The Change Conspiracy


It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these.

On my own, at least, without the pull of a sad £20 note waiting for me at the end. Because, this, the little patch of internet I found years ago, suddenly seems so small, so meagre, so pointless. I suppose it’s not surprising I’ve outgrown it. 
After all, in the glittering age of social media, what’s the point of anything if no-one knows you’ve done it?

And so, as the years pile up, so do our expectations. Expectations that get harder to reach, and impossible to quell. Expectations that make you feel like you’re not doing enough, not showing enough, not bettering yourself like everyone else. Because, of course, we have a ‘duty’ to post incessantly to prove how well we're doing.

Or seem to be doing.

I scrolled through Facebook on the morning of January 1st. I stopped after a few seconds. Clicked off my phone, threw it onto the carpet, and pushed my head back against the pillow. 2017 round-up posts, new year new me, dizzy with sparkling snapshots of how to perfectly complete your year. Selfie, group shot, fireworks. Filter, fanfare –

Fictitious?

A few years ago, I was out celebrating new years’. Or, at least, that’s what it looked like. In reality, I had sat cross-legged in front of the mirror, hurriedly painted on makeup, pulled off my pyjama top and pushed down the neckline of something new in its place. I took a photo. I don’t remember the caption. I don’t remember the number of likes I got - none of the things I thought were important back then. All I remember from that night, when I sat in front of that mirror and wiped away the last of a gaudy red lip and glitter liner pooled in my tear ducts, is how I felt.

Alone. Desperately alone.

During that year, I had successfully submerged my head so deep into social media that I had made myself feel ousted from my generation, because I thought I was the only one not to be having the best time of their life that night. And looking back, I know I won’t have been the only one feeling that way. But instead of accepting that, I threw flames into the carnage, and added another dose of look how alone you are tonight onto Facebook, thanks to my photo.

What a way to start a new year. As a fraud.

As time goes on, I feel myself pulling away from social media. It seems less like a place to swap phone numbers to keep in touch, but now a marketplace where we trade intimate stories like currency.

And, with the start of the new year, I feel myself distancing even further.

Maybe I'm cynical. Because when I read those new year new me statuses, all I get is hyped-up faux-inspirational nonsense. I still say to myself at the start of every year, hell, at the start of anything I can tangibly relate to a ‘new beginning’, that it’ll be better, get better, work better. This time, it’ll be different. That I’ve learnt from it, it’s all an experience, and I 'appreciate' it all more now. But I’m done with experiences. The blood is running, pouring from lips and teeth and hair and there is no more experience to garner from the same damn thing.

And it’s hard, when you reach this point, to realise that you aren’t as in control of your future as you think you are.

I’m still making resolutions. But they’re private, and I suppose, selfish. They serve no-one but me and those closest to me, and are written in a diary – there’s not a letter of them on social media, not a glimpse of a line, and there won’t ever be. I won't be rounding up 2018 to assimilate my success - or lack thereof.

There is more to reap from a year than an image of some ticked boxes.

The beauty of life is that we're free to make our own choices. It’s not always up to us if they play out, but we can have a hand in persuading the future - but we don’t need to wait until the first of January to do that. If you’re that passionate about changing or chasing something, you can start now - just make sure you're doing it for yourself. And if you take anything away from this post, take this:

If you want to make changes, do them now - whenever now is - and do them for you. Don't lose yourself in the hunt for digital glory - there's more to life than a post brimming with 'love' from faceless strangers.

Image c/o Cherry Laithang, Unsplash
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