When I sit in bed scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through the FEED.
When I wake up and start scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through the FEED.
When I ask myself why doesn’t my life look like theirs?
When I tell myself their life doesn’t look like theirs.
Someone’s already probably said it, because everything has been said and it’s only about the infinite reconfigurations of words and skills and adventures, and looking through just the right aperture that can make anything look original, but we must be living in the Age of Envy.
Age, for me, works both ways. I am 33. And we have entered an era in which one’s life is what one posts on the internet. 33, single, overeducated, underemployed, over self-examined, underskilled, over-critical.
My roommate recently said to me, “You don’t like to be alone.” Apart from wanting to punch him in the face for making a declaration about my person, I also contest that I did, once, enjoy being alone. I am, in many ways, a loner, though I would never have considered it deliberate. But my job is largely to sit and write by myself, exercise by myself, entertain myself, go to bed by myself, then, for whatever fucking reason, get up to do it all over again.
My best friend has expressed some jealousy of my life, or, more likely, the FEED of my life — distancing, distancing, distancing herself from me. She is happily married, living in a home that is strung with little white lights that reflect off the soft downy snow of the mile high city. I stare out my grey window at the freezing rain wondering how to get her attention. I think about becoming an incredible writer with a pseudonym who submits to her press, obtusely expressing my emotions to find my way back through the maze to her heart. Retrieving a friend by being a snake in the grass is probably not the best route.
But. Phone calls, texts, letters…these are too direct for the situation at its frayed ends. Besides, asking for attention, that is not done these days, surely not when you are an adult. And, when you do ask, you are a burden, needy. We are all so self loathing that being called out either makes us that ugly defensive character the enlightened eschew, deeply and selfishly introspective (which we also eschew), or just straight up deprecated. Deprecation is a feeling we can appreciate; we have come to think of it as authentic, and yet we’ve also fought so hard to avoid it, to accept the new/old pursuit of happiness into our lives. Deprecation is the old authentic, happiness the new.
We have all become processors on overload. Spinning headed cyborgs.
Why would we not be in a post-truth society? The progressive, the educated, the liberals, we have arrived back at the same nihilistic place from which our forbearing bigoted conservatives sprung. We are one and the same.
How dare I?
Besides, it’s true: I am a fucking burden. For me, the Age of Envy has probably been all ages. And here I am again, just 33 this time, an age I know I will be envying when I’m 40 and yet find nothing but envy within actually. If you are able to stop and question me as I make my individual daily rampages, I will tell you — as I did last night, and last year, and last decade, and when I went back on the meds, when I changed the meds, when I upped the meds, and the time before that, and the time before that.
My face feels like the head of a timpani drum, filled with salty mucosa, or maybe one of those worthless toys with the cerulean liquid and a tiny orange dingy trapped inside. Your question slips in like an exacto knife, slicing through the surface. Everything is so taught, so stretched to its limits, you don’t realize until the mucosa drips, slithers, pours out. Oh, the regrets the caring must have. It’s like being cornered at the holiday party by THAT guy.
I am an exhausting friend. Pile on financial insecurity. Pile on singlehood. Pile on vagina. Pile on procreative expectations. Pile on bottomless self doubt.
And what do I do about it? Nothing. I lead a daily life of nothingness. Pondering the everythingness, the infinite array of possible solutions to match the endless list of possible problems to match the understanding that I am not special; my misery is not special – it is mundane. A silver spoon misery.
And that’s what will come out if you ask me. With the mucosa.
I am fucking exhausted being me.