Unedited 2: Social media, jealousy, and typing with a sprained finger
I’m on my lunch break from work, it’s raining cats and dogs outside and I haven’t washed my hair in four days. I have a sprained pinky so I’m typing with nine fingers. This morning I watched way more SNL clips on youtube than I should’ve. Then I logged on to Facebook.
The first thing you should know here is that I have a very strange relationship to Facebook, which I will now stop capitalizing because capitalizing uses the pinkie that is sprained. I’m on facebook more than anyone you know.
Actually, let’s only capitalize what we need to, and pause for a second while i take an advil.
So i’m on facebook, and i see that a high school classmate has been published in the NYT in the modern love column and of course, i mean, of course i read it.
and it’s very good.
i’m not necessarily surprised by that i mean, many people who i have gone to school with are smart and talented and funny and probably many of them can write good essays and probably many of them will have things published — writing or photos or academic papers or whatever — and they’ll deserve it.
but every time i see someone succeeding — people i love, people i care about, people i dont know at all and dont care about (here ive abandoned the apostrophe because thats also a pinky key), people i want very intimately to succeed, people who i legitimately forgot even existed — every time i feel that horrible burning inside
that insidious little voice that says youre not doing enough, you never will, youre not talented enough or smart enough or funny enough and youll never stop being too anxious to allow yourself to even try to be any of those things.
that stupid kickback that fastwards my entire life into a preemptive retrospect of producing nothing, being nothing, feeling nothing ive done has been good enough
i reject platitudes about having a positive impact on peoples lives. what do other people matter
i am unable to determine whether my own work has merit without others and yet you say you create to alleviate the crushing feeling inside of yourself that never goes away,
and yet you ask what other people matter while breathing in the pure oxygen of their praise
i reject being told that im still young and i still have plenty of time to make things and to do things and to explore the world, half because im convinced that i will die before i have the chance to do those things and half because i know that every day that goes past is another day that i didnt do anything towards making that happen and the longer that keeps going the less likely it is that any future me is able to do anything at all
I don’t want to talk about why i feel this way. I don’t want to use my years of academic training to pick apart cultural symbols and ideas and threads of human emotion to tell people that it’s okay to feel this way and that you don’t need to and that you can take a break from facebook and that you can be honest with people (i am) and tell them how you feel (i dont) and that anyway success is a huge construct, a cog in the capitalist machi-
there i go. the rhetoric is soothing, but i dont need to spit it back out because its a salve not a solution.
I don’t need to feel like i’ve swallowed battery acid, but i do. i don’t need to wake up every morning at 4 AM but i do. i dont need to pretend that everything is fine and i dont have an absolutely huge complex about not being as good as other people, but i do.
I wish that time didn’t exist. I wish i had never met a single other human. I wish all cars would just stop in the middle of the road and never start again. I wish that i could rip pages out of myself and throw them in the fire and close the book. I wish i liked green apples but i think they’re too sour. I wish i brushed my teeth every night before bed like I’m supposed to. I wish that i could unzip my body and forget about the atmosphere. I wish I had never gotten sick and anxious. I wish i didnt think that getting sick and anxious had made me a better writer. I wish that my only talent was to be able to plunge my hands into a block of clay and rip out a tiny earthen heart.