Social media surrounds us entirely, even right now I am writing this piece to specifically share all over social media. But why? Why am I so driven by this need to impress each and every individual that clicks onto my page; whether it’s Facebook or any other site? Is it because of the instantaneous praise I get from a “like” or even a confirmation of my appearance if I get a positive praise-filled “comment?” Sure, it’s probably both of those reasons and so much more.
Digging down into the heart of the matter reveals that I want to perform, I want to take my life and make it into something interesting for you all to watch and most importantly something I want to experience. Viewing me from the third person is a unique experience. Right out there on any social media platform, I can see what you think of me, my writing, my ideas, my thoughts, anything I put out for consumption. Don’t have to guess, or worry, or hope to hear some gossip. No, it’s right out there and I like it. So I continue to perform, to show the world I’m happy just for the “comment” we all seek that gives us confirmation that our life has meaning. But why do we only feel comfortable sharing “happy," why is praise so dependent upon only one emotion out of a whole spectrum of emotions that are just as valid?
I live with mental illness that leaves me conflicted on social media. I want to convey my thoughts and emotions, but people don’t respond to real life events, only the ones that they are comfortable talking about. I mention suicide and the world goes silent, but just a moment ago the conversation was flowing fast about what Kim K wore at the Grammy's. The constant entertainment is what we all strive for but finding each and every piece of our lives as interesting as the next, soon it becomes so mediocre that a picture of an organized desk gets more attention than the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Open your eyes and realize that you are wearing the top hat 24/7 instead of taking that intermission and focusing on yourself, focusing on the person you WANT to be. All the Pinterest boards in the world won’t give you the satisfaction of actually going out there and doing the task, all the Vines you watch about traveling won’t do anything but waste the time you could be looking for affordable tickets to said place, all the complaining tweets you put on Twitter won’t solve the underlying problem of why you want to put out that negative energy.
What I’m trying to say, as cliché as it sounds, is to go out and live your life regardless of the performance you have scheduled at 8:00 in the morning every single day. Take some pictures for yourself, not to share but to keep scattered in your underwear drawer. Say something complementing or meaningful to a stranger not for the story to go viral but for a random act of kindness for someone who may or may not need it. Life is not a performance but an experience, in other words, we were not born to perform and impress others but to inhale life deeply and experience what others have to offer so we too can grow.