anger isn't always bad. We have to recognize what we are feeling and going through. Just listen to your mind, body, and soul. Honor your mind, body, and soul. As always, remember to love you the way you love the world.
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