Social Media: The Wild Frenemy

Social media is wild, absolutely wild. It’s a force of nature that we treat as the annoying storm that never passes, but really, it’s a waking tsunami filled with inspiration, motivation, and community. It’s indubitably the ceaseless war between left and right, positivity and negativity; it’s your side, my side, yet is it ever the truth? Social media has the power to grow the smallest of feats and the ability to take down even the strongest of foundations.

Social media is everyone’s frenemy.

It’s that person you keep close to you out of fear of what will happen when out of sight, it’s the person that sometimes when you let your guard down with them you find they’re actually not that bad, but it’s also the person that you do let your guard down with… and it’s exactly what you expected: your words get twisted and shared, your meaning lost, and your venting rant falls into the ears of a snake, it’s now something that can never be erased… the way others view you now tainted.

I grew up in a weird transitioning stage of technology. My first phone was a Cingular flip phone, with no camera, I had a trove of VHS tapes, portable DVD players were the shit, and I got a Facebook when I was in sixth grade (2006) then a Myspace the following year – oh, was my mom mad about the socials.

In these early years of social media and multimedia messaging, parents and teachers alike were quick to preach to us all, “What you post and what you text lives on the internet forever, be careful!” As we grew up, ‘be careful’s morphed into, “Your job looks at your social media as much as they look at your resume, think about your future!”

So, I’ll say it again – social media is wild.

It has single-handedly fired up civil rights movements, kept these movements relevant, and it’s created community. Everyone can find a community on social media, they can learn about causes they never even knew to care about, they can find an account to follow with the right inspiration they’ve been looking for. Across the board between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, the limit does not exist with how you can shape, reshape, and reshape again, what your feed and what your personal brand looks like.

If you feel your socials are one note, or too political, or too this, or too that… change up your algorithm.

Go through the accounts you follow, the people you’re friends with, and follow/unfollow – get things off your feed that don’t bring you happiness, advance your knowledge, or aid in personal growth.

Instagram was an easy cleanse – I unfollowed a lot of the random meme accounts and celebrities and then asked myself what I wanted to see, what I needed to see, during moments throughout the day when I take my IG scroll breaks. Do I want to see what food people are eating? Or how about the same dumb meme with knock-knock-joke level humor shared one million times across like 10 accounts? Heck, no! I wanted some finer scrolling content, thank you.

I wanted quality, inspirational, powerful content. After each scroll break, I wanted to feel rejuvenated and ready to take back on the world. I wanted girl power content, I wanted spiritual content, astrology out the ass content… I followed accounts like The Female Hustlers, Black Female Therapists, Oh That Witch Again, and Taurus Scopez.

With Facebook, I felt a bit more conflicted on how to cleanse as I’m not typically one to randomly delete people – which is the standard way to cleanse these days. I generally feel that deleting people isn’t really erasing the problem, and I also think it’s important to try to put yourself in other’s shoes whenever possible. So by not deleting people, I get to do this, attempt to somehow see the world through their eyes – what they come across on their timeline, decidedly resonate with, and then go as far as to share onto their own platform… it says a lot about them. What one shares on social media is very telling about how they are as a person.

FYI this is me lowkey admitting that I psychoanalyze what most everyone posts 😉

Ultimately, my Facebook solution was to actively go through and make sure I was following, like actively going to profiles and hitting the follow button, those friends who have a good rep in terms of posting a wide range of content. My second solution was to find private groups to join. My top favorite groups that keep my Facebook feed filled with Grade A quality content are The Solo Female Traveler Network and Road to 100 Countries. Both pages keep my feed adequately filled with people’s personal travel stories, their tips, and overall inspo to get out, travel, face any fears and knock down any barriers.

So as wild as social media is, I think we must face that it’s something you can’t really ignore or pretend doesn’t matter in this day and age. You just can’t. So, take this frenemy by the horns and own it – make it what you want, because while you can’t ignore it, you can certainly tell it what to do.

. . .

Side note – with a post about social media I feel I should throw in that I hope you’re following PKC on Instagram & Facebook 🙂

Making a Drag Queen: Euphoria MarxxX

Who is Euphoria MarxxX? A millennial drag queen that’s ready to shake up the political world? Most definitely. Someone ready to question the norms of society and how we view politics? Absolutely.

I met Kyle/Euphoria nearly four years ago while we were still bright-eyed, bushy-tailed seniors in college, studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. We connected quickly thanks to our shared midwestern roots and a dark sense of humor that could make anyone squirm. We reconnected over zoom this week to trace the path from Aix to drag. This is her story.


Part One: Studying Abroad

B: What made you want to study abroad?
E: I really always wanted to. I wanted to study abroad in high school, but I thought that if I went then that I’d miss out on something. (Hello FOMO!) Look how great that turned out for me! When I went to college, I thought that maybe it was the best time. I pursued a Bachelor of Arts which required 12 hours of a foreign language. I decided my sophomore year that I would complete the entire requirement in one semester abroad. I’d taken french in high school so I knew I wanted to go somewhere french speaking. It worked out perfectly.

B: What was that experience like for you?
E: It was amazing – I want to go back so badly. There were obviously ups and downs, but overall it was such an amazing and life changing experience. It was culturally enlightening, we built friendships and had this whole experience together that no one else but our group had. We picked up our lives, moved across the world for six months, became friends for six months and then moved back to the States. It’s such a weird concept.

