r/nonwild: why shopping on the internet for self-esteem is probably a mistake.

19 01 2013

DISCLAIMER: i’ve been writing this post since september, and actually changed the date to october when it took me a month to get it even half done. now it’s almost february. the cliff’s notes version here is that i’m sad. i’ve been sad for a while. i’m feeling a lot better, but things are still sometimes confusing and hard, and i haven’t been writing because i couldn’t. i know that’s not funny, or snarky, or even interesting, but it’s the story of why this post took me almost 6 months to write.

october was a pretty shitty month. i would venture to say (save for that year when i got divorced), that this october was probably the shittiest month i’ve had for a long time. and while no one big thing went awry causing the downward spiral (time to break out the NIN), it was more of a 10 car pile up of tiny awful little things combining into a juggernaut of unstoppable sadness, and self doubt, and too many days spent curled up in my bed with my dog playing internet scrabble and praying for sleep.

i am not prone to depression, not even a little. usually, i’m a joke cracking, bright side finding, pollyanna-grade fucking optimist. i don’t get sad, ever really.  so on the very rare occasion that everything decides to crumble into dust for a minute, sad is this foreign intruder who busts in, makes himself comfortable in my bed, demands snacks, and refuses to go home. i’m paralyzed. i’m useless. so, sad and i curl up in bed together, call my mom, and try to wait it out.

by mid-sucktober, i was finished. but, there was sad, still hogging the remote and demanding more cool ranch doritos. i started to flail around a little bit, doing anything i could think of that might shake the sad out of the sheets and return my life to its standard, even keeled, hyper productive state. i ate a lot of pringles and watched a lot of stuffy british murder mysteries. i got drunk. i bought a bunch of books that i was too bummed out to read. i looked at grumpy cat memes all day. still, nothing.

for those of you that know me well, i spend a lot of time on reddit. i know, NERD ALERT, but it is what it is. for those of you who aren’t super familiar with reddit, it is a content sharing website that allows you to upvote and downvote things in exchange for internet points. sort of like facebook, but meaner and with strangers (and a scoring system, so you can lord your superiority over others). along with great subreddits on virtually any subject imaginable (r/wheredidthesodago is my current fav), there is a very very popular subreddit called r/gonewild.

r/gonewild is popular because it’s where (primarily) women go to take their clothes off and ask for adoration. the simple two step formula goes a little something like this:

1. ridiculously hot young (18-25 seems about right) girl gets naked and/or poses like some sorta porn star (think lots of super close-up vag shots) in a poor quality self-photo with an unusually messy room in the background.

2. ridiculously hot young girl titles photo with a shamelessly self-deprecating/compliment fishing caption like “my boyfriend told me i’m fat” or “doesn’t ANYONE like small boobs?”, and waits for the compliments/marriage proposals/sexual propositions to roll in.

this formula is foolproof. be hot & naked + beg for attention = attention. WHO KNEW?

i won’t lie, it’s kind of a seductive proposition. and after 2 months of utter shitshow, there was a part of me that really wanted to try it. i just wanted to hear someone say something nice.

maybe 35 isn’t so old?

maybe some internet nerds somewhere actually do want to marry me?

i was so miserable that i actually got to the point where i found myself photoshopping any identifying features out of the background of an inappropriate photograph before i stopped and remembered that thing that i always say to people when i know that they are about to post something scandalous/slanderous on the web:

THE INTERNET IS FOREVER.

it doesn’t seem like it should be, but the power of screencaps, right clicking to save, and the wayback machine guarantee that if you posted it once (even for a few minutes), it’s out there somewhere… PERMANENTLY. and if you think that just because you cropped most of your face out of the picture or posted it under an ridiculous anonymous name like “theslutonyourmind” or “yummytitties” that nobody is going to recognize your bath mat, or your birth mark, or your favorite batman underpants, then you are seriously underestimating the power of the nerd populous. and if they can find you, so can your new boss, or your new significant other, or the presidential vetting committee.

