My conflicted (though not at all original) relationship with social media

Considering the current…climate (yeah, let’s go with that), I’ve been thinking a lot about social media, much to my disgust. I’ve been a passive and sporadic user of Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube and Facebook for years and have tried my hand on Twitter a couple of times, only to find that the site terrifies me more than anything else.

Here’s the thing, the internet does kind of scare me. I’m so far from a knowledge base of how it all works, but from what I’ve seen, read and heard, the ways we consume, share and critique content is having some frankly gross effects on our public discourse.

/slides on tin foil hat.

Two weeks ago I turned to consider social media on a strictly personal level, realising that the way I used Facebook, in particular, was incredibly mindless and passive. My Facebook experience, often used via the phone app while waiting for a bus, was nothing more than an endless scroll through other peoples drivel, a surplus of news content and freakishly tailored advertisements. Whats more is that I rarely shared anything of my own, as I didn’t see the worth in contributing. Indeed, whenever the topic of Facebook came up in conversation, I’d only have something negative to say about the site. So really, why was I on it?

I deactivated my account in a sort of experiment to test how much I missed using it, arriving at the conclusion that I really don’t. I still have the messenger app, so people can reach me that way if they so desire. Yet, in the absence of my profile, friends have been opting to text me.

The only negative is that I missed out on a more timely event invitation to cousin’s first birthday. At the end of the day though, birthday’s are a much older concept than a facebook event. I will survive.

I’m ignoring and oversimplifying the grand problems of the social internet, I know. Regardless, I’ve decided that I’m only going to use the platforms that I actually enjoy using (groundbreaking). I don’t want social media to be a necessity. I don’t believe it has to be. I enjoy my blog, my Tumblr and the photos of the handful of people I follow on Instagram. I’ll seek out and actively read the news, critically. Really, it shouldn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

As I look back on my history of using social media and consider my past experiences (specifically as a teenager, which is something I may write about in future), I’m forced to confront that most of it came out of expectation rather than me seeking out what I wanted to consume and interact with. To me, that’s a loss of autonomy, but one I can easily reclaim.

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Morning 1/1/18

Eight is one of my favourite numbers. I’m not altogether sure why, but the fact that it is must mean there was once a reason for it. So while the logic, the explanation, is lost, I know it’s somewhere, existing, and I can attach meaning to it, the number eight.

Wanting a year to be good is strange. 2017 was not easy, difficult indeed, but in its complexity, I found parts of me I thought were gone. A “good” year feels dull to request in the wake of such intense experience and personal progress. You’ll forgive me for not being specific. Some truths can only be felt anyway. While I’d like to think my words carry weight and the ability to convey what I feel, much of this still feels new and not yet cemented, or ingrained. I’ve laid firm foundations and started to build. That was 2017.

So 2018, what will this new year bring? At this stage, I only know what is certain, the basics; work and university.

Now I can feel possibility, flounder in excitement for the yet-to-be-decided. The unknown is far more exciting when you feel it from a place of security. Unexpected opportunities presented themselves at the tail end of last year, I can only hope that this weird, terrifying, upward spiral continues.

What 2017 taught me is that it’s all ambiguous. And that’s more than okay.

***

To return to the here and now. Linear time is overrated and not something I fear that much anymore, privileged I am as a 20-something.

I slept in this morning. Woke up feeling too hot for comfort. Threw open my window and breathed in the familiar scent of my neighbourhood; trees, warm bitumen, fading humidity.

What I’m saying is that it’s all good. The number eight will mean everything if I want it too, or nothing at all.

 

Happy new year, everyone! Here’s to another year of incomprehensible rambling and mutilated writing. All the very best. 

Cliché

Though I grow,
only so within the parameters of my soul. A prescribed disposition, a certain reflection, I paint it all in grey, with black and white precision.

That is not how I see the world,

How then?

Do we make noise when we sleepwalk

into corners
inches,
inches, confined,

limited. Muted. In that famed song of self.
Brown hair. Hazel eyes. Average height. Build me up.

I always think about the description they’d give me if I went missing. Or got Lost.

Elsewhere. Out of mind. Out of sight.

Out of self.

When to let go?

It’s 36 degrees Celsius today and I’m spending my day off indoors with Netflix and airconditioning. However, now that I’ve reached a pause for the first time in a fortnight, I’m subsequently left with some thoughts, feelings and ultimately decisions that I need to confront.

Something that I have always struggled with is making the call of when to hold on to something or someone or when to let go. I always sit somewhere between head and heart when it comes to decisions, aware that I don’t want to fall too far on either side of that spectrum. Yet, I’ve always been a person of strong reactions and opinions. I have, like most people, a ‘gut’ reaction. But when that instinct renders a negative response to a person or situation, I’m not always sure where to proceed with that information. Fight or flight, wait and see, ignore or deal? What is the right thing to do? Here is where my head comes into play, desperately trying to see the logical and responsible path, one that may not necessarily correlate to what my heart wants, or what my gut thinks is right.

It’s like walking a tightrope, trying to balance the two on either side. No, it’s more like being the scales. Yes, that’s how it feels, as though I have to embody the balance. I can feel the weight on either end. I’m stuck, standing still, not moving forward in either direction.

I suppose having control is not always easy. Though, it’s those moments in life where we don’t have it, that we crave it.

Either way, do I let go? Move on?
Stay?

The most likely option is to let myself be pushed to the edge. If only I can bear to look below, knowing that I could fall.

Small Worry

I fear that I have always been small, obsessed with taking up as little space as possible.
My shy girl persona threw me into the deep end. High school. Though whatever splash I made, no one noticed. The dramatics of teenagehood extend well into our twenties. Or is the drama only me? My fingers fumbling on keys in stretch for metaphor. Finding the space between experience and present has grown so much the stretch leaves marks on your stomach. The acne scars that occupy my jawline are a constellation of anything but stars and hope. They frame a mouth that kept silent, sealed itself against whispers that slithered in between the pages of whatever novel I was reading. Time heals all wounds except these, and many others you’d find if you looked in the mirror long enough. Rolled tartan skirts above knees, mine brushing shins. Fingers wanting to find her’s. Laced. 3:20 bell. Rings. A headache and cramps and the powdery taste of paracetamol and fear for tomorrow on my tongue. A basketball hitting the pavement. Handball. Her turn. Switch on, and off, but they keep the light on, over you, a surgical lamp, examining, manipulating, updating, live, real-time in a new-world yearbook. Log off. Cousins over for lunch. Things are going well. Tinsel on the tree. A new year calling my name. I reverberate down the halls. Fading out, out, smaller and smaller. Fading white to black to reunion.

A Slip of Scissors: Flash fiction

tumblr_l5iwqhm6sJ1qbsxopo1_400I sat, sticking to a stool in the middle of our cramped kitchen. The scent of boiled vegetables on the stove saturated the summer air while I fidgeted nervously, fearing the end result of a bi-annual haircut. I wanted nothing more than to join the shrieking, playful cries of my younger sisters outside. Continue reading A Slip of Scissors: Flash fiction