I want to be more human than that.


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Courageous statuses that take a lot of guts & courage to admit warrant a record number of “likes” if you sculpt them right.

People dig the honesty. They well up at their computers. They support you fiercely with a “thumbs up.”

Just below those gritty statuses comes the powerful quotes. People can’t resist them. They “like” to say “Here, here! Thanks for glittering my webs with positivity.” People always approve of the status that gives them the vacation away from the person who uses Facebook as a diary to welp about bad service at TGIF and traffic jams.

Good news will herd in all the friends you forgot to unfriend two years ago. And selfies… don’t. Please. One per month if we must.

A “like” means Yes. I approve. Okay. Sure. Good quote! I’m sorry. That truly stinks. You go girl. Hoot rah. Better luck next time. The definition morphs like the skinnier skins of a chameleon on adrenaline, depending, of course,  on what kind of verbs & nouns you  hitch it beside.

 

I am almost embarrassed to unearth this Facebook Status Science that I’ve discovered in the last year or so. I blame it on the fact that I’ve always geeked out over social norms via social networks and I am a closeted sociology nerd who has yet to use her degree.

I am lost in admitting the harder truths: we’ve gone an extra step in sacrificing privacy to pedestal our own lives. We’ve pulled ourselves from moments, more sacred than we’ll ever know in this little lifetime, to arrange the coffee cups and share our presence at the indy bookstore with the world. We’ve fragmented our lives and boiled down each other’s feelings through likes & pokes & retweets & favorites.

Jeepers, I just wanna tell you this in my little corner of the internet: There has been nothing so glamorous about today. About eating cake because I have no groceries. And getting ice off the car with a tea kettle and shovel because it is lethally cold in these parts of the world and I am inept when it comes to actual “real people practical stuff”.

I love social media and how it cranks up our world but I still crave the moments that are for keeps. The conversations I know won’t translate straight into sound bites and book content. The moments when phones buzz from inside our heavy coats and we don’t even hear them. Because, yes,  your pupils look that dang pretty and I was never very good at taking my eyes off of you.

I crave the people who know me enough to ask me about my day. I need that. I really need that. Otherwise, you go for days & days only talking about work and the weather. And maybe a Kardashian. And you forget that there are actual bodies, actual souls with feelings, that have always validated your existence in this world with their unfailing love & presence. It was never about numbers or platforms for them.

 

I am afraid of becoming a performer.

Afraid that the beauty of networking through social will streamline into  a desperate need for approval by others, all of us governed by a “like” button that has become more of a “yes, life. well. done.” button.

I lose a little faith and then my mom walks in the room. She tells me she is headed for  drumming circle tonight to drum in the New Year while I am scrambling to schedule the tweets so I can see girlfriends tonight. And laugh a little. And remember to be 24 a little.

But my mama, she wears red flip flops in the winter and never fails to carry a kazoo. And she doesn’t believe in technology. Or punctuation. (Off, sorry mama.) And I have to be so envious that she has learnt to grow old without the unnecessary pressure of people who don’t matter.

My mama asks me how I’m doing. She’s never liked a status and yet she’s loved me deeply in an always sort of way. And her world is not cluttered by strangers and kids we all met in middle school who still take to “liking” our sepia-toned photos of wine and Thai food.

And, when she asks me what all this social media stuff means, I tell her true.

“It doesn’t mean anything. When it comes to real life, and real problems, the ones who care will call. Or text. Or find a way to extend beyond 140 characters to rise up and meet you at eye level. They press into you until you speak.”

And you have to be really careful with those folks. You have to make sure that you don’t get so sucked into performing that you forget the reliable ones. The good ones. The ones who stood by before we ever determined that 600 followers was a very good thing.

And. I’ve. Grown. Tired. Of the mindset that I must shine for the world through perfect glimpses of cropped images & fragmented dialogue that I pulled from a girls’ night on Tuesday. I want to be more human than that. i want to toast to a reality that ain’t so poetic or an actual status that is true for today:

I didn’t buy any groceries yet. I should have gotten them last week. My hair is a bundled mess and, left unkempt by a comb for more than three days, it will dread. I didn’t feel comfortable in my jeans this morning so I opted for a dress. And red lipstick. And rain boots that shine. Because I feel like rain boots should never be designated for days with just puddles;  They is just too fun not wear on a perfect little Thursday where the sun breaks through the clouds in all the right spaces. My dishes are dirty. My laundry is crying and weeping on the floor. My inbox looks like no one has ever loved it before.  And I realized just yesterday how people can break your heart just by staying who they are.

