My romance drama game has been strong.
In the span of a couple months, one long-term relationship ended with a tough breakup and a new one started. Both girls were awesome and, as expected, both brought up some deep feelings. Normal feelings like “oh shit, I really care about how I look!” and “I NEED TO BE IMPRESSIVE TO EVERYBODY ALL THE TIME”, all the way across the spectrum to winners like “ex’s new boyfriend has muscles and I don’t, which means I need to die” or “new girlfriend is amazing and can’t know I’ve ever farted or sometimes eat canned vegetables straight out of the can without heating them up.”
You know, healthy feelings. And lot’s of them.
These feelings are pretty common. Especially when pretty girls are involved. They’re expected. But underneath all of them (for me at least) is a theme that worries me a bit, because common or not, it’s not healthy. It’s a problem.
Apparently, I’m a control freak.
And I’ve never realized this before. I mean like, yeah. I’m gonna be most comfortable as the team leader for our science fair group project or whatever. And I like making plans. And maybe I get stressed when other people are in control, especially people who I don’t respect. And maybe that’s all normal. We’re not talking destabilizing mental disorder here or anything. But recently, it’s gotten pretty bad. And Facebook has made it worse.
See, more than ever, an online presence is essential to living as a member of modern society. And, more than ever, it’s easy to cultivate and manicure that presence into exactly what you’d like. We can make ourselves whoever we want to be. I think this is a good thing, and I definitely don’t want to come across as decrying the internet and THE MILLENNIALS AND ALL THEIR DAMN SMART PHONES or anything. The internet is amazing and powerful and will undoubtedly help us make the world better.
But it absolutely brings out this tendency in me to control every little detail and to edit every picture.
And that’s a dangerous tendency, because that’s not how real life works. It’s a dangerous tendency, because it can cheapen things.
Everybody cares about what people think of them. You want that girl to see that song you listened to, you want your college friends to see that bomb plate of rice you ate or whatever. And that’s fine. It’s normal. But if you’re like me, if you’re a planner, a manipulator, it’s a slippery slope. Because for us, the space between “I want that girl to see that song I listened to” to “I want that girl to see that song I listened to SO SHE WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH ME AND WE’LL GET MARRIED” is pretty small. And that’s the danger.
For me, it’s a faith issue. Lately, I’ve been putting my faith in the magic inter web — I’ve been manipulating things. I’ll only listen to music when other people can see it, I’ll only read an article if I can share it. I’ll take 15 pictures so I can pick the perfect one to put the perfect filter on. And when I do this, I’m putting my faith in the my editing abilities, in the idea that maybe, with enough filters and catchy captions, I can make my life into something appealing — rather than having faith that life is appealing by itself, if I look hard enough. I’m putting my faith in Facebook, when I should be putting it in the things that Facebook lets us celebrate. Things like mountains, books, beautiful people. Maybe even, my unedited self.