We Don’t Need a Stick Man’s Approval!
I’ll admit it: when I saw my first This is Bill meme earlier this month, I laughed. It was something about people’s appalling spelling mistakes on Facebook, and Bill had it spot on. But as 2016 kicked in, Bill’s Facebook followers grew as quickly as his passively aggressive head. His view of the world and holier-than-thou ideology was suddenly being splashed all over my news feed by friends who appeared to have lost their minds and joined some kind of brainwashed cult… unable to think for themselves. In other words, the novelty very quickly wore off!
Bill is jealous.
And Bill is the perfect mask for the green-eyed monster in all of us:
“This is Bill. Bill likes to travel. Bill doesn’t check in on Facebook every single place he visits. Bill is smart. Be like Bill.”
Perhaps it was merely a coincidence? But when I came home from a weekend away in a beautiful part of the Mediterranean – and yes, I had been the ultimate ‘rebel without a cause’ in Bill’s eyes, cos check me out, I’d posted 3 tantalisingly gorgeous photos of sunsets and jacuzzis – I spotted a flurry of memes posted by friends screaming out Bill’s mantra above!
Now I know, I know these (probably) weren’t targeted at me. I get it. There are people out there who don’t feel the need to share every part of their lives with their social media buds; people who regard the very act of a public holiday pic as showing off/attention seeking/a mission to evoke envy.
But I am not one of those people. I am ME. I am gloriously ME. And in my world I love to share beautiful things. That’s it. I have no hidden ‘look at me!’ agenda. I simply love to inspire and let others into the ‘secret’ that is the hidden gem I have just discovered.
In this case it was a fabulously quaint but luxurious bargain hotel on the Costa del Sol with mountain views, an indoor pool to ourselves as it was low season – and all just a stone’s throw from the beach.
I get excited at such moments. I get so excited that oh, what a crime, I feel the need to shout it out from the rooftops ‘READ ALL ABOUT IT!’ style, and spread the magnificent word. To mute myself during such a moment of joy would be the complete antithesis of my personality.
And just because there might be somebody scrolling down my news feed feeling a little pissed off at the weather in their backyard/time of year/their ‘lot’ in life, tough. I am not going to stop being ME to accommodate the smallness or negativity in anyone.
Which could probably be better worded…
What I mean is this: I am not flaming Bill. I am ME. And I wouldn’t want to be Bob or Bianca either. Me is who I am, it’s what I do best. I am an open person, story-teller, up-lifter, travel fanatic and lover of golden sunsets… as well as cake.
When positive things happen – which in this miracle minded lady’s world is pretty much every day – and when the universe shows me something awesome, I am going to share it with my own personal universe. If YOU don’t like it, well, scroll on by my friend and read something else that’s more up your street. But don’t attempt to thwart my joy.
Don’t be like Bill and try to dim another’s light. It ain’t happening. You’ll just make me all the more determined to focus on the good stuff… and that will annoy you even more.
This doesn’t mean I can’t empathise with others who are going through crap…
I understand all too well that we can’t always be in that shiny happy place 24/7. We are human after all. Emotions play an important part in our playground known as life. But yesterday (particularly after a hard couple of weeks of grieving during the 7 year anniversary period of the death of my baby), I chose to get back to my happy place. So don’t try to shoot me down if that doesn’t fit your mood.
Last week, understandably, my mood was blue.
But according to Bill, I didn’t have permission to go there either:
“This is Bill. Bill is feeling sad today but Bill does not post a status about it on Facebook with ‘Angel Stacy and 69 others’ because he has an actual working brain. Bill is smart. Be like Bill.”
Well, listen up, ‘cos I have news for you, Bill!
As a bereaved mum I can assure you that social media – Facebook in particular – has smashed the taboo that was stillbirth worldwide, making incredible changes to healthcare, treatment and acknowledgement of bereaved parents’ rights.
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg’s creation has helped myself and many of my friends – who continue to grieve for their children – keep our friendships and moral support for one another ALIVE.
