How To Cope With Social Media Rage And Lose Weight

I promise you that you can do both things at once.

I’ve been working at home recently because I am out of work. But I’ll write more about that semiregular late Capitalist ritual at a later date.

As a consequence, I have a lot of time on my hands. Even though I’m fairly busy applying for jobs online (which is the closest I’ve ever come to throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean) and writing for a few digital publications (the one I’m posting to right now being one of them) I still, magically, find time to stare at social media. Social media is like a cat that steals my productivity as if it were the breath of a baby.

This means that, fairly regularly, I get angry. I’ll read someone’s knee-jerk opinion on something they know nothing about and I’ll respond in kind. I don’t know what’s a worse feeling: the surge of adrenaline when a total stranger suggest the Coen Brothers have never made a movie worth watching, or the guilt once I’ve published the following reply: “you don’t understand film!” That isn’t really a question because the answer is they’re both equally horrible feelings and I don’t know why we aren’t a nation of human armadillos curled up into our leathery armored balls out of shame.

I, mean, any person who responds to any one of the dozen scandals of the Trump administration with a random and nonsensical criticism of Barack Obama makes my bodily fluids boil. I know that’s the point. I get owned, I guess. I sometimes feel like I’m trapped in a lost Samuel Beckett play about two clowns beating each other with rakes for all eternity.

(I guess I could stop looking at social media, but then I’d miss out on the most important art form of this generation, memes.)

Anyway, I get angry when I’m scrolling social media feeds because social media is a vast unhappy global consciousness. So I’ve been experimenting with ways to deal with that emotional reaction and I suppose I should thank my therapist Gary in advance for helping me learn how to be connected with my emotions. I use to think I only had two emotions: angry and pasta. It turns out I come equipped with a full complement of human feelings. And one trick he’s taught me I learned as a kid. When you get angry, take a timeout. I know that children need to be told to take a timeout by an adult but I’m an adult! I didn’t know this before therapy but many adults are actually grownup-sized robots piloted by children who are scared!

Now, in the title of this Medium essay, I promised how to cope with social media-inspired fury and weight loss. If this is the first time you’ve ever read my writing, I’ll have you know yes I consider this writing and I have always struggled with my weight. I had many nicknames growing up but one was “butterball.” Never bring that up to me because then the child inside my robot shell will act out and reach for the controls. He is currently being subdued thanks to plenty of cognitive behavioral therapy.

I have been looking for ways to keep my weight down during my forced sabbatical. I am prone to overeat when the future is especially unknowable. One way is to buy groceries that I can cook at home — this saves money and discourages me from ordering a metric ton of tortas from my favorite Mexican restaurant. I’ll confess that I have bought some convenience foods and currently, a bag of Trader Joe’s Spicy Thai Shrimp Fried Rice is calling for me from the freezer. But my point is I bought lots of vegetables to roast, and ones of those sacks of tiny clementine oranges. You know the sack I’m talking about. There are 800 in each.

Here’s how I killed two birds with one stone. I’d like to address those people who are reading a Medium essay of mine for the first time: I do love a cliche. The cornier and weirder the better. Like, how long ago was that particular cliché workshopped? When was the last time humans killed birds with stones? And how often did killing two birds with one stone happen? Was there one incredibly talented prehistoric stone hunter? I digress, however, and that’s something else that I should mention to new readers. I digress.

Over the past few days, I have read Tweets from people who are essentially pouring their fear into a screen they can hold in their hand. This fear takes the form of vile, poorly considered opinions on gender, politics, and culture. Instead of emotionally overreacting to these posts I have made the deliberate choice to put my phone down, walk to the kitchen, peel a clementine orange, and eat it slice by slice. I’m usually feeling pretty zen when I finish the orange and in every instance, I have returned to my phone content to not respond. In fact, it makes it easier for me to scroll on. This week I have eaten fifteen clementine oranges.

On Monday I weighed 213 pounds. Today I weighed 213 pounds. This is data that points toward a positive trend. At least in my book. Every clementine orange I eat is a win for my emotional well-being and a win for my overall health. My blood pressure is lower, and I haven’t craved a torta in hours. I think I’ve fulfilled the promise of the link you clicked: taking time to feel what you’re feeling while eating a delicious and healthful snack is an ideal way to cope with the opinions of absolute mouthbreathing dumbasses on social media.

Editor, Humungus. I won two James Beard Awards once for an essay about Taco Bell. Let’s be friends.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store