Addicts have addictive personalities –we are more likely to develop an additional obsession to the one we have. While I could make a wager on having a high-heel fixation –I believe my true second addiction is Gmail.
If I roughly estimated how many times I check my Gmail on a daily basis –it’d probably be close to 75 or more. It’s always up at work, although I set my Gchat status to “Busy” (with the cute little color-coded buttons!). I often will chat with someone via Gchat, read other people’s “Buzz” updates, and every time I see I have a new email –I seriously get excited. I always anticipate getting an important, urgent, or fascinating email that delivers incredible news. I’m not exactly sure what email I think I’ll be getting –but my eagerness never dwindles.
I actually check Gmail before I even check Facebook and I have five accounts –my personal, one for ChickSpeak, one for the ChickSpeak assistant, one for my day job, and one for this blog. I don’t check each of them every single day –but at least once a week. I love all of the features and I think you’d be crazy (or born before 1980) to use any other platform other then Gmail (A little promotional maybe, but if Google sponsors me, I’d be game).
So you can imagine my despair when I woke up Tuesday morning to discover my personal Gmail account had been spammed. Someone or something (not exactly who “they” represents who hacks into accounts) sent a spam link to over 500 people from my name. This doesn’t only include my address book –but basically anyone I’ve ever sent any email to: possible employers, those I worked with at Cosmopolitan or Seventeen and my current job, family, friends, Craigslist postings, and the list goes on and on.
After waking up at the very last alarm at 7:30 with only an hour to spare before having to catch the train –I quickly needed to send out an email to all of those addresses before they woke up to click on the link. As I composed the email warning people not to open the last email from me because it was spam and could potentially cause damage to their computer –I started to wonder about what “spam” exactly is.
Yes, it’s some sort of meat (maybe) concoction that crazy people find tasty, but as defined by Wikipedia (my generation’s Encyclopedia), it’s the “use of electronic systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.”
Think about it: spam infiltrates our computers or our email accounts –both of which are near-and-dear to our hearts, holding all sorts of personal information and proposes the risk of damaging everything we determine has value.
But what about our minds?
I’d say that’s a pretty important part of our bodies. Even though it’s valuable, holds all of our personal information –we send spam through it each and every day. And we allow it to travel throughout our systems –causing possible destruction to our hearts, minds, and overall well-being.
I realized how much my thoughts control my mood, my attitude, my walk, my talk, my concentration, my organization, my eating habits, my stamina, my motivation…my everything.
And every single day –I send out consistent spam through my thoughts. I started paying attention to some of the language I use as a thought-spammer: “It’s just not going to happen for you. Others are meant for love, you’re not.” “You’re not as pretty as she is. Or as skinny. Your skin isn’t as clear either.” “You’re working for a business magazine –is that what you moved to New York for?” “A guy like that wouldn’t like you.” “You need to run more.” “You’re going to be single forever. You’re meant to walk home from my gym alone every single night.”
My Gmail gets spammed once in the four years I’ve had the account and I sincerely freak out. I spam myself daily –and I never took note of my negativity. No wonder I obsess or I feel awful or down on myself. No wonder I think poorly of how I look, how I handle things, or how I act. No wonder I feel the need to be validated by a man’s love to make me feel important, worthy, or beautiful.
So what if (this is a good “what if”, no worries) I decided to start notifying myself of the spam going on in my head? What if, when a bad thought goes through my head –instead of listening to it, opening it, and allowing it to filter through my mind –I mentally “emailed” myself to warn me of buying into the spam? What if I sent out a message similar to the one I sent to all of my contacts that said “Warning: having this thought over and over again will cause you to be sad, angry, depressed, and lonely. It will infect your entire system and outlook –so under no circumstances, do not listen to it. By the way, we haven’t caught up recently, Linds, what’s good and new with you?”
What if I fought my “thought spam” as diligently as I fought my email spam?
Self-defeating, negative, and obsessive single-hating spam has no place in my mind, in my Gmail, or in my life. No archiving, no labeling, no Gchatting with it, or replying to its antics. No storing it for later use when I have a bad day that yields to peanut butter and tears. No filling up the account to its maximum capacity with repetitive notions that serve absolutely no purpose and clog up other outgoing thoughts.
The only way to handle thought spam is by just deleting. And then emptying the trash to make room for better things to anticipate and get ridiculously excited for.