I went through a phase of doing things on Facebook so that my ex could see that I was having fun.
Living life for an imagined reaction of someone who used to make me feel like the sun is the most messed up thing I’ve ever done.
However, I don’t think that it is possible these days to enjoy doing anything without being seen.
The kids I teach take selfies of themselves doing normal stuff like drinking a cup of tea, buying a bus ticket, doing a wee – because nothing counts these days any more unless your saying ‘look at me’- unless you are turning the mundane into celebrity. Unless you’re creating distance between imagined pixels and what you wish was reality.
Nowadays people write online that their dad has died.
People also click LIKE and then write ‘RIP hunny’ (insert emoji that looks sad).
My Dad has carried me on his shoulders for 28 years, and his hand makes mine feel lightning wrapped in skin. Our eyes are both green with bits of orange in, and I know I’m his best thing because he sees myself in him.
And if, when he dies, they click like, because they don’t have any kind of adequate cognitive apparatus, I am going to let pieces of me dissolve inside, and blame myself for writing a complex human tragedy into a simple Facebook status. And I’m sorry. But I don’t want to know what you’ve had for your tea. But I want you to know what you’ve had for mine.
So I’ll click like so that you click like and then we can all pretend that we are having a good time and a good life.
And this has become what we call evolution. We’ll sign a petition about Cecil the lion and share a photo of that dentist for lying and laugh at his demise.
But we don’t talk about the things that matter, because we are all signing a petition to get class C drugs legalised, demonise the immigrants, dehumanise the refugees, don’t forget to vote Tory, change your profile to a rainbow so that you can write yourself into someone else oppressive story, and at the same time that 12 people were shot in Paris, 500 girls went missing in Nigeria but that wasn’t on the BBC news page.
So we all said JE SUIS Charlie, and felt proud it was our profile picture for a couple of days.
And I am guilty too of all this mass nonsense. If you looked at my Facebook you would think I had the most wonderful life with the biggest smile.
I’m not going to post a picture of myself when I am eating cheese straight from the packet and watching Jeremy Kyle.
Don’t like it – PUT A FILTER ON IT. Turn up the saturation and instagram the hurt out of it – nobody needs to know do they?
They don’t need to know that all I have done today is felt my insides dissipate and slide away, so I will post a picture from another occasion.
But lately there is too much discrepancy between what is my real life and what I post about it online.
I have forgotten about how to be joyful about the things that aren’t mine where someone hasn’t clicked like.
I miss being bored. Like when you are a kid and you play games like how many times you can flip the tab on a coke can, and how long you can hold your breath for, and who can see the ten green cars first on the motorway.
Having nothing to do makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do.
I licked my cuts because my blood tasted good, like a coin, metallic, and true, and counted how many seconds I could sit next to you before you moved.
And I guess I am still bored but I am bored by other people, and maybe I just miss being bored of my own doing, of my own self, my own skin.
Maybe I miss knowing the map of my insides like it was an atlas of stars and planets I could grow old in.
Maybe I miss being me. And in my body there is no evolution, because I am too busy looking at what everyone is doing and yet still I do not leave. I do not grow. I do not stop going online even though I know it’s wrong.
I admit: I only do things so they look good online – I go to a museum and post a picture of a picture and wait for people to click like, so that my need to explore myself artistically is abated. I need people to know I’m pursuing culture to make me feel validated.
And if there’s no likes? Then maybe I think that museums and art aren’t for me.
I don’t know how to make my own happiness a private pursuit for me, so I go to bed and cry myself to sleep.
But not before I check in first – it’s easier to tag myself in bed than it is to tell people the monsters have crawled out underneath and into my mind.
Eventually, when I die people will say ‘her Facebook presence- what a homage’, and they won’t know it was a lie, a fake, a tell tale, a mirage.
That I was friends with you even though we had nothing in common and we disagree politically, but when we were fifteen you made me laugh and your mum always made me my best tea.
My mind is governed by emotions and it leans towards the nostalgic-
I don’t know you any more. And you don’t know me. But you remind me of being home and feeling safe and that means that I can’t cut you out, you see.
I’m friends with people for what they were, not for who they are.
And I’m about as far from happiness as I could ever be.
Until you click like and I feel your love coming back to me.
Until you click so I can be free.
My life is a capitalist tragedy of throwback Thursday’s and flashback Friday’s and happy humpdays.
I’m just lost looking for a way to tell you that I’m lonely.
That’s why I love other people – because I live my life through them instead of living from within.
I don’t know how to form into a better version of myself- I don’t know how to improve.
I’m the curator of a gallery of my life that’s the opposite of truth – and I post these pictures and I write these statuses to create distance between the fact that all I ever really think about is you – you. You.
Written by Bethany Rose