14 September 2019 at 06:30
You know what I just did, the minute after arriving at the computer? In spite of having intentions to write 1000 words in my journal, first thing, before doing anything else? I clicked the Chrome browser icon at the bottom of my screen, pulling up a portal to **The Internet,** and began to type the first letters of Wordp… in the url field. This is usually how I access the backend of my WordPress site, alongside WordPress’s version of social media (i.e. the “Reader” view).
That’s how much the habit is engrained. My fingers have automated the process needed to feed my mind-body unit with its chosen drug.
But before WordPress, it was Medium; and before Medium, it was TheProse.com. And before Prose, it was Facebook’s “My 500 Words” group. and before that, it was Instagram. And before that, it was email. And before that… well. I might have missed a few somewhere, but that’s at least a segment of the path to where I find myself now.
Thank goodness I blocked myself from WP, using SelfControl. There is one hour remaining. I’d set it for my default eight hours. (My default used to be 12 hours. And before that, 24 hours. My gap of quiet grows ever smaller.)
My eyes are becoming one with the screen.
I worry for the world.
Last night I’d sheepishly crawled into bed next to already long-sleeping husband, after dipping one last time into each of my WordPress accounts, desperate for action.
It reminds me of when I was in my (late?) teens — I would go out “looking for trouble.” (Now I feel I’m writing for an audience again. Audience-in-my-head, begone!)
I would dress up, walk the streets. Literally walk the streets. Like a streetwalker. Or an alley-walker. Except there was nothing for sale. Oh yes, it’s coming back now. I was hoping for them to drive by; “pull up in their fast cars, whistling my name.” Was that why I was there?
Was I in love with them — the lot of them? I knew instinctively not to chase them — that was “against the rules” of the game I was (somewhat) unwittingly playing — but I would “put myself out there.” Strolling along, or swingin’ in the backyard, hoping one of them would drive by, in our small suburban town —- stop and bring me to the party. Safely dangerous. Dangerously safe. With “my friends.”
What was the attraction? Why was I doing this? I would say it was to get fresh air, to get out of the house. Little did I know, I was addicted to likes, even back then. I craved attention, appreciation. That was my love language (and still is). Those grown-up lost (or found?) boys gave it to me in droves. (Well, I tried hard enough. I better have succeeded.)
And in return, what did I give them? Not sex. Not booze either (I was underage; they mostly weren’t). Maybe it was Promise. A little bit of sunshine in their sometimes-cloudy/grey world.
A bit of angelitude. A bit of light in exchange for their dark, which I craved hungrily. We ate each other’s energy in a swirl of dark and bright. The yin and yang. A cannibalistic, synergistic union.
Except, in that Chinese philosophy, the dark is the female element, the receptive one. The bright is the male one, the active one, the penetrating one.
To me the symbol seems both perfect and inadequate. Perhaps women bring spiritual lightness to men, perhaps that is why most men seek them out. In a male-centric mind-body perhaps filled with deep biological urges to make war, to dominate, to conquer, to destroy, there is a simultaneous craving for peace, for equality, for unconditional love, for creation.
And for women, whose mind-bodies crave security and community — in other words, crave the right environment for creation — there is a craving for a force that can do battle, eschew community in the worst of times to protect the “home environment,” if need be.
I mean, look what happened to Tibet, arguably the most peaceful and enlightened nation:
And there also is a craving for someone who can provide things, obtain things. Things are obtained, in the natural world, by taking them. By “penetrating” the unknown, by thrusting forward into darkness, therein paving the way for light, for seeds, for renewal, for…. creation.
This is evident even in a generally-considered-peaceful self-feeding scenario, when we rip the rooted carrot from its soil, wash it in the stream (thereby muddying the water), eat it. Another day, another moment, another carrot. Marching on. Hopefully scattering new seeds even as we shed the waste. (No tongue-in-cheek here.)
