“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” William Shakespeare
Early in the Pandemic, I wrote a blog about those of you who were overwhelmed by how “well” many of your friends and acquaintances were doing. Those “Virtue Signaling” and “Humble Bragging” folks who seemed to have it all together. Many of you wondered how they could KNOW what to do and how to FEEL when the rest of us did not. I ventured an opinion that most did NOT have things under control but still wanted to give the appearance that they did. I had to convince several of my ChoralNet correspondents at the time no one could be doing that well under the circumstances we all found ourselves in.
Those of you who read Sondra’s* story last week on the blog may be wondering if she was one of those who gave the appearance of doing well on Social Media. As I was gathering material for today’s blog, we were corresponding about her story, and I made sure to ask. She assures me she was NOT doing well at the beginning of Lock Down and also assures me she was not one of those Social Media braggarts. Like many of us, it took her awhile to find her feet after some tough times.
Donica* admitted to me she WAS one of those people who bragged on Social Media about how well she was doing. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Her parents got COVID, and thankfully recovered, but their recoveries were not easy. Her spouse was laid off for six weeks. Her children were going to school via Zoom, and it didn’t go well. Her church choir was “put on hold” until further notice. She cried every morning and sobbed before she went to bed every night. Still, she bragged on Social Media how she was finding time to bake bread and study Latin. And jumped at the chance to scold folks who were struggling.
I asked Donica why she did what she did, and she told me it made her feel better about her own situation. She did bake bread and she did study Latin, so she wasn’t lying about those things, but didn’t share anything about her own struggles. After a while, she only shared what she deemed neutral, neither good nor bad, and stopped scolding. Donica said she no longer had the heart to berate her friends when she was having similar problems.
Winston* tells me he was truly doing well at the beginning of the Pandemic. Directing a large music program at a large church, after the first few weeks of uncertainty he was as busy as ever. His church had had a YouTube channel for quite a few years, so the only difference was he was playing and cantering instead of playing and directing the choirs. Clergy and participants were socially distanced with masks and the usual people filmed them. Things were about the same for him and said as much on his Social Media; he was not expecting the responses he got.
His friends and acquaintances berated him for his positivity. They said he was being mean by sharing what he was doing while others were struggling. Winston says that was never his intention. He had always shared what he was doing, whether positive or negative, and everything wasn’t all ‘peaches and cream’—and shared that too–even with him being able to do most of his job. So, he stopped posting. He lived his life, did his job and made it a point to look at his Social Media only once a week. And Winston tells me he’s happier than he’s been in years. He occasionally posts something benign or makes a comment (only positive!) on a friend’s post but that’s it. In fact, if Winston could get rid of his Social Media accounts he would but has many DM contacts he needs for his job. He doesn’t miss posting about his life AT ALL!
Until next week, be well and be safe.
I am not able to take my Choral Ethics Blogs to my chamber choir’s Facebook page today. Hope to see you again next week!