Compare and Despair,

This morning I made the mistake of logging into facebook. If you talk to me on the regular, you know that I have paused using social media for a spell. I mostly use instagram, but after posting something very personal and the lack of response from my “friends” I decided that social media is for the superficial (and not much for me).

In a world of selfies and narcissism, it is easy to think you deserve attention and praise. You will want to hear this, but you do not deserve a bunch of attention just because you want it. What people do not realise is that while they are posting their lives on Facebook, there is a psychological burden that their audience may face. Fact is, they probably do not care and neither should you. Their success is not your failure. Their success is their success and your success is your success. Please understand that getting a bunch of likes on Facebook or Instagram does not constitute happiness. Sure you will be pretty cheery about it for a while, but then you will crave more likes and more attention once that has worn off. The cycle never ends. (I try to) Focus instead on being successful in your own way as opposed to the way that will get likes.

It is a single still photograph of a single moment. In the background a lot of darker things are probably going on in their lives. Everyone is struggling with something, but their way of coping with it may be different from yours.

When I use social media daily, my depression is constant. I do not think that, “I am consumed with existential dread” makes for a good status update. And faking cheerfulness feels even more painful. I do not crave the validation like some do. I tend to prefer my interactions to be one-on-one and without a camera documenting my every angle. I understand that we are all different, neither of these is more right than the other. It is just a matter of what makes you happy.

I get into trouble when I take my eyes off my own path and look over at someone else’s. I immediately get sucked into comparing and despairing, and lose all sense of groundedness, of being anchored to my life. If I want to have any sense of self-esteem, I have to pull my gaze off the social media streams and place it firmly back on my life.

We have all shifted from being observers to being reporters. When something cool is happening we are not looking at or listening to it, we are tweeting about it or taking pictures of it for our Facebook or texting people who are not there. This is like a blah blah participatory shared whatever but it also means that we operate in a perpetual state of divided attention.

The addicting + reinforcing behaviour is nauseating. Random notifications and the endless flow of information on our feeds stimulate the production of two main chemical rewards – dopamine and oxytocin. When we post, comment, like, or share, and receive the same in return, our oxytocin levels rise and we feel more connected, included, and happy. The stimulation of social media not only makes us feel good but leaves us wanting more.

 

 

better in person

there is a chicken making those guttural clucking noises in my garden. even in this dream-state, I know this makes no sense. I roll out of bed to peer out the window. my investigation grants me two points: one, I am clearly not in Flatåsen. two, my neighbour is a babe.

said babe neighbour is trying to coax this angry poultry back into his yard. he is ginger-y in hair colour and I remember thinking, “hrm, he looks a bit like something from a Finnish fairytale”. this chicken is not having any of his instruction. the humour I am having from this hen-chase seems unfair. I pull on my dress and go outside to lend a hand.

“she’s molting”, he tells me when I get close. I nod in some sort of agreement and kneel down to greet the bird.

she does not know what to make of me, so she makes a few noises and walks in the opposite direction – and right into my neighbour’s arms.

he calls her something that sounds bratty and waves to me as he leaves my garden. I opted to sit on the ground and flop on my back to stare at the sky. he returns a few minutes later to introduce himself. I asked him what bus he took (I think my rational self was trying to understand how he lived so near to me & I never noticed him). I am not sure that he understood my question. we sat on the grass and at muffins and spoke about nothing and everything.

(I know there was more but thais is all I can remember)

the mockingbird

I have just finished watching the third episode of Netflix’s “I Am a Killer”.  The murderer’s name is Justin Dickens. He was 17 years old in 1994 when he took the life of a school teacher whilst robbing a pawn shop. He tells you his version of events, then the prosecutor comes on screen to tell you what he thinks happened.

Even though three separate people agree that Justin’s version of events was what happened, the prosecutor still managed to convince a jury that Justin deserved to be put on death row. I will not get into the details of the crime. It is fucking awful that a man lost his life in such a senseless way. The words I feel the need to express are for Justin AND NOT IN DEFENCE OF MURDER, okay?

