Came home to anonymous #flower love. #Heartwarmed
It all makes sense this time of year. The little flickers that have niggled – the way ambitions land without fanfare or moments deform in cupped hands with the speed of chocolate under foil – begin to form a conclusive reel.
It’s nice to point to reasons for these things. Having reasons makes you reasonable, and I can dredge up several with minimal effort. There’s the terrarium in the corner where I can peek at the fronds of death uncurling whenever I want, the high-enough pressure of collective expectations and the pulpy mess of my freshly broken heart, but these reasons look remarkably like excuses. The real, sad reason for my cyan tinted outlook is that sometimes I am a sad person. I perceive sad with the same certainty as I perceive causation. Whether it’s in current affairs or gossip, the image is always clear. “That is some horrible shit right there, now excuse me while I lie alone on the floor feeling pain.”
The best way to avoid sad is with a deck of distractions, things like work, adult education and frequent, nay, incessant, masturbation. Having lots of friends and being a Social Person helps right up until the point at which it doesn’t any more. All of a sudden distractions like other people’s desire for your company or expertise morphs from a boon into a chore. Right now, the sound of my telephone feels like either an insult, or a favour too far. But if it didn’t ring, that would be even worse.
The reason I know my reasons aren’t real is that at the root of my sadness are two incompatible ideas. In my head I know that life is a meaningless and ever worsening spiral towards the grave, while in my heart I feel that I will never be good enough, that everyone secretly hates me and that all my toil will amount to nothing. Now, if life really were an ever-worsening spiral towards the grave, then my crippling feelings of inadequacy would be unnecessary. If life really is meaningless, then there is nothing for which one needs to be adequate. Feeling like you’re not good enough suggests that ‘good enough’ not only exists, it’s worth pursuing.
There’s also a third factor, perhaps the saddest of all, which is that sometimes being a sad person feels sort of good. Not the kind of good you get on a shiny Saturday morning when your calendar is teeming, your work is really finished for the week, and you’ve just had a coffee, or the kind of good that kicks in near the middle of your second cocktail when the evening opens up with ticklish possibility, but a kind of good. A gross kind of good like waking up sopping in dirty sheets, in a dirty house, and spending twenty minutes looking at how much better other people’s lives are on Instagram, while simultaneously eating sticky fruit. The kind of good that comes from thinking about writing something, then not actually writing it; the kind of good that spends dozens of minutes on end picking at its face in a mirror. The kind of good that comes to no good at all.
It all starts to make sense this time of year. So it is time to start doing things until it stops again.
For the first time I understand that very male inclination to surreptitiously photograph. In this case it would feel very nearly like an act of generosity, a gift to share with friends.
He was casually beautiful in the way of people who can look professionally so. Hair a brown and tousled mop, full and awkward to the point where it could almost be a novelty wig, slapped on to turn a marine into a slacker. Artful stubble, blue eyes an icy shade that’s often discussed in terms of shards and a boyish countenance enhanced by his low slung board shorts and fitted white tee-shirt. He recalled my ex after weeks-long stretches in the surf and sunshine of his family’s holiday rental. He had that tight yet lightly pelted,slightly honeyed physique. The kind that belongs to someone a few years older than his air of goofiness. He was a boy from that most uncommon sort of next door. He was alone, so unlike all the other pool dwellers, his purpose held more mystery than leisure. I imagine he is a professional soccer player. I imagine I am invisible.
1) Do your hair and makeup real pretty then spend all night taking naked photobooth pictures of yourself and imagining how mind blowing it would be to receive those photographs.
2) When you get bored eat a whole wheel of bree.
3) Form as many extremely intimate, affectionate and romantic friendships as you possibly can.
4) Indulge in self-satisfied fantasies about your hypothetical future lover feeling profoundly jealous of your intimate, affectionate, romantic friendships.
5) Listen to economics podcasts whilst plucking errant hairs from your bikini line, then think about how that would feel with an audience.
6) Eat a mandarin while reading wikipedia articles about sea-creatures, then, when you realise you can’t be bothered to go to the bin, which is three meters away, just eat the rind too. Think about how that would feel with an audience.
7) Leave the house.
8) Never leave the house.
9) Trade the photographs from point 1 for a series of webcam based one on one tutorials on how to write html5 code.
10) Have a mazz.
DO understand that if you are at an event where the entertainment and refreshments are being paid for by a brand with the express purpose of crafting a particular image or ideal, that your presence is as calculated as the posters on the wall, and they will want it documented.
DON’T think that by saying no to a photographer at a sponsored party you’re any less of a whore. Smiling for the guy that’s paid to shoot you isn’t kissing on the mouth, it’s the blowjob itself and that drink in your hand means you’ve already taken the money.
DO appreciate that there is a world of difference between an event that exists to sell an idea and a typical night on the town.
DON’T feel any obligation to contribute the cache of your image to a place where you’re paying.
DO be polite to someone who is just doing the job they’re paid to do.
DON’T give the same courtesy to obnoxious hobbiests who wield their cameras like substitute phalluses.
DO realise that it’s easy to tell the difference, because the pros are never visibly high.
DON’T forget that even though we have easy access to the means of producing them, images still have power.
DO use this power for good, for pleasure and for purpose.
DON’T let the desire to feel documented to overpower your ability to have a good time.
DO look each other in the eyes and have a long engaging conversation about something that you care about.
DON’T spend the entire evening with your arms slung with no significance around one another as you stare vacuously into the middle distance.
DO take that phone out of your mouth, you’re embarrassing your older self.
DON’T think that doing something interesting, edgy or provocative in a photograph confers any of those qualities onto you.
DO be aware of the point at which a trawling interest in the lives and movements of your friends becomes a profoundly narcissistic endeavour.
DON’T worry if you cross that threshold sometimes, we’re all human. But please don’t do it too often.
DO remember that often the only difference between a photographer and a creep is that the photographer is holding a camera.
DON’T use your DSLR like a peacock’s tail, it’s the social equivalent of individually packaged cheese slices.
DO feel free to run that photograph even though I don’t look great in it, when I told you it was okay to take it, I was consenting.
DON’T act like invading my privacy by putting a flash in my face, without my permission, to create a page impression on your shitty, exploitative blog is doing me a favour.
DO realise we’re getting better and better at the kind of tech that lets you search for a face without a keyword.
DON’T lose sight of the fact that someday you may want a real job.
DO retain a willingness to be surprised by a medium, even when it is completely over saturated.
DON’T assume that this will happen very often, if every snapper with a claim to ‘post-somethingness’ was telling the truth, they wouldn’t be waking up next to seventeen year olds with modelling aspirations right now.
It turns out every emotionally resonant moment in Girls can be captured in .Gif form, and that six teeny tiny animations are worth about 2000 words.