Updated: Aug 17
We never chose the world we’re born into. We’re powerless to the game and subject to the rules. And that’s sometimes how I feel about social media. I never wanted to be absorbed into my world through a miniature screen, yet here we are and this is where I exist. It’s a portal that delivers you into the whole world, yet at the same time confines you to a tiny box.
When Silence is Easier than Speaking
The pandemic at its peak in April 2020, was one of the highlights of my life. I flew back to the United States on the last flight out of Argentina, where I was working as a travel writer and photographer. I lost my job, moved back in with my parents and became absorbed with just being present. All my brothers were home and I felt like a kid again. I was liberated from responsibility. I didn’t have to do anything, didn’t have to be anywhere, didn’t have to see anyone.
But, the seperation offered only platform of connection: the digital stratosphere, and as the months wore on, of loneliness and isolation, I became more consumed in it’s web. The worst of it was the George Floyd murder, which anyone who witnessed will never forget. Rolling over, waking from a restful night’s sleep, swiping through my phone, and seeing that video. Surely if there is pain in social media, there is also power.
Just as it became easier during the pandemic for me to do nothing, so did it seem easier for me to be silent than speak up. Or to convince myself that by posting online, I was doing something, when it didn’t have any impact at all.
The Social Media Paradox
Thus was born the social media paradox: I am connected, standing up, speaking out.
The reality: I am alone, sitting on the couch, silently typing into the void.
And as I swim through the sea of chiseled toros, face-tuned selfies, and ads I never wanted, I find it for hard to ignore that something wants me to be unhappy. The same way politics has divided us, convincing us that fellow friends are immoral enemies, it’s apparent to me that someone’s money machine is feeding off my pain. Mark Zuckerberg will earn $100,000 by the time you finish reading this post.
Powerless as I feel, I, like you, crave to be seen, heard, shared, and liked. Yet an algorithmic robot decides my fate if I’m cool or not.
“There are thousands of voices out there and why would anyone listen to mine” said the voice in my head. “You should be like everybody else, you’re not good enough, not handsome enough, not creative enough, not outgoing enough.”
I Am Not My Thoughts
The more I tried to create for likes, the less I created what I liked.
The more I tried to fit in with everybody else, the less I became myself.
The more I tried to satisfy everybody else, the less I satisfied myself.
And the truth is I’m one of the most handsome, creative and outgoing people I know, but something doesn’t want me to see that.
Your mind is not telling you the truth. You are not your thoughts.
The wound is the place where the light enters you. -Rumi