The unspoken rules of the curation of your social media self are similar to the ways in which you present yourself to people you’ve just met, or your the self you present in your first few weeks of a relationship. You keep it casual. You stick to the positive. You are to appear chipper, happy, funny, and at a safe, reasonable distance. We have all been there– we’ve all logged onto Facebook and felt awful about ourselves because it seems like everyone is doing GREAT– getting engaged/married/pregnant! on a fabulous vacation! publishing their second book! getting that grant that lets them take off work for a year!
This week, Entropy contributors graciously shared what is REALLY going on in their lives–the mundane, the insecurities, the sadness.
I’ve spent the last week worrying about my daughter’s weight. She is ten months old. A baby. An adorable baby. But I was always the biggest in my class. And I haven’t lost any baby weight. I feel so large and I worry I’ve made her large too. She is not even a year old and I already fucked her up. I am sitting here feeding her yams and green beans I pureed last night. I write for maybe an hour a day, if that. I read a few pages at night before I go to sleep. It seems like everyone in the world has a book coming out but me. I wonder if I will just keep writing books and they will keep sitting there unpublished for all of eternity. I don’t submit very often because rejection ruins my day. I keep waiting for the post pregnancy/breastfeeding hormones to subside but they haven’t. I love my life, more than I ever have before. But sometimes I am totally no body likes me every body hates me guess I’ll go eat worms.
poison ivy and calamine lotion, bored snarly teenagers and cramped living quarters, an anniversary night that begin with loving embraces but ended dissatisfyingly without orgasms; gutters overflowing in torrential downpours and the children, always the children– god, they’re everywhere in our consciousness, the children, with their needs and phobias, crazy medication schedules and yet the hope, always the hope…
Last night my wife and I were trying to go to sleep and outside the window, in the building across the street there were people screaming and clapping at midnight. Screaming things like “Hit him!!!!!”. We laid there for a while and every thirty second or so they’d scream “YEAH!!! YEAHHH!!!” and “HIT THAT, PUSSY!!!” My wife said, “What are they screaming about?” I guessed it was an underground fight club happening in an apartment over there. She said, no, it can’t be that. I said, “Do you want me to go over there and tell them to be quiet. I’m just kidding.” She laughed, “Yeah, don’t go over there to the KILL THAT PUSSY PARTY.”
Today, we found out it was the NBA championship that had caused all that. Damn, the NBA. We drifted off to sleep when the game ended, an organic thing, one thing making the other possible.
I am cleaning my new house. I’m pouring endless time into minutia: repairing garage sale purchases, hanging terrible garage sale art (oh the endless garage sales), caulking (oh the endless caulk, and the ensuing double entendres). The basement floods so we dig up the side of the house and install makeshift drainage until we can afford something better. This is our first home and I’m terrified I’ll ruin it. We both should be writing, reading, enjoying the gorgeous June outdoors, enjoying the fact we have a house (stability! no more pouring money into rent!), but instead upkeep consumes all available time. We have a pact: on Thursday, NO MORE. Houseguests arrive. They will be our first. Once they leave, I plan to read a book cover to cover and let the dishes pile up in the sink. He plans to revise a short story. Will it feel unpleasant, once we’ve settled in, to be this ordinary? Beneath this question, the real problem: I’m ashamed of homeownership in a country where property law has historically been used to consolidate the power of the powerful, especially as I watch so many of my writer-academic friends struggle just to get by. We don’t talk about the house on social media; it seems gauche. But it’s more gauche, perhaps, to complain about our middle-class anxiety about our middleclassness.
Where to begin? Last night, while trying to put on a pair of comfy Hammer pants (AKA harem, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the artist MC) I got tangled in the generous crotch, fell over and slipped a disc. I got emergency acupuncture and some elastic belt contraption to tide me over, because I have to take a multi-layover flight to Tennessee and I can’t sit down without screaming. In exactly one hour I am going to drink a bucket of sangria and then pack. I also just sent a text: “what is the feeling in Appalachia regarding tattooed ladies—do I need to wear sleeves?”
I am 42 years old and don’t have a bank account. I say I don’t trust banks, but the truth is that I don’t trust myself.
I always wear a hat. I have never liked my hair and now it’s getting thin. The reason I have a beard is because my chin doesn’t protrude on its own.
At any given moment I am convinced that there is a unilateral committee meeting at a secret location to charge me for every mistake I have made in my life. They are just waiting for the right time. This committee is made up of family, friends, co-workers, collection agencies, the vice president of Paraguay and others. My arrest could come down anytime I leave the house. Trouble is always around the corner.
I like a women until I know she likes me back, then I wonder what is wrong with her to like a guy like me.
If somebody tells me that they like my art I immediately think, “you must have terrible taste.”
The only time I feel like I can be totally myself is when Im around little kids, pets and city wild animals like squirrels and birds.
I have let everybody down and if the say otherwise they are just trying to be nice.