Make no mistake, Justin was a punk. He was raised by shitty, drug-addicted people. As a default, we as humans seek out love and recognition. Unfortunately, he found another drug-addicted criminal who fit that bill.

We look for what is comfortable, even if we know it is bad for us.

What gutted me about this episode was the part that he says (responding to a word of forgiveness from his victim’s daughter), “I know I’m not worth nothing, but thank you”.

 

 

 

Every single one of us has some worth.

NO ONE IS WORTHLESS.

Shows like this makes me realise how “lucky” I truly am. I have the same backstory as a lot of these men. I grew up  in a neglected environment where the emotional and physical abuse was fierce. I was lied to and lied about so often that I began to believe that I was the embodiment of these falsehoods. I WAS a thief because something went missing. Of course it was me! It did not matter if I denied any wrong-doing. No one would believe me. I was a horrible kid that did horrible things.

I was never defended. Even if I was not around, I was guilty of what ever crime was committed.

I could be sitting on death row with any of these people.

I am sitting here, bawling at how unfair life is. The real criminals here are the parents that chose drugs/alcohol over raising their babies. WE WERE JUST KIDS, YOU ASSHOLES. We did not ask to be born. We deserved to be loved and cherished. And the people that enabled them should be punished as well.

 

 

v a r s e l

(we opened the third bottle of wine with a bit less ease (but more enthusiasm!) then the two before. Elände played in the background. S threw a pearl d12 across the wooden floor. I picked it up and tossed it back to him. He said, “Melinda, it is not a baseball. Roll it, don’t throw it”. I smirked and continued to write. J rubbed the top of my head like I was a kitten. I wished I knew how to purr. He wiggled his toes (that I was sitting on) and I laughed. I pushed back into his legs and closed my eyes.

Echo & the Bunnymen came on. We sang along (J a bit mockingly). S had completed a corner of his puzzle/art and questioned me about some book I did not read. He had lit a small aluminium grill with something that sparkled. We ate sausages and granny smith apples with our fingers.

J had a row of very black charcoals that he was drawing with. Some of the paper was white, some was opaque. The finished products looked more like photographs than drawings. His fingers were covered in soot and he left evidence everywhere he went (I had black fingerprints on pages of my notebook, my face, my shoulder & the side of my knee (?).

We smoked, heavily & played record after record. The sun was always up or it was always dark (I do not recall). J + I went outdoors to collect items for S. I found silvery moths that would fly in the dark and if I blinked, they became monarchs in the sunlight. I wore no shoes. The grass was mossy and soft. I hear uproarious laughter from the window. I lifted my head to the sound and smiled. The conversation indoors became drunken chatter & I wondered who S was talking to (and what was so funny). J might have wondered the same thing. I lost track of him for a moment but I knew he was near-by, I could feel him.

He came up behind me and tightly embraced me. I closed my eyes and I could hear the fluttering of tiny, luminescence wings.

He spun me around and did something that felt like dancing. My pockets were full of earthen trinkets for S. I clinked as I moved.

I emptied my pockets on the table S was working at. He touched my elbow, nodded, and continued on. His nonplus expression was made of bone + glass + wood + magazine/periodical clippings. It was random, confusing and elegant.

I asked them their opinions about Ishiguro, chaos magic, Timur & INXS. I am unsure what their responses were but S thought Timur should have stayed out of Persia.)

 

buttercream rx

These past days have been dreary. I have no source of my melancholia. It just drapes over me like a wool poncho in 32 degree heat. I try to shake it off but it always settles back in place.

Something has changed. It is delicate & minute, but I can sense the shift. I want to be excited. I am just not able to rouse any positive feelings. I long for laughter and bright whilst I leak monochrome out of every pore.

I had a nasty hospital trip that left me deflated. They can find new problems to which a solution is not clear.

I just want to be held and stroked and told that everything will be alright.

I will settle for a cupcake.