On the Socially Constructed Life

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I, myself, wonder why I’m a reluctant writer. Am I a writer in the first place? Or am I just a person with too many thoughts? I sometimes hesitate to write because the moment I grab the wireless keyboard, place it gently on my lap, and start feeling the angular grooves and curves in between the keys, I am enveloped by a certain paralyzing fear. I am sometimes afraid of my own thoughts. Or rather, of expressing them.

I sometimes fear that people might be expecting me to say certain things. And in certain ways. If I don’t meet those expectations, I get criticized — my reputation ruined forever and my fall immortalized in the world wide web. But that’s too much, haha! It’s ironic, though, isn’t it? Now, we have the technology to reach people from halfway around the world, and yet we become more and more cloistered in our own little bubble. We are now more aware that people we don’t even know might end up being our ‘haters’.

And so we build up our own online life. We post photos of our happy moments. We aim to be ‘liked’ by a million friends and ‘followed’ by a million strangers. We create a profile of our accomplishments. It’s almost like creating a resume for social acceptance!

Thus, the fear. I am tempted to think that my generation is composed of a bunch of lonely people, longing to belong, to be accepted. But it’s sad to say that people now don’t necessarily accept you for who you are. They accept you for who you seem to be.

It sucks, but this is precisely why I value my ‘offline’ relationships. I value the un-virtual, un-digital moments I share with the special people in my life. I like the occasional trips to an unexplored town or city. I like trying cupcakes in cute little shops that have sprung up in this or that mall. I like the afternoons in Starbucks talking about random life stuff until we get distracted by a cute baby with super red cheeks. I like just sitting down and enjoying silences, punctuated by a pat on the shoulder or a kiss or a hug. I like walking around my old university campus while scientifically naming all the plants. I like being able to hold hands with the love of my life and tangibly knowing that I am loved.

It’s old-fashioned, I know. But this is how I know that my life, no matter how imperfect, is real.

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