I see things all around me that don’t fit into what I imagine life to be like in my head. I wonder, why is my imagination different than reality? My appearance, my home, my relationships — they all seem a bit different from whatever it is that I was expecting.
On a certain level I think this imagination is positive: it is theory — theory being, in my mind, the search for what is possible rather than for what is. I have always been one to love a thorough analysis of possibility.
The kind of disorientation I am talking about now is not positive imagination, however, it is planted imagination. Let me give an example of what I mean by planted imagination….For years, parents and educators have complained about the action figures that make their way into children’s hands after every blockbuster film. The complaint is that the children simply act out the known script instead of using their imaginations. The plot is planted and the child strives to reenact it.
That is how I feel as an adult. The plot of my life has been planted and I am trying to reenact it like a child.
I am trying to reenact what I see in films, in Facebook and on Instagram. I am expecting reality to conform to the scenes I’ve seen in films my whole life — and more currently, the short happy captions I see on Facebook day after day. Did we have a fun night? Photo op! Now, life is good.
The disintegration of community makes it such that Facebook and films are, at times, my community. Thus, instead of normalizing and acknowledging my experience, I am being shamed. Shame on you for having a boring life! Shame on you for not having anything happy to say on Wednesday! Shame on you for not traveling more! Shame on you for not having a perfectly romantic relationship! Shame! And I am shaming you when I put up my glossy perfect pictures and status updates. But what am I supposed to do, cryptic updates detailing the mundane?
I am not sure we’ll ever know how profoundly the media impacts we humans. I just know that today I feel like “the media” is better than me and I believe that feeling is fundamentally irrational so I am writing about it to exorcise it!