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Illustration by Talia Barnes

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” — Hermann Hesse

Arrogance attends an office get-together and forgets a name tag. How do you know who he is?

Chances are, he’s talking. Loudly, emphatically and with an air of certainty to as many people as will listen. Maybe he’s discussing event-planning “best practices” and describing how this one could be improved with a more elaborate crudité display (yes, it would kill him to call it a vegetable platter). …


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Illustration by Talia Barnes

“Opened your mind, filled it with bullshit/Locked up your heart, without even knowing it/Must be a sign, the days that we’re living in/Preoccupied, and nobody’s hiding it.”

-Mac DeMarco

I think I’m going through a validation detox. I removed the Instagram app from my phone a couple of weeks ago (along with all social media apps besides YouTube) and at first I felt fine, but now I just don’t know what to do with myself.

Without anyone commenting or favoriting, making art feels hollow, empty and narcissistic. I don’t have any clear goals or objectives that seem inherently worthwhile. My usual hobbies and pastimes seem insignificant and pointless when I don’t share them with anyone. When a tree falls in the woods and no one’s there to hear it, it doesn’t make a sound, but it definitely cries a lot.

To top it off, I’ve filled in the gaps of my aimlessness with copious news and commentary consumption. As a result, I’m consumed with the desire to save the world from itself. As I watch America descend into chaos and people devolve into their worst selves (on screens, not in my own surroundings), I’m filled with the prerequisite rage, despair and dread, yet feel that anything I would or could do with my personal abilities is unwanted, irrelevant or redundant. Exhibiting a steady combination of outrage and self-doubt makes me a real asset to humanity and an absolute pleasure to be around. …


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Illustrations by Talia Barnes

I hold two ideal me’s in my mind.

Me number one is a Zen Master.

She is reclusive: blissfully disconnected from social media, the rat race, and the trifles of modern society. She exudes a quiet serenity that comes only from a life of uninterrupted contemplation. She has read Walden cover-to-cover multiple times, without once expressing exasperation or fatigue. She doesn’t have a very good sense of humor.

Me number two is a Woke Warrior.

She has firm, unwavering convictions and is not afraid to express them across all mediums. She is a tireless content-consumer and creator who knows what is up because she actively informs it. She regularly contributes thoughtful and well-reasoned commentary on the news of the day and un-ironically calls herself an “influencer”. …


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Illustration by Talia Barnes

My office held a blood drive today. My initial thought was that this was a good opportunity to help two humans with one…needle (?): one, a person that I don’t know, who would benefit physically from my blood donation; two, me, aka someone very squeamish who would benefit psychologically from doing something uncomfortable. I got as far as the information table.

I didn’t know the needle stays in for ten minutes.

As someone who counts every second while getting blood drawn, the thought of a needle existing in my arm for ten whole minutes made the act of just sitting there seem impossible to bear. Yes, to me, the thought of just sitting there with a needle in my arm was even more unbearable than being forced to confront the fact that I’m a 24-year-old baby. …

About

Talia Barnes

Multimedia artist and writer, sometimes at the same time. Casually pondering the meaning of life. Learn more at http://taliabarnes.com

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