It’s so funny to me how some people use “woke” as an insult. Merriam Webster defines it as: aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).
If you want to call me woke, well, thanks! I’d like to think I am, but I also know I have plenty more to learn and improve. I would rather be woke than ignorant, hateful and closed-minded.
One of the reasons I loathe social media is that it’s a giant picture window into the divisiveness in our society, and I really dislike seeing so much anger and contempt. I find myself thinking about it all the time, and wondering what I can do about it, while simultaneously feeling like there’s nothing I can do about it.
Any time someone posts anything starting with the accusatory, “The Democrats/The Republicans”, my eyes glaze over. Worse yet, if someone uses “Libtard/Repubtard/Woketard”, or anything else with -tard tacked onto the end, I roll my eyes and quickly scroll away. You’ve invalidated your argument immediately by classifying an entire group of people as one unit.
I miss the early days of the internet when smart and inquisitive people were interested in using it to talk to each other and share their knowledge and skills in a friendly way. I just might be willing to go back to dial-up if it meant I could scroll through Geocities and chat with strangers on ICQ and not have them ask a single thing about my political affiliation.
I want to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and be educated on the important issues, but I find that there is just so much dubious information floating around, and people getting riled up about things they don’t understand, or that don’t even really affect them. Everyone is trying to make themselves heard and feel important but they’re all just shouting over the din. It’s mayhem out there.
So I deleted my social media apps two weeks ago and decided to focus on the material plane around me. Spring is springing and I’ve got new garden beds to lay out, new plants to plant, and re-emerging plants to tend to. I’ve got garden club and pollinator pathway duties. I’ve got unfinished creative projects that have languished for ages. I’ve turned my attention to the things I CAN have some impact on, like my own property, my own community, and my friends and family.
The other day I was chatting with a friend about my social media break and how much better I felt after just a week away from it. She mentioned Shel Silverstein’s Thinker of Tender Thoughts. Despite growing up with Shel Silverstein books on my nightstand and poring over them for hours, I hadn’t seen this drawing before.
I think the message is about how we are all unique and creative thinkers and have such potential to produce beautiful thoughts and ideas. But when we go out with our tender little blossoms of originality, society tells us it’s not cool to be so different, and so we end up squelching ourselves in order to fit in with a group.
I feel like social media amplifies that, this idea of putting people into boxes based on simple either/or categories. You can either be woke or… not woke? Liberal or conservative, republican or democrat, queer or straight, religious or atheist, northern or southern, whatever.
I know we’re all more than that. I don’t assume that if you are a christian or a republican that we are automatically mortal enemies. I might have some questions for you and would be open to having a respectful conversation about our differences in opinion, but I don’t see it as a reason to automatically dislike you. Though I admit, if I see a giant Let’s Go Brandon flag in your yard, or F*ck Biden and NRA bumper stickers on your dually, I am probably going to make some assumptions about you. I’m not above that.
Anyway, I guess this point of today’s musing is that I want to be a woman with tender thought-flowers growing out of her head. I want to cultivate a loving and fruitful garden of my mind. That reminds me – have you seen the remix of Mister Rogers singing Garden of Your Mind? I love it:
Social media makes me feel like the garden of my mind is withering and turning to Japanese knotweed and bittersweet vines (both invasive plants here), so for the time being, I will just be here, on my blog with a limited and supportive audience.
I’m still on FB Messenger, Signal, WhatsApp, email and text, so there are 8 zillion ways to keep in touch without the constant barrage of ads and unsolicited content. I’m sure before long I will be back on social media, or at the least, I will check into it now and again to see what’s new, but it’s really something I have to keep under control for my own mental wellbeing.
I’d love to hear from you, dear reader, on the practices you keep to maintain a healthy mind and spirit in this day and age.
3 thoughts on “You say woke like it’s a bad thing. . .”
Seems to me that anyone who disparage woke needs it badly. To denigrate woke is an attempt to have power over others. The enemy of a dictator, bigot, etc is someone who is a critical thinker, who questions and refuses the norm. DeSantis et AL criticize woke because they desire unchallenged power. Screw them.
I’ll disagree with your social media actions. We need community more than ever and social media is but one way to fulfill that need. It’s a different world than just 50years ago when community was grounded in face to face interaction. We’ve dispersed too much and social media can fulfill a communications void. We need a way to hear our neighbors. We used to do it at the office, church, PTA meetings etc. Our last gasp before we all become gig economy-streaming-hermits is to reach out via social media. I don’t see it going back to what was.
See you in the garden. Love ya!
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Your point about social media providing a sense of community for people is valid. I guess I just feel like I struggle with that sometimes. Like it doesn’t feel real to me.
I think perhaps I just need to be better about setting my own boundaries about how much time I use Facebook or Instagram, but it’s so easy to just slip into the mindless scrolling, and that is really what I’m trying to get away from.
I guess I haven’t fallen into that trap. Yet. I bet now that winter is over you’ll break the scrolling daze. There isn’t much else to do in New England’s winter. By