Over the past few months, I’ve grown infatuated with a woman I follow on Instagram. Not in an erotic way, I must confess. In fact, I rather loathe everything about her.
I’ve never met her in real life, yet I follow her every post, mostly semi-nude and often misspelled, masquerading promiscuity as feminism like a cheap perfume you can smell before she even walks into the room.
I hate every single whiff of it.
Yet I can’t tear myself away.
Her shit poems and rarely tasteful photos garner thousands of likes and I’m perplexed and obsessed and disgusted beyond belief. And I can’t make myself unfollow her or even walk away. I don’t miss a goddamn beat of her pathetically oversexed and underloved soul on its journey through social media stardom. And I make myself sick and want to eat only cake.
And I absolutely loathe her see-through self.
The celebrity-like celebration of mediocrity. The emptiness behind the image she’s curated to an inauthentic perfection, guzzled like Gatorade by the overstimulated hordes, hiding behind smartphones, profaning every bit of everything that’s left to be sacred, tapping easy fingers to their hearts’ inevitable discontent.
And more than anything, I hate myself for participating. For being just another ‘like’ among the crowd, contributing to everything I know is wrong in the world, and really just wishing I had as many followers as she, and wondering if I should get more nude, more wild, more out there, so I can get thousands of faceless likes, too.
And then finally, by the sheer grace of God or something like it, I recognize that stupifying moment as my absolute rock-bottom and remind myself that I don’t actually believe the melodrama I’ve created in my head, and I don’t actually wish to judge my own success or anyone else’s as relative to the likes of those lonely-sad women I love to hate (mostly because they remind me a little bit of me), and I realize that my obsessive resistant-participant mentality is exactly what gives imbeciles power among the masses, to the very extent that half a nation now calls Trump their president-elect, and we’re all left to suffer the consequences, when what we should have done from the very beginning is put down our smartphones and turn off the f&$*%ng TV.
Yes, you. And I’ll admit it, sometimes even me. Put down your smartphone and turn off the f&$*%ng TV.
... I wonder what my favorite Insta-nemesis is up to now?
It’s not an apolitical question when it motivates action, even in the most seemingly benign sense of scrolling through a feed with the security of an anonymity no one will ever know, and from where I can hide in my hatred, to hell with my own integrity, and make her more powerful over me, just the same. At the end of the day, the monster in my midst is of my own creation. Like Trump, the native son of our collectively numb, media-driven modern-materialist society. But alas, there’s hope in the sacred act of withdrawing consent. Because in the world I live in most days, where not all that glitters is gold, and people aren’t just brands to be bought and sold, and female flesh is more than just a flimsy fantasy, I have a choice in what I decide to see.
My attention is my power, where I choose to put it is my most important decision, and these dangerously ego-maniacal, soul-less things deserve none of my energy.
Because resistance only strengthens power, you see.
So please, Jesus Christ, for the love of God I beg you, put down your smartphone and turn off the f&$*%ng TV.