Train in Vein


Over the past couple of weeks, what with the holidays and getting rather slammed at work, I inadvertently weaned myself from the web a little. I also got a few negative comments about my last article, so honestly I had to regroup a bit. People can be mean on the internet! See, I’m only mean in real life – I don’t understand being internet mean. Isn’t the internet where we can pretend to be a sparkly, bubbly and charismatic people? I need that after stress, tension and doom and gloom at work all day.

So anyway, I was a little surprised by how little I missed the internet. I didn’t miss email, I didn’t miss texting, I certainly haven’t missed talking on the phone since around 2000 and I didn’t miss Twitter. I don’t even need to say I didn’t miss Facebook, do I? Well, I didn’t. I didn’t miss hearing about how far people run every day, how amazing their babies are, how they are soooo domestic or just how they are somehow better than I am?

Usually Twitter makes me laugh and I can feel like I am “with” my friends and sharing jokes with them. It also makes me feel a little empty, because I am not actually with my friends. I feel pressure to think “cool” things, and my head should be my personal safe space where nothing can be wrong or uncool, no? Twitter also makes me feel uncool and left out sometimes. As you probably inferred from above, I am sensitive!

So the question is, am I too sensitive and insecure for cyberspace? I mean, if I ever made a YouTube video or put up a picture and got some of those comments… Well, I would take a long walk off a short pier, if you know what I mean.

I truly have a thick skin in real life. I can take just about anything. After being called an “F**king moron” regularly and being called out on any and everything you don’t do perfectly (including reading minds) in residency, there isn’t much you can’t take. Nor is there much that your can’t stand up for yourself about. I literally make life or death decisions, I talk with angry and scared patients, I deliver and receive terrible news and I interact with bullying and condescending doctors (yes, they treat me that way too sometimes). No problem. It’s what I am trained to do.

With the distance and anonymity involved, one would think I would be even LESS sensitive with stuff online. Not the case for me. I am more sensitive, because it’s surprisingly more personal for me. It’s not something I have trained to do with robotic precision- it’s just me. I don’t have reasons or science behind everything I say online, and it makes me vulnerable. But you know what? It’s damn good for me. It’s good for anyone to try to express their self in a new way.

I don’t know what to do with all of this. I guess there’s a price to pay for putting yourself out there. I’ve connected with amazing people, gotten loads of inspiration, sparked my curiosity and you challenged myself with doing something new. I guess I just need to make sure I stay interested in and protective of my self. I also have tremendous respect for the artists and entertainers that DO put themselves out there, every single day. It’s brave, it’s generous, it’s amazing. I thank them for their talent and, more importantly, for their bravery.

Much love, safety and health to all of you in this New Year! And let’s be nice, okay? At least on the internet? Thanks for reading. Until next week…

Image from Shutterstock

  • Elle Perreault

    Hi Alexandra! Sorry to hear people’ve been so mean! I’m a big believer of using the internet to connect with people and to spout my many ramblings on of my daily life because you never know who you’re going to meet or who’s life you’ll touch in a positive way. Try to think of all the positive things people say and to smurf with the rest of them. (LOL sorry kids made me watch the smurfs movie recently)
    Some people are just plain mean. Keep sharing! You’re good at it!

  • Jennifer Showalter

    I am totally like you!! I feel worse about myself every time I look at what my old school mates are doing. Oh the baby, oh I just fisinshed my 20th marathon , oh I am so wonderfully, perfectly happy. I’ve decided to stop looking at peoples pics. I am really happy for them but I have to stop comparing my life with theirs. The other thing is that if nobody answers or “likes” my posts I get really upset. I mean, I answer theirs. Then the paranoia starts. Oh, I’m boring, everyone thinks I’m a geek.. Um, HELLO, I haven’t cared about that stuff since High School!!! Why care about it now?!!! I think I should just cancel Facebook, get rid of my computer AND cell phone and return to the halcyon days of disconnectedness. I’ll write you a letter to let you know how it goes.

  • Liz Haebe

    People find it so easy to be mean when they’re hiding behind a keyboard. I don’t understand why anyone goes out of their way to bash someone online, but won’t do it to their face. The internet can be rough. And, I agree about unplugging sometimes. Also, when you unplug, sometimes, you stop going to certain sites that would be a timesucker anyway when you realize you don’t miss it.

    Hang in there Alexandra! The ones who love your articles and what you have to say will continue coming back as long as you keep writing them!

  • Penelope Dawn

    Hahaha you’re very right about Twitter. Although I LOVE IT. But I also love to get away from it sometimes. My kids can’t change their own diapers. My knitting projects don’t finish themselves.

  • Victoria Wolf

    I love reading your articles! I still like Facebook, and I don’t see myself deleting my profile anytime soon, but I have found a pretty good way to deal with the insecurities it can trigger. If one of my friends consistently posts things that makes me feel jealous or depressed about my own life, I un-subscribe from their updates. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them and that I don’t wish them happiness, it just means for the time being I have to focus on my own happiness without making comparisons. After a few weeks without reading their updates in my newsfeed, I’ll re-visit their profile, and normally by then I have a little better perspective and can be happy for all their accomplishments.

  • Cathy Cepeda

    The pressures of twitter is so horrible and I get you. I don’t understand why you received negative comments on the previous post about being a doctor I respect you and your career there’s no need for negativity! I unsubscribe frequently from updates as well, love from miami :)

  • Leslie Sabin

    I never, ever comment (and actually almost didn’t when I realized I had to do it through Facebook, my lurking instinct is so strong). However, I felt compelled to tell you that when I saw there was a new article from you, I actually said out loud to my cat “oh good, I love Alexandra’s articles!” I had to go back and reread your last post, and I still couldn’t figure out why there would be negativity about it.

  • Zelina Garza

    I love your posts and don’t see why people feel the need to be rude. It’s easier over the net than in real life and I think that’s why people do it because they can but it is so NOT cool.

  • Elisabeth Miller

    I agree that comments on the internet can sometimes hurt more than those in real life. I’ve recently stopped spending as much time on the computer because I know that it contributes to feeling down. It’s nice to be a little more focused on reality. Also, I love your posts:)

  • Miranda Robertson

    Why were they negative about your articles?? Yours are my favourite!

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