Ode To Twitter
I felt the need to share little backstory of my experience thus far regarding none other than
I opened a Twitter account in 2013 after taking my son to a Texas Ranger baseball game! I was given tickets from my boss, great seats, on the 2nd row, between the dug-out and 1st base. It was a perfect night, a fantastic game, and the best little mommy/son night that neither of us will ever forget!
At one point during the game, I checked my phone (in 2013, I was still full-throttle into the Facebook scene – which is no longer the case… more on that some other time), and my FB notifications were blowing up. Screenshots, exclamations(!!), friends I hadn’t seen or heard from in years, all coming out of the woodwork to comment, send random friend requests, and ‘like’ something tagged on my Facebook timeline.
Ends up- my son and I had our big TV debut at the Ranger game! Equating to anyone I’ve ever met or known in my entire life, becoming SO excited that they all began texting, Facebooking, etc., at the same time!
My son and I were very excited too! We couldn’t believe we were on TV!
I then noticed that a screenshot of my son and I had even been posted on a social media platform that I had never really ‘taken to.’ This platform was- you guessed it, TWITTER!
Of course, I created an account, so I could see who commended the cameraman (@tweetgrubes) on his “great work that night” (with a screenshot of my son and me). It was at that moment @JillyTweets was born. Thank you, Billy Bird (@bgbird1016), because I would’ve never guessed all those years ago what a difference Twitter would eventually end up making in my life!
I don’t think I logged on again after the initial excitement wore off and the exchange of tweets between Billy & @tweetgrubes simmered down.
FAST FORWARD TO 2020
My life has changed significantly since that day in 2013 when I first opened my Twitter account!
The job I had while that provided those tickets to the Ranger game has long since been left in the dust & I am now working on my Masters Degree in Clinical/Mental Health Counseling. I am halfway through my school program, and in September, I felt the urge to begin advocating in hopes of spreading awareness while also gaining more in-depth insight into the mental health field in general. But how…?
That’s when it hit me- I need to give Twitter a try -a real shot- and I thought that maybe I could gain a platform and be heard. In my heart, I wanted that so badly! (and still do!)
Twitter, though, is not as easy as just logging on/tweeting/and BAM- instant following– (hahaha!!!🤣) --- 🚫 NO 🙅🏼♀-- It does not work that way! 🚫 ---Not even close---‼️
So, I had dusted off my old Twitter account, after years of it remaining untouched, only to discover that it was HARD 😫 and- no one cared about what I was saying! 😄 Were people even seeing my tweets?🤔 Are my posts being posted to some alien realm where no one even views them? 🤷🏼♀️ I was perplexed by how Twitter worked. I had no idea how to gain a following to make even SOME kind of a difference. I continued posting, though, for the most part, I received very little interaction, I still didn’t give up. The content on Twitter was interesting to read, and little by little, I was gaining a few followers here and there.
I logged back into my Twitter in September. I had a handful of followers (and when I say a handful, I mean a handful- maybe 12 people including my original follower, Billy! @bgbird1016 – who is STILL a loyal follower and encourager to this day, by the way!)
Now, here we are, in January, and I am nearing 800 followers. Still not the most in the world, but wow, just typing that number just now gave me such a feeling of happiness, warmth, and purpose.
I’ve come to realize it is not just the number (or “quantity”) of followers that I have gained in these past few months that matters- it’s the QUALITY of the people that I have come to know, not just “followers” but as my friends.
In a million years, I never could have predicted what a positive impact Twitter would have on my own mental health, well-being, and subsequently-- my life. If it weren’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t even be sitting here writing this blog post right now! I wouldn’t have talked to some of the most interesting people I’ve ever known, heard their stories, and shared my own too! I would never have been so motivated, supported, encouraged, or accepted by such an incredible community of people who are all connected on such a deep level-- even without meeting face-to-face.
To know that this world exists. This home away from home. This mass of people who have shared their struggles, allowed me to share my own, helped me without realizing it, and who are grateful to me and kind enough to say I am the one making a difference- still blows me away.
I feel like I found a secret place where it is SO freeing, and never in a million years did I know I would talk to so many people (with ADHD, especially) and laugh because every single word is so relatable and FINALLY validating. I am not alone.
A little over four months ago, I felt more alone than ever- I was desperately missing an element in my life. COVID hit everyone so hard and in so many different ways- for me, it was my family and implementation of social distancing and mask-wearing. I haven’t seen my siblings or their children in nearly a year, even though most of them live within 15 minutes of me (and I’m the youngest of 7 children!). Not seeing my parents, though, has been the hardest. I went from seeing them 3-4 times a week to only seeing them four times since March of 2020 (2 of those times hugs were allowed, with masks, of course).
As silly as it sounds- I needed Twitter and what it has ultimately become for me, which is a gigantic group of friends that mean more to me than words could ever possibly say.
To each of you reading this right now, please know that you have helped me more than I could ever put into words. You truly are friends. Mental health is such a big deal, and it is truly unreal to me that the stigma still exists and that conversations regarding how we’re feeling and the effects of possible diagnoses. We’re talking about it, though!
I promise you all that one day, I will make a difference for you. For us. I want to make waves for every person I have come to know on Twitter, break stigmas, and create immense change. This is just the beginning. 🙌🏼 💓 😍
Stay mental, my friends -because no matter what anyone may say- You. Are. Perfect.
Just the way you are!
~ Jilly ~