Yesterday I had a bit of oversharing hangover and today I understand why: opening a narrative implies a responsibility to give it closure, and the development of real life narratives is often anti-climatic. I had dinner with Marta and her friends last night, really pleasant people, but Marta leaves for the weekend and the narrative ends here.
Last year I befriended a Canadian girl walking the camino. Her feet were in terrible shape, and she had a particularly gnarly blister infection which affected her gait, and over many kilometers this causes pains all over the body. On top of that, she developed a stomach viral infection, and vomited an entire night and then felt like crap for days.
She was particularly stubborn about continuing walking despite all her woes. Her body was telling her, in no uncertain terms, that she had to stop. I couldn’t understand why, until she shared her instagram: all smiles and success. “Erm, I’m not seeing any of your misery here”, I told her. “Of course it’s there, check out this post”. And she showed me a picture of herself with puppy eyes curled on a sofa. Her Instagram was 95% amazing and 5% kinda sucks, but reality for her was 5% kinda sucks and 95% misery.
Much has been written about people concealing their misery on social media, but seeing it was striking. It was as if her identity was composed of two different people: herself and her avatar. The avatar was making her walk despite being sick, because it’s easier to treat the real self as a slave than it is to downgrade the social standing of the avatar (by admitting you’re having a miserable time). The whole situation was leeching off happiness, health and presence from the real self.
I write this because I try to understand how one shares personal narrative online. Matching the experience of the real self and the avatar is paramount of course. But then the real self experiences strong emotional events which don’t necessarily lead anywhere, but become difficult to wave away in public.
Hmmm… After long consideration I sense there’s nothing wrong in my approach. I am imagining you, the reader, being disappointed at my experience, and I feel like I’m not living up to your expectations. But you are not the reader. The reader is a character of my imagination who is judging my experience. Things were written to record experience, not to impress anybody (even myself). There it is: the purpose of daily writing is to register experience.
I shall meditate on this.
There is no video today. I felt I would be repeating myself because the work day was very similar. But I’m finding myself thinking: _find what is new in routine experience.