Thursday, March 29, 2012

Disappearance from the stadium-stage

Snippet: Do you believe that a nation should suffer a detrimental cause to in order to compensate for wrongs commited by the governers of that nation or segments of that nation in the past?

     In the throes of my awkward adolescent years, there was a phrase that I stumbled across, which succinctly described a large part of my feelings when navigating the social sea. It was an odd feeling... like an out of body experience, except that you're awake. Removed. Detached. Nothing you could do. Anyone watching would see the warmth of our speech and mannerism , but inside, there's a feeling that I can't reach my companions nor could they reach me... I see the bonfire burning, but I don't feel the heat.

'outside looking in.'

     Still, like an old distant friend, it visits me once in a while. I'd tell him, I thought I left you behind.  It settles down regardless, with its imaginary smile. He knows where you started and where you came from as a person. I have learnt to live with it though.

     I'm now in my mid-twenties (gosh, so odd to say that!) and the very same gentlemen returned; only this time, wearing a different hat with an entirely different smile. Before, he told me of how disconnected I felt with people. This time, this disconnection is more intimate... I suppose it's not a really odd thing to feel disconnected with yourself, is it?

And as always, a little preface would be helpful in my usual ramblings....

Let's start with how Facebook scared the fuck out of me.

     Mind you, it's not that I shrink and shudder in fear at the sight of it. Far from it. I am an ardent surfer/poster of Facebook. Maybe a little too much :/. So, what scared me was not what it is, but what it was capable in turning me into. The lesser fear is of addiction; stirring the users into a sort of entranced voyeurism, mindless flash games that fulfills some reward-giving mechanisms in your brain without really achieving anything in reality and broadcasting what you see/think/feel into cyberspace without actually doing substantial about it. And time seems to go into another dimension, where you log onto it with 4 hours to spare to bedtime and the next thing you know, you're glued to it for 5 hours. Having done absolutely nothing productive obviously. Day after day, year after year. And then you finally amount to nothing.

That's the lesser fear.

     Then the big kahuna of fear is when you find the lines to yourself is cut. Because you brought that inner voice to the social-media altar and offered it as sacrifice for the public. We all have a private and public realm; though, increasingly, the latter seems to take the lead, and the private is now secondary. Do I make sense? I figured this would seem quite loony to most people... so hear me out for a bit.

     Have you ever seen or read or heard something that moved you (or elicit any significant emotion), and the first thing you think of it, I must post this on Facebook? That scrumptious meal with steam still rising from it that makes your stomach growl and mouth water... but no, you don't devour it immediately. Instead, you rotate the plate for a good angle to snap for an upload on your wall. Only then you dig in. Articles and news on the web have a 'Share' button at the bottom of its entry. Like it? Share it! It's a 'sharing' culture that is being promoted, but it makes me wonder whether it's more than that; could it be a sort of image that we'd like to present ourselves?

Are our status updates and Foursquare tags (with tagged friends, of course) becoming a sort of social validation? Susie Lee is at Publika, Solaris Dutamas - with Bobby Tan and 3 others - Friday, 9.03pm

It came to the point that your online profile defines you. It's the public realm of Appearance that can be Edited. It's your Life, but online. It was to a point that if it's not up there, it doesn't 'exist'...?

     Admittedly, I can be quite self-absorbed, which isn't something I'd like to hone to perfection. And Facebook somehow aids this tendency tremendously; it appeals to one's ego in the need to be seen or be thought of in a certain way and to some, it might amplify attention-seeking tendencies.

     One fine day, outside-looking-in hit me like a club. After sharing an article, I cared more about the response rather than the content itself. I share it, and have half-baked thoughts about it, then move on. From pruning and nurturing the public realm rather than the inward, it made my experience of myself as an 'outward' one. It started to get harder to cultivate the inward... I can't truly feel, think, opine, take a snapshot without thinking about posting it on Facebook. I tried to not do that, but it was a struggle.

     Facebook definitely changed the way my brain works. Some people tend to maintain it, because it's a representation of 'you'. But this 'you' isn't you. It's now how I want to SEE myself and how I want people to SEE me as. But this road is a shallow one. Scared me - the whole losing in touch with yourself.

     Then... that wasn't the only thing. It got increasingly off-putting on how what is shown don't paint a true picture of things. You give people impressions of yourself that isn't necessarily true, even if it's accidental. Like, my family photo during my birthday. Looks tame, happy and like any ordinary family, but it pained me because I know that we're more broken than what that capture made it to be. It was as if I presented a farce. I didn't like how it lied for me. I felt as though it reduced me.

     I've been behind the camera, directing my moves on this performance stage for so long, that I have the viewfinder stuck on my eye. And I was desperate to leave my place to be with that person... a stranger now. I know I can reengage her, but it'll be a process. Though seemingly buried in time-hardened sand, I'm certain that a certain diligence and discipline would be able to reach this mind of mine again. When that happens, maybe me and my abandoned soul would sit down at a table with some tea and say, Hello. It's been a while, hasn't it?

That's the story of how I deactivated my facebook account. Disconnecting from the disconnecting website.

     Even if for a week, it has worked. Generally I've gotten my priorities straightened, though it's interesting on how tough it is to have a complete experience to develop yourself inwardly. I don't think I'm getting that across right... maybe I'll edit this in the future once I figure out the best way to explain it.

     What I know was this though; when I disconnected, it's one of the toughest and most pleasing feeling I had gotten. I would feel contented and my heart would be at ease. Then comes in little pockets of moments where you feel as though you are you, and not an image that you are trying to show the world. I can be myself, even if only for a little while.