“I am shivering”, I think as I walk over to my thermostat. Maybe I left it off and my apartment has reached equilibrium with the brisk January morning. 75 degrees! No way can it be 75 degrees in here, I am shaking.
The cold I feel, it must not be temperature related. No rather, it must be the shivering feeling of loneliness. The realization that today will be another Saturday I spend feeling disconnected, misunderstood and alone.
Slide, scroll, tap – none of it relieves my feeling, it just puts my emotions on a momentary hiatus as the itch returns every time I lock my phone. I feel that same desire to open it again, hoping that someone wants to talk to me, the real me. Instead, just more snapshots and pictures of people in their prime, people trying to show the “right” image to the world.
If I posted on Instagram right now, what would it look like? “Hi world, I honestly don’t feel great right now. I wish I did, but something feels like it is missing from my life. I feel like all of the people see me as a ghost, a figure they notice, but don’t really see. I don’t need a million followers, I don’t need fortune or fame, I just want the world to understand me, to embrace me, to love me for who I am and nothing more. I don’t want to be anything or anyone else, I just want to feel accepted as me.”
But no, I could never click that button. I am scared. I am scared of being rejected, of being ignored, of pouring my heart out just to have its contents flow down the drain like sewage. I want to be open to the world around me, but I don’t know if the world wants me.
Who does want me? Well there’s my family, my girlfriend, my closest friends, but they are all miles away, at arm’s length but separated by that black screen. And even when that screen fills up with notifications, buzzing with attention and care, it eventually goes dark and I once again feel alone.
It’s funny how that being more connected makes you feel separated. Everyone is within reach of other people so there is no need for the one’s in front of them. If you walk into the night air of New York City, you don’t need to talk to the blank faces you see on the street. You do not have to interact with the world, because your world is at your fingertips. Pictures, texts, tweets, videos, everything that you “need” is right there. So what’s the need for me? The guy who want to start talking to you on the subway? Or the customer who wants a more meaningful conversation with the cashier? What’s the need for someone who wants to connect further and deeper face to face—the person who wants to pull out his heart for you to hold, to see that it is real and beating and there for you?
But who needs that?