The Circle
Published in

The Circle

The t-shirt.

Image created using the amazing DreamStudio: https://beta.dreamstudio.ai

Been there, and got the t-shirt.

You went to see the band? Get the t-shirt.

Ticked off another Hard Rock Café, in an exotic location?

Visited the place, the mountain, the beach, the legendary landmark?

Take it home with you on your chest.

Be proud. If it is something in life that we may have worked hard for, connected emotionally with, ticked off our bucket list.

The by-product is that it is cool. It makes us feel cool.

We need that sometimes.

But.

Should it always be for the t-shirt?

A tag, a check-in, an airport, a bar. A comment during a TV show.

Everything is now the t-shirt, and we all speak the language of the t-shirt.

We wear it on our screens not our bodies. One hashtag size fits all.

The ubiquity of it is a wonderful thing. It is an opportunity to make communities, identities, and spread love like never before.

It makes us feel cool, and we need that sometimes.

Small t-shirt moments to let everyone know you were there. You were watching. That you loved it. That you felt good today.

It is still a wonderful thing, as long as the posture is right.

As long as we own it. That the thing is the thing.

The danger is when the posture changes.

When we become so obsessed with the t-shirt that we forget to live.

Or that we wear it with hate, not pride.

That we make connections but empty them of meaning. We watch, but we become so concerned about the display that we forget to see. We go to the gig, but we care more for the photo than the music.

That the thing is not the thing anymore.

That what we are saying is not what we are saying at all.

Did you comment on that post because it hit you in the heart? Did you engage because it is a relatable worldview? Were you listening? Do you love the band?

Or did you engage because of the attention it will give to you? Are you forcing yourself into the conversation for the exposure of the mob?

Was the only smile and the only dance that day when the phone was aloft or the video rolling?

Did you follow the likes or your values?

Did you post that picture because you were proud to have climbed that hill? Was the lighting good that day? Did you feel like your eyes were sparkling and your skin was clear?

Good on you, and be proud. Wear it on your chest and shout it from the top of the mountain. Celebrate with the friends that you cannot often see.

Or did you post it because of a reaction? Was it a message?

Were you hoping someone or a group would see it, and feel something? Perhaps regret, a slap in the face that shows what could have been.

Perhaps the pain of the subtext on subtext?

Our screens are amazing portals into communities through which we can discover ourselves, and realise that what we think is OK, no matter what those immediately around you might say.

They can be used to break prejudice, to celebrate diversity in all in forms and encourage inclusiveness and kindness.

But they can also be used to lash out, to bully and to boastfully put ourselves above others.

To drip poison on top of poison, and to oppress.

Our screens are an amazing way to gain the affirmation we need to be healthy of mind and confident in ourselves. They can help us to see ourselves in the same way that others see us in those moments where we cannot.

But they are also be used in weapons in the game of life. To get in our grills without asking, and let us know that we were not first, we are history, we are excluded. That this is what you could have had, if you’d tried harder or if you’d made a different choice that day.

That it is not you anymore.

The world is only going to get better, if we take back the essence of the t-shirt. Use it with the authenticity with which it was created.

Love ahead of likes. Community ahead of followers. Silence ahead of spite.

Type it out. Make a draft.

But before you send it into the yonder then ask yourself the hard question:

Am I trying to put my arms around the world, or am I throwing elbows?

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Ian McClellan

Ian McClellan

Writing for meditation. Reading to learn. Independent writer. Aspiring human.