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22 Comments

Filed under Disconnect

22 responses to “I want to be more human than that.

  1. Hannah, my rule on the like button on Facebook is to not hit and run. If I like the post, if it touched me somehow is to let the person know that what they wrote mattered to me. It made me feel alive, maybe it moved me to tears. I detest the like button immensely. Like you, I want to connect, to be more human, to be a real person. What you wrote today matters to me.

  2. Liz

    “And you have to be really careful with those folks. You have to make sure that you don’t get so sucked into performing that you forget the reliable ones.”How awesome is that? This post was so timely. I just started a page on fb and I keep checking for likes… we need to truly come back to reality… Thanks for sharing Hannah. God bless…..he’s really using you to speak to my life in a very timely manner….I’m excited.

  3. Thierry De Wolf

    Hi Hannah,

    I always like to start comments or mails as if we already know eachother for years. I pretend that we’re the oldest and dearest friends, as opposed to what we actually are; two people far away from eachother, only portrayed by the avatars and pictures we posted of ourselves on the mighty internet.
    I like to think that no one can read this but you and me, but in actuality there will be thousands and millions of people reading this, now and in the future to come.
    Basically, what I’m saying is this: don’t ever let yourself get down by the responsibility of your own words or image. After all, we are only human. It’s okay to make mistakes, just as long as you learn from them. I could’ve refrained myself from typing all of this, perhaps it’s the fact that’s it’s been a long day (already past midnight here) or perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been working on my computer most of this day, but eventually, I was still going to say all of this this though. My point is that I do this with my own free will and without feeling guilty, and so should you. Whenever you feel like you need some validation from your followers or feel like it’s been a while since you’ve updated your status, it’s best to just have some fun instead and do something else, it’s how I deal with it. After all, I *still* don’t have a facebook or instagram profile and that’s one of the reasons why. I don’t see the need, when I want to be with people or go have some lunch, I just agree to meet them and do so. I actually experience the moment. Perhaps if it’s any consolation, I might direct you to a talk I saw earlier today on TED, by Sherry Turkle’s. It’s called ‘Connected, but alone?’ http://t.co/wbb5cFTI

    At some point, she mentions the phrase, “I share, therefore I am.” and it made me so aware of my actions for a moment. It’s still wandering in my mind as I type this actually… Anyways, I think I made my point by now. So I’ll leave you with all this, a warm hug (should we ever meet, it’ll be the first thing I’ll do) and a wave from a distance.

    Untill we meet again (or actually, untill you write another post),

    – Cheers,
    me

  4. Hello Hannah,
    That little like button has become a habit for me, but I feel if someone took the time to post something I like, then I should let them know by clicking ¨LIKE¨. I feel there should also be a LOVE button and a Hate button for the items I feel passionate about. Take a long hot bath, blow dry your hair, dress warm and do the lipstick thing and you will feel good as you go out to do your shopping. I feel for you living in the frigid north, I am in Fort Pierce, Florida and it´s very nice here. Wearing shorts, walking the beach, eating fried chicken and having a beer while watching others surf…
    A big hug for you
    Jorge

  5. I can totally relate. I, more than often. find myself ignoring texts because i’m too tired of the mindless conversations that take place on the device. No one understands this though in my friend circle. Instead they get angry if i decide to switch my phone off or not reply to them.

  6. Stefanie Couchman

    dear Hannah,
    so eloquent a writer you are. every sentence keeping my on my toes at the edge of a cliff overlooking a waterfall, wanting to know where all the water falls and to what depth it will go. Your words inspire me, not only in their substance and topic of conversation, but through your honesty and connection to self. thank you for writing for you. i am reaping mass benefits.

    infinite love,
    Stef

  7. Ahhh, who will not resonate with your eloquent lament if they have been involved in the online world for any length of time? It is always a balance, but then again, isn’t all of life a balance?

    It would be easy to say the only thing that changes is the kind of balls we’re juggling, but that wouldn’t be true. The current state of technology and mobility has so many things flying at us that I feel there will soon be a widely recognized psychiatric name for the disorder arising from such chaos.

    The first step is always recognition, and you have called the demon out into the light of day. Perhaps there, he is weak enough for us to harness his power without destroying ourselves in the process.

  8. Oh, Hannah. This touched my heart so much. This is a piece of a map that I’ve been searching for the key to lately. This has been on my mind so much.

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  10. Louise C.

    Once again Hannah I have opened my email and out wriggles the warm virtual hug from you, sneaking into my heart and my head, lifting my smile to the crinkle corners of my crow-footed eyes.

