I have always been a person who has had a flair for the dramatic. By the time I was three, I had an intimate relationship with the floor since I spent a lot of time rolling around, stomping, and jumping up and down on it. The old world would call me a spoiled brat, but I know that the term was too simplistic. I am what modernists would term: an emotionalist. That, or an actress.
But converting from a relatively hippie lifestyle into a modern hipster (my sister’s definition) is actually a lot harder than it looks. There’s just so many vast ways in order to communicate feelings. The floor has been replaced by technologies that could instantaeously report infinite stages of tantrums, mood swings and general ideas. It can give several viewers a play-by-play of what people endure every single day, every waking moment of their lives. It can be brutal.
Facebook terms it very broadly: “What are you doing?” or “What’s on your mind?” It is a deceptive way to begin because it challenges the person to post everything from the mundane: “I ate a ham sandwich” to the analytical: “Will humans ever manage the space / time continuum to achieve time travel?” to the geographical: “I’m at Mandees buying that polka-dot blouse I had my eye on for two weeks”. In every instance, though, it suggests that you have to be doing something at all hours of the day or night to be relevant.
Now, welcome to the stage: The Queen of Melodrama to the Technological Age! It’s a recipe for disaster I assure you. Within seconds of having a thought–regardless of its validity–I am blasting it out. The trouble is that I cannot take it back. It is not a fleeting moment on a floor where my legs will eventually get tired. It is no longer a solitary moment where only my mom and maybe my sister could choose to ignore me until I’ve gotten it out of my system or realize (oh, crap!) my mommy is leaving me behind and I’d better catch up. No, technology has set the stage and placed a spotlight on the very core of what it is to be a human…thinking…being in the world.
Hogging Up Virtual Space:
With all that has been going on lately, I have discovered that I can reconnect. That isn’t always a good thing. But it is interesting how I go about selecting the means by which I will communicate certain feelings. For instance, when Peter died, I didn’t Twitter about it. I chose Facebook because many of his friends were on it and I suffered some backlash from his closest friends who couldn’t understand why I would share singular, independent thoughts or memories with the general public. In those minds, I was being disingenuous, needy, and was not appropriately honoring Pete’s privacy. While I have had to reconsider all of the above in depth, I know that what I did was right for me. At the time (just as today) I needed to be able to communicate. I needed it like a fish needs water because I needed to expel the grief I carry, to share it because it’s so overwhelming. It’s not like Chinese food that gets eaten until you’re full but you know in a few hours you’ll be hungry again. It’s more like being force-fed meals every hour until you’re over-full and the choo-choo train just keeps on coming until you either die, or spill it. I chose to spill it.
Putting Myself In The Corner:
I texted, I emailed, I chatted, I Facebooked, I Skyped and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. I wailed and threw a tantrum and just like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, it got stale. The moments that were poignant to me were no longer affecting those around me in the same way as I had expected. The virtual support had hit it’s plateau point. It flowed and pulled away just like an ocean wave, but it never returned. I was bereft and I was alone.
When I was little, I knew that I would eventually be punished for my meltdowns. The popular method my parents had chosen to utilize was “Standing In The Corner”. The Corner was supposed to get you to reflect on what you had done wrong, but I just ended up focusing on the corner itself and how much I hated being in it. So I felt bereft and alone.
Are you catching the pattern? The only reason I would communicate my thoughts and feelings is because I had no vessel for all the grief. It’s been a huge adjustment to move to a new place, cope with death and mortality, and learn how to manage life alone. But as the lesson of The Corner taught me, all I can do is reflect. I can mourn and reflect. I can adjust and reflect. I can learn and reflect.
In theory, I could carry on a monologue that would most likely last about an hour. I could–with a flourish–take a selfish bow as others applaud. Or, I could stand still and examine the corner I’m in from every edge and angle, describe it in grave detail, and recognize that I don’t really want to stay there. Eventually I will step out of it, and once in my dressing room, I can go back to enjoying the way life was. The best part is that I will no longer need an audience. I will be able to enjoy the empty theater and practice my next role…a solo artiste.