What did we do before the internet overwhelmed our lives? For a moment there, I could not even remember…. But then images of real human interaction rushed back to me. A time when I touched and felt emotions. Now the only person whose emotions I taste, is my mother’s because I see her almost every other day. I cannot count the number of times I have typed ‘LOL’ when I did not feel the least bit amused. Nowadays, it’s most likely that I use it for emphasis of disbelief or sarcasm actually.
A few months ago, I questioned God’s existence( that is a story for another day). However, picture yourself in a state of self-pity, when you have convinced yourself that though there are bigger problems in the world, surely yours ranks immediately after those. Then in an effort to seek just a few moments’ peace in which your mind can momentarily stop thinking, you log into your Facebook. Pause. Pictures and posts of bliss fill your timeline.
Wapi. Don’t lie to yourself. You will not be mature enough not to question what sins you committed that this happiness evades you. Well, maybe you will. But, I wasn’t. This got me thinking, of all my Facebook friends(I have close to 430), less than 5 of them ever expose their weaknesses; I mean moments of failure or sadness or vulnerability. All I ever see is what I will now christen ‘GLORY ME’ moments. Pictures of moments of walking barefoot with a backdrop of the setting sun over a crystal blue lake. Sounds like a picture-perfect moment, doesn’t it? Well, that is what we have turned into, human-beings who choreograph their lives into perfect Instagram frames. Human-beings who document their lives and reduce them into snap-chat memories.
Do not get me wrong, the camera was made for a reason. It is not bad to document fun-filled moments. But ‘riyaleh’ I think you should do what the Baganda call ‘okusosola’…. keep some, show some. It is a healthy balance. Do not let us know all about what you are doing, lest you encourage that kidnapper who has been ‘eye-ing’ for a healthy ransom. Well, the camera it might be assumed should ideally capture moments when we are at our best.
So, why dwell on sadness you might think? Why flee the gruesome reality that life might sometimes be, only to find solace in social media and post about more of the ugliness of the world? But what really makes us human? Is it hiding how we feel even when we are sad? You are entitled to how you feel; such that it should be okay if you decide to expose a little bit of your insecurities and vulnerabilities. I thought, this is what social media is about; a reflection albeit hazy sometimes of who you are, and I don’t think we are happy all the time. Well, at least I know I sometimes aren’t.
This is why I have come to appreciate the page ‘Humans Of New York.’ I love that it reminds me that children have the best imaginations ever, reminding me of when I once dreamt of running Paris and London fashion runways (despite my short stature and eczema filled skin). I also love seeing people who have gone through odds to achieve something that would ordinarily be taken for granted, but for the story behind it, reflected in the smiles that resonate even to the eyes. But I especially connect more to the struggles that the profiled people share. It reveals a little bit more of who they are. It reveals more of humanity; that we fall and rise and rise and fall. So with this ever rising trend of showing only successful times on social media, this page affirms to me that there is nothing wrong with me. That my feelings are not socially awkward.
I affirmed the adage that « silence is golden » yesterday in a Whatsapp group conversation. There was an argument going on mainly between two people. However funny it was, my attention wasn’t really gripped. However, a phrase trapped it, such that it has been rolling about across the edges of my mind; « someone said this on twitter… » . There’s nothing wrong with anything being said on twitter except that this statement was being used as a reference. Again, this statement was not educational, it was just what it was; a statement made with emotion invalidating another’s opinion.
I swear, I wanted to cry; is this what we have become? Using phrases that ridicule another’s opinion because we have somewhat of an internet presence and hence it’s our sought after word against theirs? That we look to the internet for validation only to ridicule? But maybe, I’m over thinking things. Building mounds out of miniatures of dust. After all, a 20 year old girl does not understand things of the world. Well, let me crawl back to my abyss of thoughts.