an essay about social media, introspection and telepathic connections brought on by the desperation of long distance.
When I was a young girl, up until I was about 17, I never spoke. I hid in closets to avoid family gatherings and carried books and journals around like they were the only possessions I had in the world. I lived in my head and read Shakespeare and Camus like they were my Bibles. My classmates constantly and comfortably told me I’d never fit in. I was too quiet, and I didn’t “talk like Black people.” Everyone was so matter-of- fact about my being weird and odd. Kids in my neighborhood confidently called me ugly (even though I never really thought I was). I knew the Hunchback of Notre Dame was ugly. I knew the Phantom of the Opera, the Elephant man and Frankenstein were ugly, I didn’t think I looked like any of them.
In my late teens, I was thrust into obtaining a personality, and later a persona for pure survival. After a series of rejections, and also a series of making very close friends, I was forced to make ends meat by throwing parties in arts districts. It was the only thing I could do that didn’t require a degree or much experience. I just needed an attractive personality. My imagination was already so potent and fanciful from my reading so many books that I could turn a room into a haven of any theme a person could muster up in their heads.
I was born to tell stories and to create worlds that would relieve people from the mundane claustrophobia of American life, but with that came great responsibility. The older I got, and the more I learned about life, the law, regulations, sex and social diplomacy, I found it important I not get trapped in the fantasy worlds and declarations I made for my job.
Sometimes, there is darkness and other times there is light. The intensity of life and my personal crusade to be authentic can bring turmoil though. Many who stand from afar appreciate my density, but up close, it can feel heavy and arduous, much like many things in life we try to keep private.
Being private in public, or being public in private takes a healthy dose of self awareness and will that should not be expected of others.
It’s getting harder and harder to hide our hearts and souls and some intellectuals speak about an awakening that is occurring in our generation. With social media, the emotional potency and public displays of private information has highlighted the pressures of social and emotional response. Love can be obtained through a screen, and telepathic connections must become realized as people struggle to maintain connections from thousands of miles away.
How does it feel? All in all, it is not much different than thousands of years that have occurred before 2014, we are all still souls living in bodies, and if you don’t believe that, maybe we can agree that there is something inside of us the moves us to generally interact. We don’t have to. We could do nothing, and not care, or give or love. Nonetheless, natural selection has become a bounty of self will and soulmates (if you believe in them) can be overlooked because their social profile is undesirable, or they don’t have the latest smart phone, the right blue jeans or understanding of micro-societal expectations and swagger.
How do we feel? Are we making the right choices as we’re driven by so many external synthetic forces? Is love pure anymore? And how sad is it that this question has to be asked? Maybe I am just guilty of exposing my own uncertainties about life, the technological revolution and all the problems I had when I was a young girl. Maybe no one else thinks about these things. I’m ok with that. No one should proclaim they have answers. Questions, though, I humbly believe we should have many of them.
art by: Jaison Cianelli