THE CATHARSIS IN RITUAL PURGING

I found a real catharsis on Twitter.

If you google that word (catharsis, not Twitter) you’ll find two definitions. The second is purgation, a cleansing or purification. The first is the process of that release. Odd, as they both fit so well.

No, I didn’t follow a super genius psychologist, or someone beating the drum of self-actualization. I found something so much better.

“Unfollow.”

I should explain that I’m relatively new to Twitter –at least, to using it for more than gawking at profiles. Having stumbled across insistent articles on Twitter for independent writers (yep, I’m also one of those), the need to clean up my follow list was driven home.

That is, to judiciastly remove those who don’t follow back. (Judiciastly isn’t a word. But it ought to be.)

For the tweet-less, let me explain that Twitter has limits on the number of people you can follow – hinging on the number following you. Thus it may be prudent to remove those that don’t follow every now and then.

Mind you, there are tools to do this that I ignored. I’ve got a very good reason for not doing so – and you’ll have to ask my husband what it is as I can’t recall at the moment. The tool’s sole purpose, like many of my hastily contrived devices, was to present it to my husband when he asked.

And less you assume I’m some sort of expert – I have been known to accidently click the “UnFollow” button, or unfollowing without provocation, as my niece calls it. I fix it as soon as I realize my mistake – but I understand there’s a guy from “Just Unfollow” who’s angrily looking for me.

So to properly ‘Unfollow’, I was careful. I wrote down the name of someone I followed a full week ago, set it on my calendar, and then on the chosen day set out to unfollow all who came before and were not following me.

And now the catharsis part.

There were some very big names there, people I imagined so much ‘better’ than me. Above me, in my own mind. To see them snidely not following, pretending they didn’t notice me, caused a tiny spurt of anger. The deep satisfaction in clicking ‘unfollow’, in consigning them to obscurity, was – well, wicked.

As in wickedly satisfying.

I found myself spotting a name I bowed down to – someone I thought better than me. Much more widely read, considered a ‘great.’

“Think you’re too good for me?! Take THAT!” A vicious stab of the unfollow button, and the fool felt my full wrath. Somewhere that big name cringed at the cruelty.

I was free.

Free of vague feelings I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t in their league. That there was a league.

Ellen had had weeks to follow back. Click, click. Goodbye. J.A. Konrath? His loss. NASA? Did they think I followed merely for the pretty pictures?

My husband, hearing the gleeful murmurs, came to stand behind me. Watching my actions. “I thought you admired Kelsey Grammer?”

“He never followed back. And he corrected my sentence structure!”

My husband sipped his coffee. “Everyone not following you – no matter who?”

“Without exception.”

“Then you missed one. Larry Fitzgerald isn’t following you.” He pointed to the Cardinals’ pro bowl receiver, a personal hero.

“Larry gets a little more time. He’s always practicing, you know.”

Ian nodded, though I caught that ironic eyebrow lift. He’s mastered that gesture. “How long does he get?”

“Just one more season. Three at the most.”

So give yourself the gift to unfollow, and enjoy this freeing process. Unless it’s me – in which case I’ve probably hit the wrong key again. Just send me a tweet, and I’ll fix it.

And, purely in the interest of full disclosure, I did add Konrath and NASA back. Konrath can teach me a few things. And NASA – well. It turns out I missed the pretty pictures.

But Ellen – the next move’s on you.

2 thoughts on “Finding Mental Health on Twitter

  1. Loved this! I did the same thing with a few organizations and, coincidentally, a few Cardinals players although I did keep the Cards, DBacks, and Coyotes. I also miss NASA, Nat Geo, ….

    1. Bill – thank you 🙂 Sorry it took so long to get this up — I still haven’t gotten all the nuances of wordpress.

      Go Cards!

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