Just bitchin'

PTFD

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I was immersed in my addiction to a certain reality show where adults behave abominably and children are dragged through phenomenal amounts of pressure and public censure, when something occurred to me.

Social media has spawned new avenues for abusive behavior, causing the entities that pass and enforce laws to react. It’s an unforeseen and unfortunate cause-and-effect, but it begs a bigger question.

What will be the psychological consequences to those whose lives crest because of the hollow approbation provided by social media?

There are a lot of people surfing the wave of ‘fame’ birthed by reality TV and internet exposure.

For some it’s a flash in the pan. Their 15 minutes of recognition whether it be from trolling a finite event in the ‘real’ world, like a murder trial, or latching onto a celebrity who’ll allow them to tag along in the lukewarm world of Twitter or Instagram or any of the plethora of other ‘hit’-oriented apps.

Most of these relegate that need for attention to a minor place in their lives. It’s just a fun, little thing to pass the time.

But what about the children and, to a lesser extent, the adults who survive much more intensive exposure for years? What about the reality shows that foster their fantasies of being ‘stars,’ of being the centers of attention? And then…end.

There will be consequences to their psyches once their extended stay in the world of manufactured fame is over.

Maybe psychiatrists and psychologists have already explored this, but, from the comfortable environs of my anonymous armchair, I haven’t heard of it. So I made up my own name for it.

I call it Post Traumatic Fame Disorder.

It’s related to PTSD.

Both conditions are behavioral echoes of intense experiences. Both have power over how the sufferer reacts long after the underlying incident has ended.

Everyone has heard the cautionary tales of child stars who peak early. There have been enough of them who’ve plummeted from that first heady taste of fame into troubled lives once their celebrity fades. They trade it in for notoriety. Attention is the only antidote for the longing that’s been fostered within them. Doesn’t matter what kind.

And now reality TV and social media are duplicating that unhappy equation more than ever before.

It’ll be very interesting to see if, a decade or so from now, society will be suffering an epidemic of Post Traumatic Fame Disorder.

PTFD.

The wave of the future…

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Secrets

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I had a diary when I was a little girl.

It was a birthday present. It was pink with tiny gold fleur-de-lis marching across its leather cover in regimented rows that reminded me of button-tufting. Or ants. It had a tiny, gold lock. That could only be opened by a tinier, gold key. So that my deepest secrets might remain sacrosanct. So no one might read the horrors of which a twelve-year-old is capable.

Theft. Spiriting my big sister’s lipstick away so I could pretend I was as glamorous as she. Walking off shamelessly with the last blueberry crepe…and denying it later.

Lying. Oh, so many. From the aforementioned crepe caper, to saying school was okay when I detested its stultifying boredom and bullies, to claiming I didn’t mind that we moved so often I would never really have a peer group.

We twelve-year-olds are a hard-bitten lot. Dangerous. Skulking.

Secretive.

Hence, the diary.

It was the opposite of a blog. For my eyes only. No calculation of popularity based on ‘hits.’ The goal was to conceal, not reveal.

Cat-at-twelve still resides within. Or maybe I’ve just never progressed beyond being a precocious pre-teen with a large vocabulary born of being bookish, born of being lonely, born of moving every couple of years, born of a parent on the lam, born of bad decisions, born of another childhood that bred its own troubles.

Blogs are descendants of the diary, but their intent is the opposite. Blat out every facet of your life in hopes of being validated by being noticed. But have a care. The twelve-year-old is watching. So, no secrets revealed here. No quirks. No oddities. No tiny clues left that point to the pink, fleur-de-lis diary. Not a trace.

Really.

If I close my eyes, you can’t see her…

 

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