There will come a time when you’ll call for help.
No, not like that.
More like, “I am thinking of starting a Podcast.”
And there will be a time when you will be called upon.
“Helllllpppppp me, thee with the tiny prick!!”
More like, “I eat alone because I am an introvert.”
What does it mean to partake in the second coming of human hope? What does it mean to look someone in the eye and mean the world to them?
It used to mean something. And it often took a catastrophe to find out what. The soil of hope demanded blood to sprout kindness.
Now it demands something more gruesome, less tragic: attention.
Attention. The sequel to perfection. It’s the reason we get testy when someone shows up in front of us, baring their imperfections, gonorrhea and all. We identify one too many emotions we hate about ourselves in them. We tell them the singularly worst thing to escape from our own shame: “stop looking for attention.” And if you are a special kind of fermented fuck, you will sit them down and list out everything that’s wrong with them so they can take responsibility for their own lives and not bother you again.
Congratulations. You’re a man!
We have been going apeshit over loneliness lately. As with every luxurious affliction, our response to this has been shitting on social media and not washing our hands.
Social media toilet tangent: Being vulnerable on social media is the equivalent of putting up ”shorts” of your colonoscopy procedure. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you put up a picture of yourself and it gets less than a hundred likes, should you kill yourself?
The filter for your attention is smooth economics: What gets your attention better be something that can bring you even more attention.
You’ve heard the quip about how you are surrounded by people and yet you feel so alone? That’s because everyone’s deep in their own shit, and to get their attention, you need to go deeper. You aren’t feeling alone as much as ignored. And we all go through a time like that, when everyone seems to pass right through you.
So we run, flailing, hoping someone will see us.
“Do you see me?” “Do you see me?”
But somewhere along the way, we started walking with our heads down, weighed by our thoughts. We stopped hugging Dad. We started paying to be heard. In the clamor of our thinking, people and objects fused into white noise.
I have this one line I want to insert somewhere in the essay, but I can’t find a good place. So I just created this paragraph. And here’s the line: Not having the need to change one another is the highest freedom.
Remember the boy who cried wolf? It wasn’t the wolf he was screaming about. It was about himself. To stop going because there’s no wolf anymore is missing the whole point.
You are called upon almost every day. Like a prayer.
And you are too busy becoming God.
Every day, someone is asking you the question: “Do you see me?” And you mistake it for attention: “Look how everyone’s looking at me.”
There will come a time, for an age whose idea of enlightenment is, “It’s okay to love Myself,” to be able to see what it actually means: “It’s okay to Love.”
To love is to be lonely.