I am still so afraid of life.
The college spam is beginning to pile up. Gym class makes every day a living hell, days strung out one after the other. I keep finding myself clinging onto each day as they come if only to spread out the time between each torture session, stuck in a stark contrast from summer, wanting each day to lengthen as the sun wanes instead of speeding through every week with not much to do.
It’s my own damn fault, and I’m very aware of it, and yet I find it hard to believe that anything is supposed to get better in adulthood- especially considering the future I see myself inevitably speeding straight to.
I’ve said it before. I don’t want to be famous. I want to be well-respected– and yet, in this current climate, a hand slicing and dicing a fellow human to shreds is more profitable to the general public than a hand outstretched in aid. The former generates outrage, which drives news ratings, which creates spaces for advertisers to sell their products. It creates opportunities for celebrities and other public figures to wank about their self-declared intellect and eject worn-out platitudes for the sole purpose of racking up upvotes. A genuine act of philanthropy may help the downtrodden of humanity, but it doesn’t boil the collective blood like a good dose of outrage can and does.
The road to fame is paved with inconsequential spats on social media and a constant cycle of creating drama with other people and then claiming innocence. Spreading the seeds of inaudible discord, normalizing borderline slander- and for what? To feed superiority complexes? To set oneself on an imagined throne at the top of the world, every single fame who propelled you to fame and success just another serf on your land, farming money and worthless retweets?
This isn’t a system I don’t think I could ever be compatible with. This isn’t a system I don’t want to be compatible with. I don’t want to spend all my time wasting away on social media, having meaningless spats with other competitors for people’s time when I could be writing books, when I could be taking care of myself, when I could be caring for the people I love the most. I don’t want to lust after the cool musician of the day, pretending to be someone I’m not just to bait their fans for cheap follows.
But if I continue to put myself out on the public sphere, to contribute to public dialogue instead of hiding from criticism and writing everything down in my journal, never to see the light of day again- then eventually I’m going to attract the scum of humanity. The fangirls* mindlessly retweeting every little piece of drivel their “idols” shit out of their mouths. The fangirls who create countless roleplay accounts as their favorite celebrities with often only appearance and name in common- jacked-up ultra-gay caricatures of their former selves with all the parts of them that can’t be rabidly fetishized taken out, neatly packaged and fine-tuned to generate the maximum amount of “feels”. The fangirls who hound their “favorite” content creators to insanity if the works they produce so much as stray a hair from the path of ultra-political correctness.
The day I see some teenage girl jacking off to a Twitter roleplay account of one of my characters bent beyond recognition into one of her hormonal fantasies is the day the last piece of my soul will die.
Those are not the kind of people I want associated with me. Those are not the kind of people I want to be spamming me 24/7 with requests to follow them or random scraps of thought or accusations of not following public opinion. Hopefully not having a Twitter or Instagram or Tumblr will stave most of them off- but at what cost? Am I purposely crippling my own chances of being discovered by potential readers or a publisher or some other kind of literary agent that’ll get me out to the masses because I don’t consent to the privacy invasion nightmare that is modern social media? Am I cutting myself off from people who might otherwise be my friend, who otherwise might be potential fans because I’m not Snapchatting every moment of my life? Am I pushing away people I used to be close to because I’d rather use a platform that I can trust not to harvest my data** for advertisers?
There have been moments where I’ve considered throwing in the towel. Reinstalling all the Google apps I uninstalled on the devices I was able to root*** and disabling them on the devices I couldn’t root. Reactivating my Instagram account and creating a new Twitter. Ceasing to resist every time a member of my family posts a picture of me on Facebook without my consent.
But I wouldn’t be here right now, speaking to you over the internet across the restrictions of time and space, if I ever gave up that easily.
Even though I might not be able to win against a system that requires me to sacrifice my soul to reach my goals, that doesn’t mean I should stop fighting for things to change for the better. For the opening of publishing systems that cut out the middleman and let content creators reap the full benefits of their fruits. For decentralized and distributed systems that allow me to communicate with other people no matter what servers we’re using or what our individual perspectives on privacy or digital freedom are.
For a system I could be compatible with without having to compromise any part of myself- a life less frightening where trust wouldn’t carry such a high burden.
For a change in heart, if such a thing will ever be possible.
*Guys, gals, and nonbinary pals. You know what the hell I meant. Surely you’ve encountered one of these people before.
**At the time of writing this, I still have a Facebook account, which I know is massive hypocrisy on my part. I will send in the deletion request before this year is over- I’ve been meaning to do so for quite a while. The only thing that held me back for this long was the constant guilt-tripping of… certain family members.
***My current phone and my old tablet. (Which have been pretty much replaced with my computer, although current obligations force me to use my phone, and I still use the tablet from time to time.) My old phone consistently unroots itself within half an hour of running Kingroot on it, which is the only method that works on the software version it’s currently on.