January 13, 2014 by Roe
You ever look at your Twitter feed and be like, “Oh my gosh. What should I care about first?”
It’s overwhelming, all the things that suddenly demand our attention.
Even this post, my blog in general – Here I am, demanding your attention for fear this should fall on deaf ears or blind eyes or ignorant minds.
And I think this recent weirdness, which is unavoidable with the advancement of the Internet and our growing understanding and reinvention of it, plays a role in preventing ourselves from finding out who we really are. At least that’s my perspective.
I’ve grown up with computers throughout a majority of my natural born life and it’s still this phenomenon that I find is always changing, a phenomenon everyone pretends to be so sure about and really has no idea, just a superficial knowledge.
I don’t know why I’m writing this. I don’t know what I’m complaining about. All I know is that I needed to put something out there to ease the tension in my mind. I’ve recently realized I need to be somewhat involved, if not constantly involved, in some sort of creative output. I’ve recently been getting frustrated with my primary output, music, because I feel it takes too long for me to get my ideas out and put them together. But more often than not, music has always been my therapeutic fallback, reliable through and through to quell the unease in my heart. Writing comes a close second. When I really feel moved by something and want to speak, words come easy to me. I can write or type things quickly and then have something to show for it within a reasonable amount of time. I haven’t delved into fiction in awhile, but I’ve been thinking of taking it back up again. Baking and cooking is also a favorite of mine. It’s a type of creation that relies on effort, skill, and feedback from the tasters, yourself included. Is this good? Do people like this? How can I do better? Do I like this? Am I proud of myself? Was this too easy? Too hard? Did you know Elliott Smith worked in a bakery for a time?
But to get back to the Internet – It’s this popularity contest, you see?
Sometimes I get into these writing modes and I just free write (with a PEN and pages of notebook PAPER!). But I can’t help but make it lyrical sometimes, even tossing in a more than a few rhymes. I think it could best be described as a stream of consciousness to what I’m feeling or what’s going on around me, but it’s too long to be a song. There is no verse or chorus or bridge. And I just go on for pages and pages with no end in sight until I tire out or resolve whatever inner conflict seems to be dwelling inside me. But anyway, one night I came up with this line that I remember just tumbling out of my pen: “Computers extend high school” and looking back, I just feel that’s so true. We’re constantly being updated with the intimate intricacies of people’s lives, rumors, gossip (whether it be personal or political), trivial pictures and videos, bombarded with news headlines that all start out as “BREAKING“, stupid .gifs, suddenly finding out I can stream ‘The Fox and the Hound’ illegally from YouTube, having my attention span broken again and again like I’m procrastinating a homework assignment I don’t even have. But what am I procrastinating? Life? Is that it? Is that what we all do when we reach for our phones perhaps like a smoker reaches for a cigarette? A alcoholic reaches for a drink? (etc) Have you ever tried to go a day without eating bread or just eating fruits and vegetables or no meat? Have you ever tried to go a day without looking at your phone? It’s hard! What is the defining factor of addiction? What bands am I supposed to be caring about? What shows am I supposed to be watching? Will there be a Buzzfeed article that will tell me, conveniently illustrated with reaction .gifs for every cleverly concocted line?
I never know what to look at first because I get so easily overwhelmed that I cannot care. That used to happen to me in high school a lot. I would get so overwhelmed and stressed with my workload that I would just say, “Fuck it,” and take my time doing would I could and if I couldn’t get to everything, “Fuck it,” and that was that. But that was high school and this is the rest of my life. See, and the kicker to all of this is there is no way you can cut any of this out of your life because this is the norm, this is the status quo. You have to be Internet savvy these days for jobs, networking, communicating. People are getting rid of their TVs, their house phones. This is the new hub of communication. Most of my icebreaking when meeting people well-known or otherwise has all gone down on Twitter. And now we’re back to square one: I am stuck in an endless cycle of social media, an information avalanche that I cannot break out of without destroying my online presence which since 2005 has sneakily become a part of who I am because it has influenced nearly everything I do and say. I would be a Luddite to protest the ingenuity of technology and to cower into the cave where our neanderthal ancestors once dwelled, disconnected from the 1s and 0s of our postmodern time.
I cannot live as a person unless I have some ball of electricity buzzing at my center. Perhaps what I’m describing is a transcendent sensation and words cannot do it justice, but for the time being that’s as accurate as I can describe it. That electrical light went out today for a few hours and I felt completely and utterly helpless. No direction to turn, nothing to do. TV is not satisfying, music is not satisfying, reading is not satisfying, menial housework is not satisfying, video games are a bore, it’s too much effort to do anything. I become unmotivated and stoic, begrudgingly sipping water and nursing this sore throat I currently have with tea and honey. If I were to drive, where would I go? If I were to purchase something with my slowly decreasing funds, what would I buy? I take no pleasure in obtaining material goods unless I have a proper use for them. I need a finish line in my life or I cannot not get up, will not get up. Call it purpose, the desire for experience, or whatever other name you see fit.
When it comes to the dreaded job search, I am overqualified or not experienced enough and when we are given the tempting promise of entrepreneurial life we know it is just fruit from The Tree of Knowledge – something forbidden we think tastes so sweet but is actually more trouble than it’s worth, at least to me. I feel restricted and tied. I am trying to make a sound but it’s as if I haven’t even opened my mouth.
This is 23-year-old me, struggling to make peace with my world around me and it’s hard. It’s confusing. I am trying to move forward, yet I feel like I’m just spinning in a circle. I am trying to get somewhere not knowing where that is, other than knowing it is somewhere other than here. Strange to think our time for “Coming of Age” has passed when I feel as though it hasn’t even begun.