Of course, those are generalized female-male, dark-bright terms. There are urges that defy bodies and a spectrum of exceptions that break free from confined generalizations. We are evolving as a species. Becoming more one, more whole, more intertwined. And then there is that third element, technology.
Will it bind us and enlighten us, or will it blind us and blow us up, as a species? That is the question.
Soon, both the urge and the need to biologically procreate will diminish more and more quickly, as we unite with technology via our minds and bodies.
We can see it in the children. How quickly they copy the parents, how quickly they grab the new toys and adapt, hungrily seeking the spiritual energy they need. If they don’t find the huge amount of attention and input that they need from the mind-body organisms in their family unit, they find it in the form of stimulus-response-driven interfaces of the technology placed into their grabbing hands like soothers, like “dummies” (literally “dumbing” them, silencing them, with something they can consume) to quiet their whining, crying, hungering noises. And those interfaces are mostly created by the capitalistic plutocrats.
A young man who looks after the children, in the local peri-school day-care — I see him, covered in tattoos (another kind of addiction, to have ink regularly stamped into one’s skin by the needles of a penetrating machine) — walking down the local street after his shift ends, lighting the cigarette dangling from his lips with one hand, reaching for the phone in his pocket with the other. On his left forearm, the zodiac. On his right, a blazing heart. He craves the Universe itself, and Love. Above all, Love.*
The delight of his foot-fall on the street is not enough for him, the blue sky is not enough for him, the oxygenating trees under which he walks are not enough. Even his recent release from work is not enough. He craves and craves and craves and it is never enough. And most of us are like him (certainly, I am), much of the time. Whether we are aware of it or not.
But is it the right direction to evolve into? The matrix?
It feels good to be here, quiet. In my journalling app. Not online. No pink (or orange, or green) dots in the top right hand corner.
So when I was venturing out of my little hermit-crab shell onto Medium, in the past, I would write here, in my journal; then I would bravely (or perhaps stupidly) copy-paste into the online editor. Usually immediately, but sometimes obsessing and deliberating for hours, spent in snippets throughout the interruptive day, then finally post some version of it. Then watch the stats. 1 view, no likes. Maybe I would change the title, then; adapt. 2 views, 1 like. Good. Leave new title as is. Three views, 1 like. Maybe remove that particularly truthful but dodgy part near the end. 4 views, 2 likes. Good. And so on, till I felt soothed, and left it alone. Or felt threatened, alone; and hid it completely from view. And I did find community there. Really lovely community. As everywhere, really.
But Medium kept force-feeding me articles I did not want to consume. It was not community-centric, as WordPress seems to be, but rather blatantly leader-centric. And the leaders were decided by Medium, based on content. Which was ultimately, subconsciously, decided by the consumers, at least to the level of what they had to choose from. Perhaps Medium could be seen as the capitalist, dog-eat-dog-rewarding, political-unrest version of the more socialist WordPress. Confuse, distract, divide and conquer. (But is anything really as it seems?)
In October 2018, Medium even insisted on “partners” submitting personal information to the US government (even if we were *not* citizens nor residents of the US, thus did not pay taxes there), if we wished to continue earning our wages for our members-only paywall articles. For me, this was an average €2-ish per month. (SideNote: I paid Medium €48/year to become a member/partner, and to able to put a few articles behind the “paywall” — but even more so, to proudly prove that I was a “team player,” paying my own way. I always liked to pay my own way. This separates a gal who’s “Self-Controlled,” and/or “hey, just one of the guys!” from one who is… Well. Paid. Speaking of which, SideBenefit: thereby having the prestigious green Medium “members” outline, framing the perfect circle of my profile pic. Oh, and most importantly, being able to read the majority of my new friends’ content, which was mostly behind the paywall.)
But technically, my own content, which I had made with my own mind and hands, but using Medium’s software, wasn’t even mine. To be honest, I’m not sure if it truly is here on WordPress, either. I haven’t read the fine print. I used to read the fine print and then cower away to retreat in darkness, only publishing inside my own private journal. It was all too scary, too horrifying, too sinister. The disillusionment in the fact that the idea of self-control is all illusions.
