Tears of the Internet Clowns

Unsplash Photo By Levi Saunders

I don’t want my friends online to see me right now. I used to be thin, whatever that means. I look nothing like the profile pictures of my past. I feel nothing like them either. I did a project recently with some students of mine. The project was creating a personal slideshow of your own life. Your friends. Your family. How you feel. And I felt numb. I felt broken. I wanted to hide. My friends have all changed and for many of my friends I personally feel freaked out about my past behaviors. I want to go on an apology tour while I have nothing to apologize for. I ignored them because I felt ashamed of the things that happened to me. I withdrew and now I am alone with a small group of people I trust. It used to be a large group. It used to be a booming community of people who I loved and those who pushed me to be greater, but now I kind of hide away.

Part of me wants to start over. Leave my old social media profiles behind. Create a new trail with this new community I am creating. One that isn’t littered with my past misgivings. I want to delete all the ugly marks and word vomit explosions that are littered through the internet with my name attached to them. My past crying out for help and sympathy makes me sick and embarrassed.

Looking at my old friends' profiles. Their selfies. Their marriages. Their beauty. Reminds me of where I’m at in my life. I feel listless and like I’m living a lie. They tell you that everyone else is feeling the same way too. If that is so then why is the opposite projected? If everyone else is feeling miserable, then why are those who share their vulnerability viewed as basket cases? Why do the beautiful people get to tell their stories while those of us without all the accolades just fade into this identity of nothingness?

I kept trying to become who I was supposed to be. I could get all the likes. I could post my engagement. I could post and promote myself. I could do all of those things. But it makes me sick to think about it. I don’t think I’m better than it, I just feel a pain doing it. It feels false. I can’t tell internet stories anymore. I can’t tell stories period. Even though this is a story right now about how I am struggling to tell stories. I hate it. It hurts. Do I continue? I don’t know.

I just don’t know if I can show up online the way that it looks like everyone else is showing up. It’s beginning to feel like my first time seeing a clown. I was terrified. The makeup was cracking and the smile was too big. Some of the lipstick was on his teeth, and the piercing blue eyes shone with so much pain. I could see the tears brimming underneath all the hilarious dance moves and honking noses. I feel like there are a bunch of depressed clowns showing their faces. Even with my faux vulnerability I too wear the wig and makeup and beg for money, attention, fame, and recognition. We claw at it. We crave it. We cry for it. It makes me so sick. But for some strange reason, I won't stop.

This macabre darkness that we are all avoiding washes us all away while our intimate truths filled with tears and brokenness goes unnoticed and met with indifference. We the abnormal, are not beautiful enough. Nor fit enough. Nor sassy enough. Nor black enough. Nor brave enough. Nor fat enough. Nor bold enough. Nor sad enough. Nor different enough. Nor strong enough, to show up in a way anyone will notice or pay for. Those of us who have no clue how to sell ourselves. We who don’t fit in any box, or at least fit in the boxless misfit container to be mocked and called confusing or extra. We the mentally ill who aren’t ready to have a positivity blog about it. We the liars and fakers who can show up in acceptable ways for months only to hide away other months. We who can’t hold a consistent audience due to our instability. What do we do? Where do we fit? How invisible are we? What fills our like sized hole in our bodies? Where do we fit?

This lostness is really a vast and terrifying feeling. They tell you it will end soon, when you stop searching to be found. I hope I figure that out soon.

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