What I see when I look in the mirror is someone to fear. Someone who will cost society money–a liability as opposed to an asset. And I’m scared. Terrified even. I feel like I’ve fooled those I love and who love me. I’ve always wanted to be loved and to be the kind of person worthy of being loved. And now it’s as if they’ve got a present wrapped up in a shiny bow but opened it up just to find something ugly and vile inside. Me.
There are some instances where objectification is entirely appropriate and needed. For a short while–for example–a baby cannot walk, and cannot feed itself. They have no agency, no power to decide on where they go or what they do. As parents or caregivers we take on this agency. We are literally a baby’s arms and legs… we dress them, we feed them, we pick them up and put them down.
As a child my memory was rewritten time and again–first by my mother who tried to erase who I was to serve her own narcissistic needs, and then as an adult by an abusive ex (ditto). At twelve years old, I experienced a car accident which must have had more of an impact than the months I don’t recall and I drank my way through my twenties, actively trying to forget many things, which I’m pretty sure had an even larger impact.
The desire to change beckons. The voice tickles and taunts as it invites me out to play and it says… time to change, time to have fun, why so serious?
Great power comes, with the internet, sometimes completely unexpectedly. You cannot know power before you have it, so you cannot know whether you are ready for it. If you suddenly find yourself in a position of great power, then you can try to wield that power with responsibility and become the hero, or fail (by accident or design) and become the villain. And so, I am afraid. I am afraid that I have invited the mantle of power on my heretofore unproven and potentially irresponsible shoulders.
Twenty years later those two people are now strangers and our story is one of the human condition, of love and tragedy. It was inevitable. And so I simply sigh, close the book and move on.
Later I built an armour called ‘fuck you’. It shielded me from the pain and from the rocks. But also from the joy. I built it from a place of indifference and it became me.
But although I drifted aimlessly on the open seas, buffeted by the storms I conjured myself from my grief, I also found that had the tools to fashion an oar.
Every few hours we must stop and refuel. Seeking high calorie food conveys a clear evolutionary advantage as does immediate consumption (in case that wildebeest eats it first).
Those films which make you cry tap into your deepest longings. To be loved, to be the rescued child, to be the winner. We’ve all of us gone through trauma.
I must accept and welcome wretchedness for my daughter, if she is to forge her own way to integrity.
If I enable a lie, it will take away a piece of me. Sometimes I think I am driven by sensationalism – a hangover of my desire for attention. That’s a part of it (and that’s the truth). But my experimentation with life, my experience, is my own way of determining what makes me happy outside of what society tells me makes me happy, and what makes me, me.
The mask I had carefully constructed and lovingly invested in over a period of 15 years turned out to be devoid of meaning in my mid thirties. Day after day I could toy with numbers, projecting consumer demand, running sensitivity analyses, presenting recommendations to the board for products which would line their money sodden pockets. It wasn’t me anymore (if it ever had been).
You are not your mind. You have a mind and you can be the master of it. It is by truly understanding this that you may begin to make choices which will empower you. And that’s when you begin to live a consensual life.
In the online world, protecting your reputation and your voice is survival; so much so, that if someone has made an fool of themselves in public and been proven wrong, they will – nine times out of ten – leave the forum and choose to eradicate their presence; in other words, they commit a sort of social suicide.
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