if you’re lucky, maybe they don’t care. maybe you don’t care. i’m not saying that naked pictures are anything to be ashamed of. bodies are great. bodies are hot! but, i do think we need to be as careful about where we’re showing them (consequences at 18 might seem less real than consequences at 35), as to why we’re posting them.

in my moment of foolish photoshoppery, i caught myself falling prey to my 18 year old insecurities and desire for validation. maybe it was because i don’t do drugs. maybe it was because i was broke and too miserable to get out of bed and shop. but i was scraping around for a panacea. and to be wanted (in that way) felt (for a brief moment) like the solution to the problem. and maybe it was… or would have been.

but.

but, it occurred to me (thankfully before i posted anything scandalous online) that i didn’t really want a potion or a pill or a new pair (or 9) or shoes. and i really really didn’t want skeevey internet people telling me that they’d “love to see more” (especially if they probably mean butthole). what i really wanted, was to feel better. REAL better, not 15 minutes of people complimenting my “sweet rack” better.

that kind of better is transient. and as soon as the euphoria from the compliment thunderstorm starts to edge off, it’s all the way back to the beginning again. being sad is being sad, but getting artificially pulled up just to get thrown back down again is so much worse.

so, for now i’m slugging through. i deleted my naked picture, and i’m just trying to get myself back the old fashioned way. i’m trying to eat better, get enough sleep, i’m spending time with people who love me, i’m calling my mom a lot, and i’m taking another ride on the ole therapy-tron. i think it’s working.

per the disclaimer at the beginning of this post, i am aware that this is TOTALLY NOT INTERESTING (and i thank you for your patience). but after this last 6 months, i still felt like this post needed to burst out of my chest like the alien (you know how it is). and now that it’s out, i can get back posting about bad movies, bad food, and bad decisions.


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13 responses

19 01 2013
Evelyn Paolilli McElroy

Hug yourself. Be well. And remember that spring is just around the corner.

27 01 2013
bessmarvin

thanks ev! some sunlight would definitely be helpful at this juncture. only 2 more months of bitter ass cold to go!

20 01 2013
John A. Olore

Can we, at least, see a pic of you eating the Cool Ranch Doritos?

27 01 2013
bessmarvin

sadly john, the sadness remains, but the doritos are long gone.

20 01 2013
Liz

There is something about the lack of light in the fall/winter, there really is. Fall is my favorite season, but this year my loved ones fell around me like swatted flies to the blues, despair, true depression. The light is increasing every single day, and it will get better. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your very best friend.

27 01 2013
bessmarvin

it’s funny, my mom said exactly the same thing about showing myself the same amount of compassion and patience that i show my loved ones. you guys may be on to something! some days are better than others, and i do have faith that i will at some point tame this beast. thank you for your kind words!

20 01 2013
Winnie P.

Glad you are back:)

27 01 2013
bessmarvin

thanks winnie! crawling myself back out of the hole slowly. more posts to come!

20 01 2013
audrey

The right kind of nakie photos can be so liberating! The wrong kind can be the opposite… But I think you made the right choice here, hope all the things you are doing work for you. Everything’s compounded in winter when it’s dark and frigid and downright uncomfortable… glad to see you back + posting. :) -audrey

27 01 2013
bessmarvin

thanks audrey! and don’t get me wrong, naked pictures are great- when you’re doing them for you (or close loved ones). when you’re doing them to try to get attention from strangers… not so much. but thank you! i’m working my way out slowly. hopefully writing more will be part of that process. :)

24 01 2013
dave

Oh, I totally know how it is. I’ve seen Spaceballs!

31 01 2013
Bekie

I love you’re writing, even when you’re sad and think you are uninteresting. Believe me, you’re totally not ;)

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

thanks bekie! that’s the nicest thing i’ve heard all week. glad i’m not boring you!

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