My Twitter Fast

I decided to give up all social media for four weeks. Pammy off Twitter. I know. It was a radical but very necessary step. Here is what I accomplished during that time:

  • 25000 words written on my new novel
  • Finished up my tenure as script editor on Muvhango. Cried buckets as Iíve been on the show for 13 years. But handed the editing over to the fabulous Nontu Magoxo and started working on a very new and exciting show with the most STUNNING writing team
  • Came up with the idea for another new show Ė watch this space
  • Started a new diet called Intermittent Fasting Ė basically I donít eat breakfast. Have lost a couple of kilos and feel great

And then there were the less tangible things. I could look at the jacaranda blossoms without feeling the urge to take a pic to post on Instagram. I could enjoy listening to my kids play at music concerts without having to record every second of it. In fact, at the Marimba festival we couldnít see the kids because of everyone holding up ipads and smart phones to record it. We wanted to be irritated but how could we when that used to be us. What do we do with all those hours and hours of footage? Must everything in our lives be recorded to have meaning? I still feel slightly panicky when I donít record my kids doing stuff. But Iím working through it.

Of course, it wasnít all jacaranda blossoms and music concerts. I also experienced extreme FOMO because I still looked at social media. I had to, itís part of my job. But it made a big difference not taking part. I canít say social media is evil. I personally have met some really wonderful people on Twitter. But it is addictive. And whatís the problem with an addiction? What starts off being fun and feeling wonderful, ends up feeling like a prison. Itís the difference between enjoying a glass of wine and drinking the whole bottle and staying up all night puking.

I realised that when tweeting started feeling like a job I wasnít being paid for and when my daughter was trying to speak to me and I said ďjust a minute, ange, I have to post this tweet.Ē - and not just once, over and over again Ė that my social media habit could be problematic. Plus it was making me feel like pure, unadulterated poo. I was anxious and depressed all the time. That probably sounds hilarious to anyone who follows my Twitter feed. I have a fabulous life, riiiiiight? Nope. My Twitter feed is curated to make you think that. Thatís the business of PR. To make things look desirable. Which is fine when things are going well. But when things are not going so well and the show must go on? Then you feel like a big, fat fraud presenting this false image to the world.

Donít get me wrong, there are many parts of my life that are wonderful. But some days itís not so wonderful, and I donít necessarily feel comfortable baring my soul on Twitter and telling everyone about the not so wonderful bits (I keep that for my fiction 😉). Which brings me toÖ

Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo campaign.

This is the good part of social media. Itís the part that I celebrate. Because it shines a light on all the bullshit and it makes us realise that we are not alone.

I have come across many Harvey Weinsteinís in South AfricaÖin academia, in the TV and film industry and even in publishing. Some of them have caused me great personal distress. (Iím not about to out them here so donít DM me asking to dish the dirt.) But hereís the thing Ė Iím not hoping they die a horrible death or even that their penises will shrivel up and fall off. Tempting as that thought may be.

No.

What I would like is for them to take responsibility, say ďI have a problemĒ and go and get help. And I hope they do it now before they have their Harvey Weinstein moment. Because they will. This kind of stuff doesnít stay hidden forever.

Their enablers should also take note. Thatís the part that probably shocks me the most. The men and women who are prepared to excuse and cover up for all these Harvey Weinsteins. Comments I have heard have included:

He says he didnít do it (Never mind that ten women said he did)

He has a wife and family and deserves a second chance (o-kay)

She knows what heís like, she shouldíve known better.

Thatís how men are.

And my favourite, regarding Reeva SteenkampÖ

She was just using him to advance her own career.

Apparently, that made it okay for him to kill her.

I know women who are so desperate to be one of the boys, they will happily throw their sisters under the bus. They say things like: get over it, because thatís how men are, not realising that when they do that, they not only do a disservice to women, but to men too. If we expect men to be these unfeeling slabs of toxic masculinity with uncontrollable urges, that means they never get to be vulnerable, to cry, to express pain, to be fully human. Iíve been incredibly moved by the men who have taken part in the #MeToo campaign and have spoken about the abuse they have suffered OR have admitted that they too have crossed the line.

I applaud them.

I applaud all of the women who have come right out and named their abusers.

But I also understand that other women donít feel ready or comfortable to do that.

I understand because I am one of them.

#MeToo