the first time i got a like on my first selfie i felt so alive. like someone was watching. like somebody really saw me. like somebody finally cared.
i’d just woken up. the photo was of my lips; twisted and contorted as if to signify some kind of digital angst or sexual depravity. was it ok to court attention? was it ok to feel wanted, attractive or desired? i’d seen so many before me fall into this incongruous hole of self-love; seemingly well-balanced everyday people for whom it was totally normal to point a camera at their face, food or feet and share these banal, completely inconsequential and meaningless moments of their lives.
how many likes made them feel significant or beautiful? how many comments did it take to make them and the projected image of their lifestyle worthwhile? injected into a stream of repetitive street art, sunsets, scantily clad insecure teenagers and dumplings…these lonely symbols of desperation, these melancholic moments shared for all to see, were all veiled with the thin presumption that we actually cared what they look like or gave a shit what they thought.
is this what the visionaries of the past imagined when they dreamed of the power of the communication age? did steve jobs pioneer smart phone technology in the hope that one day the world would be flooded with photos of girls sunbathing, men posing after workouts and whimsical psuedo bohemian beauties hashtagging#wanderlust with photos of their feet in the sand?
we live in a world where the real world isn’t real anymore.
thankfully, my misgivings about the vacuous nature of this life vanished in an instant as i watched the likes on my dry lips pile up: 1, 2, 3 then 8,9,10 …into double digits. ten people? ten people out there in the world had taken enough time to double tap on a photo of me as they mindlessly scrolled down their feed. what an honour! what had i done to deserve such adulation? such critical acclaim. had i gone viral? i had never loved myself like this before. my self-confidence was at an all time high. finally, i knew what it was to have my fleeting time in this world validated by strangers.
but, there was a darker side to this world, i needed more. i knew it was only a matter of time before i’d post a photo of my whole face, then my feet, then my legs, my chest, my eyes, my cock…it was all up for grabs. the game had changed forever- i had followers. i had fans, and they deserved more….