Do not judge another human being until you have walked a mile in their shoes, Bill.
You have no idea how, at times, being able to BE who we are and tell the world we’re sad can save us from reaching for the bottle… or something stronger. Our right to express ourselves at such times is a veritable lifeline. We live in an age where we are consciously aware of the importance of not bottling things up. You only need to study suicide statistics in January. And if we choose to cry for help via Facebook in this digital age, we will. Mantras like yours are cruel, uneducated and ridiculously out of touch.
Let all of us BE.
I have friends who ‘overshare’ news stories, negativity, the world’s plights and fights and struggles; friends who love the sensationalism of scaremongering about the latest diseases (depressing).
I have friends who post pictures of quinoa salad and sugar-free, paleo, ‘clean’ stem ginger biscuits (boring), sanded down doors and backyard decking (yawn) and yet another pic of their cats/dogs/baby doing something incredible… (usually) solely in their eyes as parents.
If I’m honest, most of the above doesn’t excite me. But it is an important part of each of those individual’s characteristics. And I love their uniqueness, their sense of self. Even if it is not the kind of self I would choose for MYself.
I would never make a parody template via Bill’s bloody Facebook page (or wherever else one can obtain these things) to pledge my allegiances to the Sanctimonious Git. I mean Bill. It’s as cowardly as custard. Because if you have something to say, you should have the courage and tenacity to say it without getting the stick man to do your dirty work.
Or better still, let all others create and live the lives they want to live and get on with making your own more interesting. Perhaps then you’ll feel inspired to share something exciting on social media too.
Bill isn’t God.
But Bill IS Big Brother undercover. And some of us have fallen for him hard. Like a religion you could say. What started out as a little fun and games has become a method of showering the world with our disdain and contempt for people and their quirks. Bill is the shit stirring fly in the ointment of a ‘friend’. You know… the ‘yeah but’ of the party, raining down on everyone’s parade, keeping everyone in their box. Lid firmly on. Expressionism dead.
Bill is boring.
I think us Glass House Girls would love nothing more than to drag Bill into our cocktail bar, make him drink every homespun creation on the list and implore him to get a personality, get kooky, get weird. Get a bloody life. Who in their right mind aspires to be Bill? Bill is greyer than grey, a typical fence sitter, the ultimate guarder of the comfort zone and all things stiff upper lipped. Bill is the warning to all of us that THIS IS WHO YOU BECOME WHEN YOU STOP BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF, BASE YOUR LIFE ON THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS AND IGNORE THE CALLING OF YOUR SOUL. I suppose we can be thankful to the stick man for that much.
“This is Bill. Bill doesn’t take pictures of his meals and whatever he eats and posts them on Facebook, because he knows – nobody cares. Bill is smart. Be like Bill.”
Wrong: sharing inspirational photos of what we eat is part of what makes the world go round. It’s a veritable showcase of variety, the spice of life. It’s uplifting others who are on special diets, all out of creativity in the kitchen and in need of a green light to go cheer themselves up by baking a big fat Lemon Drizzle cake infused with rosemary.
“This is Bill. Bill sees it’s raining outside. Bill doesn’t post it on Facebook because he knows his friends also have eyes. Bill is smart. Be like Bill.”
Disagree BIG time: some of THE most awesomely gorgeous displays of nature I have seen recently have been the wonder that is New York in the snow. Shut up, Bill! My friends and family live on every continent of the planet, our micro climates couldn’t be more unique. Of course I want to know about them.
So far from being a smart arse, Bill…
You’re actually doing yourself out of a job. These memes of yours are SO limiting. What can we do, Bill? What will you let us say, be, have and share? Everything is off limits in Bill Land it seems.
You got too greedy too soon.
Too big for your judgmental boots. There’s no thought, no ripple of goodwill behind your words – a sure fire sign they won’t last, fizzling back into the nothingness from whence they came. All you do is feed the dreariness of the banal, the meaningless and the mundane.
Sorry mate, but you’ll never outwit the age of enlightenment!