The irony of this blog post is not lost on me. I will write these words and then sync this post with my facebook in the hopes of it being read. In the hopes that my thoughts and experiences are not as meaningless as I often fear they are and that I can be heard and am not alone. I think I understand why humanity is becoming simultaneously more voyeuristic and exhibitionistic…we’re terribly lonely. These are terribly lonely times. And while I appreciate social media and the internet for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings and read the thoughts and feelings of people I would otherwise not have the privilege of meeting…I often wonder if it is good for us. Some studies suggest it is not and I tend to agree. Though I stay on these sites and have gotten quite a lot out of them I worry that I am harming myself or that the constant stream of information is overwhelming my easily overwhelmed self. But I’ve always loved to write and my ego wishes that it be read…so here I am. I am a contradiction. I be you are too.
I decided to write about this because someone posted a video (on facebook) of a little girl singing in a flea market. This little girl had soul pouring out of brown pigtails and a yellow sun dress. She was just so natural and in the moment the way only children can be. Suddenly, I felt very sad; please don’t invite her on your show Oprah or Ellen I thought. Because fame, especially when earned in childhood seems to beat the soul out of many people. It commodifies that which really can not be quantified, the beauty of expression. Is it a desire to be seen that drives so many artists to addictions? When you spend so much time trying to speak a truth and it is met with dollars (or not) rather than connection and understanding…can that lead to despair? If you can get both great, but fame elevates a person to unnatural heights and they can get so high that most people can’t touch them anymore. It seems like an easy place to get lost. I witnessed this first hand (though on a much smaller scale) in the Fall and the speed with which this person transformed into a ghost was astonishing. It takes someone who is incredibly grounded and really knows themselves to tolerate such a gaze.
And so many of us crave fame in a way that I find frightening. We’ve turned the ghosts on our screens into prophets and do our best to emulate them. It doesn’t seem to matter if we lose our dignity in the process one just has to watch three minutes of reality television to understand that. I suppose I really wrote this because it makes me melancholy and sitting with it is painful. I don’t want to live in a world where we turn little girls into objects that can be sold so that executives can make obscene amounts of money and then convince other little girls that they can only be happy if they too become objects. I also struggle to be alone with my thoughts because it is scary and sometimes feels downright icky and really if I didn’t want to I would never have to.
I’m not trying to say that we should go back because well, it isn’t possible and social media is an incredible tool. I just think it is important to acknowledge its potential for destruction especially when combined with what I see as flawed societal values and how necessary it is to always evaluate what and why we are doing things. I for one am trying to spend less time staring at screens because I am realizing that I use them to numb myself and I’m working on this tolerating feelings business. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for listening.