Faces

When we post on social media, of course there is the criticism that people curate their posts to paint happy falsehoods of their lives. However, I think the greatest issue of social media is not the glossing-over aspect in of itself, but rather that people don’t recognize that it is a creative process.

One of the things that my internship emphasizes is placing a “human face” to stories. But even that is a tenuous artistic license. It’s something we selectively plucked from the tree to display on the stand, arranged with a plethora of other items to weave the story to our liking.

At the prompting of certain relatives and friends, I posted on Facebook after a long time. But I’ve been trying to cleanse myself of social media, partly because I can hardly post anything without it sounding ironic and partly because I’ve done a lot of work weeding out certain people from my life. And excuse the grandiose statements, but that includes my old self. I don’t want to let them back in just like that.

I’ve always lamented being naïve. I’ve vied for a life where I was one of those cool edgy girls with a large social circle and wild adventures every night. And I, like the eager copycat artist, would try to use social media to make that real life. I guess if there’s any real takeaway I learned from a year out of the cloisters, it’s that social media is an art tool that everyone uses nowadays not necessarily out of malice, but simply to blur over the starkness of reality.

Social media is just paint. You can’t blame the medium for creating beautiful lies. And can you really blame the artist either for wanting to create in the first place?

That being said, there are better mediums of self-expression. And there are better mediums for appreciation. We turn to social media because the inner artist in us also seeks an audience, and social media provides the easiest access.

But I’ve decided that I do not mind obscurity. Let’s be like Mona Lisa before she was hung on a perpetual stage in the Louvre. If people truly want to know you, to appreciate you, they’ll seek other ways to do so.

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Growing Pains

Old ghosts sometimes come back as you start something new. The street you walk down to get to work reminds you of somewhere you were last year. The man who waves hello to you reminds you of someone you once knew well before. The ghost plays hide and seek. Memories replay in your head.

You may think it’s like a movie or like The Carpenters’ song – “when they get to the part where he’s breaking her heart, it can really make me cry.” But then the lyrics of Regina Spektor’s “Birdsong” come to mind – “Hearts always hurt more while they are learning.”

When we first experience pain it really does feel unparalleled. But when we experience it the second time – whether it be a scraped knee or a broken heart or bruised pride – it doesn’t seem to hurt as much. We grow calluses atop our scars.

And that’s the irony of life. We need this pain that we so assiduously try to avoid. We need to touch the fire to know what not to do and to have the burn marks as a reminder. We need our ghosts.