So anyway, on Medium, I had no “platform” “of my own” to customize. I could not organize my own articles in the way I wanted them to appear. My articles were interspersed with my comments on others’ articles, listed on my profile page.
Other Medium authors were adapting by making articles which listed their own articles. Still others (usually the self-promoting folks I’d “followed back,” and whose content I *didn’t* particular want to see, to be honest) were adapting by creating “series” with only a link to the their latest article, because “series” creations (even if just a false front), were rewarded by Medium with a notification to your follower network — unlike articles.
I remember that to get to the content I’d wanted to see, which was that of a few writer friends who were not usually listed, way down in the small bottom corner section called “From Your Network,” I had to click and click and click. I had to go to my own user icon, scroll way down the list of menu items to “Profile,” which would bring me to my profile front page. Then I would click “Following,” then scroll down *that* list to find Magda’s content, Nesiller’s content, Erika’s content, Trisha’s content. Had they published anything new? Finally I could see: yes or no.
I was there for community, for fun, for creativity, for “bloom synergy” (as I like to call it), for interactive and connective growth — not political unrest. Not division.
Lately (and particularly, I’ve noticed, since my membership has expired), if I follow the above described route, as often as not, I’m prevented from finding my friends’ content, and even my own, for that matter, by encountering this error message, as I do right now:
Hmmm. Which to choose? Checking “site status” sounds boring (and doesn’t usually help anyway, in my experience). So here, in this moment, I instead click on “interesting to read.”
That link leads to “medium.com/topic/popular.”
Ooh. The political scene is relatively tame in my algorithmic pulse today. Medium knows how to tempt me. Here’s what I get to choose from:
“How to Be a Good Senior Developer” — Eh. More my husband’s speed; though he’s far too busy “being one” (when he’s not sleeping), to bother “reading about being one” (—he prefers Neil Stephenson in his spare time).
“How Britain Plunged Into Its Worst Constitutional Crisis in 400 Years.” Really? Capitalizing on slave ship headlines? (Or is that just me?) Wow. Plunging and plunging. Though perhaps befitting…
Moving on… So. Am I “Indistractable”? Only one thing is certain: clicking on that article will *not* prove it.
Thus finally, back to the top: “Crying interviewers, nothing’s off-limits” sounds more my speed. (Stinky feet? not a fan; but hey, in a house full of growing kids, it feels so much like home…)
Wise top choice you’ve presented me with there, Medium. I’ll take your headliner and raise you one.
So something crazy has happened to me, somewhere along the line. Is it just the hormones of menopause? It’s almost like I’m repeating my teens, but online.
I’m out there alleyway-walking, looking for “love” (i.e. likes) in all the wrong places. (Because the only “right” place is within.) Pretending it’s all right by paying my own way.
Words are my new drug. I go out looking for them. I put my myself out there. The other word-aholics find me. Like me. I like them back.
Maybe it’s time for an intervention.
[Lana Del Rey: Video Games; one of my favourite songs, circa 2014-ish… ]
*details may have been changed to protect the innocent and/or the normal.
07:34 1130 words
08:31 filled out the gaps. Added screenshots. 1750 words
08:49 and a few more words. 1915. kid interruptions galore
12:16 please stop adding words!
(1 week later) 17:41 publishing in wordpress. #irony
(3 weeks later) 11:?? didn’t actually publish before. let’s try now? Likes be damned. Or loved…
(8! it’s 8 weeks later! so bad at math.)
2019-11-12 15:34 few typos, grammatical errors/phrasings fixed, thanks to someone kindly liking this post, thereby bringing it to my attention again…
Credits/refs: This content was (perhaps?) inadvertently sponsored/enabled by a (hapless?) information architect who, when not sleeping or professionally information-architecting, sometimes, but not always, cooks food or performs home renovations while looking after the kids. #gratitude
Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Zone of Emptiness, France. Thank you for reading. ❤︎