One of the major down sides of social media for me is access to second degree sadness.
I just don’t need it.
Sorry if that sounds cruel, harsh.
But it’s true.
I’m a sensitive girl already.
I feel people’s eyes. Their frantic glances, their furrowed brows.
I’m pained by the way they walk with their head down low.
I’m frightened when their steps get heavy behind me.
I’m deathly afraid of a silence that emanates from thousands of miles away. Because it must mean that something is very wrong.
I absorb another’s anger as if it’s mine
And I jump high at a cough from another room or from a firecracker from across the street or from a chair falling backwards with the wind.
As much as I love how connected we all are through the technology webs, I am also overwhelmed sometimes by
Death, sickness, loss, hunger, pollution, destruction.
Hurricanes, typhoons, murder, suicide, bullying, anorexia, drug overdose, car accident.
Cancer, anaphylaxis, SIDS, amputation, chemical warfare.
The photographs, the videos, even the messages of love and care sent from strangers to other strangers.
They all hurt my heart.
My heart can’t hold the sadness, though it’s soft with compassion,
it’s too too thin for the empathy.
And while sometimes my heart can hold it all,
Other times it feels filled up.
Like right now.
Tragedy, one-degree removed,
is life at 40.
Until it’s tragedy, no degree removed.
It was like this, I imagine, for my mother and her mother.
At 40, you start to know sick people, and people caring for sick people, and people who have lost people.
And you start to be afraid you are soon going to be one of those people. Or more than one. All three.
I am afraid.
And while I know that my fear is not a new one, not one invented by me or my generation, there’s something so much more vivid about this knowledge when it’s brought to you in full-color, in a row of announcements on the monitor in front of you via social media
every day, every few hours, every touch of a button
I need a newsfeed of life.
Call me naive, call me ungrateful, call me callous, call me whatever you like, but this is what I need.
A newsfeed of life.