The house is quiet and I sit alone at my desk. This kind of solitude is rare in my life these days, with a nearly one-year-old and a full house of in-laws. I’m not even sure what to do with myself in the quietude. This past year I have distanced more than ever from who I used to be. Lately, I’ve been remembering myself from my first marriage. I spent a lot of time alone then, too. But I also had a lot of weed, and Tumblr, and internet friends. It felt so easy to pour my heart out to strangers. Every passing depressive or happy thought would leave my fingers onto keyboard, effortlessly. Now I struggle to connect vowels and consonants, struggle to find words.
I’ve stopped sharing my details on social media lately, but without any sort of grandeur or exit. This mini-experiment has shown me something we all know in the back of our heads — nobody cares. Nobody notices, really. They don’t. You can slowly drift away from the watchful eyes of Facebook and Instagram; The gap in their feeds will only be filled with something else. Of course, this hurts our egos. This is why we announce our own exiting, to make yet another ordeal of things. And lately, life has felt like a series of self-advertised ordeals, nothing more. It has been exhausting for me to watch.
I’ve learned that if I don’t share the details of my life, nobody comes to ask. Social media seems more and more like a long list of cries to be seen, valued, and loved, the longer I scroll and double tap. The primitive human desire of acceptance is ever present, evolved into new heights. This has pushed me further away from it all, in a feeling of resentment for what I have seen things become. As an aside, I don’t mean to seem ‘above it’. I think social media can be a wonderful tool for connection. But in this late stage capitalist, hyper-ego society, it is not being used for genuine connection. Even the ‘authenticity’ movement seems fake, orchestrated, posed.
At the same time that I am being pushed further away, I find myself having feelings of anger, or jealousy, for those that are posting. The ones sharing their lives and getting the likes. I am at a stalemate with myself, somehow landlocked within. I know it is so easy to share my failures and triumphs with my networks, and yet when I even get so far as to type up a single status, I can’t bring myself to click ‘post’ without thinking about all of the ways in which I am feeding my own ego. And so, I feel jealous of the ones who are sharing too much, egos fat and happy and sated.
Underlying all of this is my desire to connect. Motherhood is so isolating. Being an older student at University is isolating. Living with your in-laws is isolating. I feel like a tiny boat surrounded by sea — I suppose sand, in my case — and it goes on for miles and miles like the southwestern horizon I have slowly grown accustomed to. I stay busy with the baby, with household projects, with trying to build a marriage, and still I find myself at a loss in these quiet moments. In irony, my husband has a bigger social life than I do, and he hates to go out at all.
“Why not make some friends?” You might ask yourself, scoffing. I do try. There are some nice women here, that have tried connecting with me. We have spent some time together. Some are pregnant, others have babies just like me. The recipe is there for some socializing. But I feel so unable to connect with most people I meet these days, like a certain spark is missing. They are nice people, and conversation is nice, and everything is just… nice. But that is it. ‘Nice’. I’m not sure what more I am looking for, or what kind of expectations I should be having for friendships. It feels like I am always doing all the heavy lifting. I get exhausted just trying to start conversations. The thought of trying to share myself over and over again until something sticks just sounds more troublesome than its worth.
I have a winter break coming up from school and I was considering starting some kind of classes — yoga, martial arts — something that will get me out and mingling. It feels like my life is this home, that I am the breathing manifestation of this house and all the trinkets in it. I am the dust that sits waiting to be blown away.