Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Timid toes

Timid toes trace twin lines in the sand where I stand
between in no-man’s land, twisting and
meandering through the minefield
you set each day with shifting borders. I retreat
from high trajectory words
you wield. I cross over, twisting
into rifle deeds of despair. I slip away
into encroaching waters. I slip under
your raised hand. I cease
to understand,
to exist. In time,
in tide, all will be
washed away, and I
washed clean.

About this piece

The first line formed in my mind as I reflected on a personal and public history of domestic violence, a war on women that persists around the world. The rest followed like a freefall into oblivion and, eventually, peace.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Constructing happiness

One of the great things about social media is that we can construct our own public identities: the fun-loving adventurer, the deep-thinking poet, the wealth-driven salesperson. In real life we are pushed around by competing forces and conflicting feelings, but online we are in control, bravely writing our own cyber-destinies, one post at a time.

It's not just the things we post that create our online identities, though. It's also the things we don't post. The things that go unsaid, that remain hidden, locked up, kept safely where no one can judge us for them.

In real life, people notice such gaps. They notice our absences, even in our presence. They see the darkness behind our smiles and the emptiness in our eyes. But in cyberspace we can fill those gaps, covering them over with cat videos and inspirational quotes so our friends remain none the wiser. Or so we think.

But our friends aren't stupid. Our friends do the same thing, carefully applying layers of pretty wallpaper over the bits they think we won't like, filling their gaps with what they want us to see, what they think we want to see.

Our friends see through our careful constructions in exactly the same way we see through theirs, so it's all to no avail—they just don’t buy it. Which leads me to ask: if you're spending all your time on social media, trying to show the world how happy and in-love you are, who are you really trying to convince?