B: What about a favorite or least favorite memory?
E: I loved going out with our group in general. I loved going out and experiencing that social environment of living in a different country where everyone is speaking another language. It was definitely a culture shock. I loved our spring break trip – that will always be at the top of the list [read more about that here and here]. Except Bruxelles – nothing good happened there. As for least favorite, I once got on a bus to Bordeaux and our friend didn’t make it in time; I was horrified. I didn’t have any internet connection or a working cell phone, thinking ‘what am I going to do?’. I was honestly afraid that I’d go to this city and never make it back home.

B: If you could do it again, what would you change?
E: I would say that I’d want to go out and experience life more, but I feel like we did so much of that. We were always getting Crêpe à Go Go or pizza from Pizza Capri in town. I wish I would have stayed longer. I only stayed a week or two after classes were done so that I could be home to walk at graduation. If you’re thinking of about studying abroad, just do it. Don’t think about it. Figure out how to make it work and do it. It was such a liberating experience, even with the shitty parts I loved it. I look back on it so fondly now.

B: What was it like returning to Missouri after studying abroad?
E: I was going through a sort of transformation as a human being while studying abroad, I think. Right before leaving to study abroad, I was dealing with the death of my grandpa, the break up of my engagement and my ex’s mother passing so I was dealing with a lot emotionally. When I came back from studying abroad, I hadn’t really dealt with any of it yet, so it was a weird time. Within a year of coming home, I came out as gay. Around this time I started having a rift with my family because of their political views and homophobia. I decided to not deal with that sort of view or attitude in my life anymore. After I graduated college, I lived at home for maybe a month and then found a new place to live and moved out. That was one of the best decisions I’ve made, but coming back home was definitely hard.

B: How did your life/perspective change after studying abroad?
E: Studying abroad definitely made me a more liberated human. I felt like more of an adult, like I could adapt or figure out anything I put my mind to. I felt like we were in such precarious situations sometimes and we would just figure it out – even with the language barrier. We were kicked off the bus on the side of a mountain and still made it home. I think that when I came home I decided that I wasn’t going to settle for unhappiness anymore. Had I not studied abroad, I truly believe it would have taken me longer to come to terms with who I am. 


Part Two: Center Stage

B: When did you first become interested in drag?
E: I didn’t become truly interested in drag until February of this year. When the pandemic hit, my boyfriend Josh had just moved in with me and he’d always tried to get me to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. Watching the show really changed my perception of what drag is. I saw how revolutionary it was and how it questions the gender binary. For me, I had never been able to express femininity and this was an outlet for me to explore that. It started off as kind of a joke – just doing it for fun. But I really didn’t want to half ass something, so I started spending more time practicing it. I started to think, ‘Ok, what can I do with this? I’m in quarantine, but how can I still reach people?’. That’s when I started exploring the idea of political drag. Drag queens have always been the torchbearers for political revolution, especially for the LGBTQ community. They were the ones who stood up to the police at Stonewall and they’re the reason we celebrate pride and it’s so important today to not forget that. I started thinking of how I could still contribute to this political movement, even while social distancing. I decided that I’m going to interview political members while in drag. I want my community, the community I’m surrounded with, to appreciate this as an art form of it. It’s creative.

B: How does it feel to be doing drag in such an intense political climate?
E: It’s given me some anxiety for sure. Even just by announcing to the world that this is what I’m doing, I’m obviously alienating myself from people who may not agree with this. I have to keep reminding myself, ‘what am I doing this for?’. I want to question the norm and I want people to do that as well. It’s very liberating but also a little bit scary.

B: Does the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race give you any extra security – knowing that drag is in such a public space now?
E: I do think it helps. RuPaul has said numerous times on the show that the world would be a better place if more people did drag, and I believe that. She also says don’t take yourself too seriously. In this interview the runway is executive realness. I’m wearing six inch stripper heels, a vibrator necklace and there’s an eggplant emoji in the background. It is so ridiculous. That’s what I have to remind myself; not to take myself too seriously which is something I do often.

B: Who are your drag influences?
E: One of my all time favorites – despite her diva moment – is Alaska Thunderf**k 5000. Then it’d be Naomi Smalls, Kim-Chi, Katya Zamolodchikova and Violet Chachki. The first season I watched was season 4, which was in 2012. One of the challenges on the show was to do a presidential campaign, running as the first drag queen of the United States. So many of the contestants said, “I just don’t associate drag with politics”. To me, everything about drag is political. Everything. 

B: What is the future of Euphoria – what is the end goal?
E: Right now, I’m trying to not set expectations. I think that’s something that gave me a lot of anxiety when I first started. When I went public with this, it was ‘oh now there’s an expectation’. My ultimate goal would be to inspire or to empower anyone that I can. I’ve had one person reach out about me going public with my drag saying that it empowered them to start experimenting with drag which is amazing. At the end of the day, that’s what I want. I think our social media presence is more impactful than people realize – I didn’t realize it until this experience. 

Follow along on Euphoria MarxxX’s journey on Instagram

Watch her first political interview with 2020 Candidate for Congress Maite Salazar