    You are a dandy lass that’s what you are. You are a lovin’ spoonful of the extra dollop of just the right words at the right time. Fearless. Majickal.

    Let’s all be Velveteen Rabbits and become so rubbed smooth by our hearts-on-our-sleeves, hearts-in-our-mouths expieriences that we become realer than real.

    Love to you. Always.

  11. andrea "aj" jorstad

    After a long night of emotional struggles with an immature son who only sees things his way which then lead into a 4 a.m. fight with my partner, this is exactly what I needed. To have found just a little bit of peace in this never ending crazy battle of life, in your writings..I have crawled back into bed with a warm cup of coffee and am going to snuggle with my computer and your humanness…thank you. So glad to have stumbled upon you and via FB no doubt. Ahhhhh the internet…besos, aj in denver

  12. Mary Fehr

    Dear Hannah,
    I am beyond happy to see that there are people who feel the same way as I do! I miss the human, face to face conversations. I am a senior in college and as I sit around the dining hall table with my friends, all I can focus on is each individual’s Iphone around the table. We cannot even enjoy a meal together anymore without having our phone on the table in case someone else is trying to get a hold of us. What about the people right in front of us? You are a phenomenal writer and have an extremely inspiring message! Never stop sharing your view with the world! We need to hear it!

  13. jacheart

    Oh, Hannah, I am so in love with your thoughts! I am such a “showy” type of person, longing for others to see my prettiest hair days and my most eclectic coffee shop finds. I struggle greatly to simply live how I want to, without a picture to prove it to “my audience”. My relationship has been my saving grace; it is the most loving and healthy thing I have ever encountered and I feel no need to spread that on the internet (except here, oops). I have come to realize that some things are sacred and should be kept as so for full enjoyment. I am beginning to explore the idea of sacred pretty days and personal hideouts. Thank you for the encouragement to continue my exploration of the sacred side of life.

  14. Hannah,
    Go easy, girl. I’m well-acquainted with that glitzy status: so wise, so open, yet so aloof. Wearing a false vulnerability like some folks wear false lashes.

    I’m glad to hear that’s not who you want to be. I’m glad you’re seeking true connection. I’m glad you’re being intentional about your actions, about the ways you choose to reach out to people. It’s that which makes you seem like a friend, though we’ve never exchanged emails, much less shared a pot of tea.
    That’s special. Keep striving, keep that awareness. Nurture it. But go easy, love. If you find yourself playing a role, or being inept at basic life things, or doing something really stupid. It’s okay. You’re twentysomething. More still, you’re human.

    It’s okay to take the low road from time to time. Like it or not, you’re going to, so you may as well find a way to love yourself and your weeping piles of laundry.

    Hang in there.

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  16. This is amazing. Yes, Yes, and Yes! I completely agree with you. Social media is frustrating. I go in and out of wanting people to see what I ate for dinner that night, to going radio silent because…well, who cares what I had for dinner that night?
    That’s why letter writing has become such a big part of my life now. I love getting to know people on paper, not through their facebooks. I have had a few pen pals give me their twitter or blog sites and I don’t look at them. I want to keep those two things separate.

    This is a wonderful and honest post!

  17. Allie

    This is quite a phenomena you described. I also stepped back from Facebook. I was tired of posting and posing for Facebook, craving the likes and the comments of people who I shouldn’t care to impress, desperately seeking approval for my low self-esteem.

    There has also been a study about Facebook envy. People feel sad when they see all the glamourous parts of others lives and feel their lives can’t compare. Then they post the best fragments of their lives causing the cycle to continue.

    I am trying to keep in touch with the people I care about in person. Thank you for putting your words about Facebook, so eloquently and poetically. I have started reading your other entries and they are poignant and touching.

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  19. Ever time I read your words, I fall in love with you. I hope you don’t take that the wrong way. I don’t mean it in the romantic-fairy tale-love story way. I mean that even through your words posted to the internet that I read off of a screen YOU remind me how good it is to be human. How good it is to FEEL things. That it is okay to have dirty laundry (and maybe occasionally spray it with perfume and wear it again). That is it okay to smile when it rains or cry when the sun shines through my window. Even though so much humanity can fall through the cracks of the interwebs, YOU, Hannah, breathe life into the world with ever syllable you type . Even though our physical paths may never cross, I love you, and I am happy that I may read your words. I am happy that you share your thoughts and experiences with all of us who chose to read it. Thank you.

    -Megan

  20. This would have been one of those times I just click the ‘like’ button, because I am speechless, but instead I’ll just say it. :)

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