So, about the YouTube thing. The world now is obsessed with social media, and I get it, it’s disgusting. One of the biggest reasons I want to delete my channel is because it horrifies me that I can’t control what other people interpret about me the second they find their way deep enough into my social media rabbit hole.
I know that you can’t control how other people see you no matter what you do, but it’s just that… I get it. The temptation to assume that I’m just another name on the infinite list of attention-hungry millennials looking for someone – anyone – to tell them they’re special, to make them feel like their mostly mundane life is actually worth paying attention to.
And I know that any good therapist or friend would say that it shouldn’t matter what people think if you know that they’re wrong… and I do know that they’re wrong. I’m not that person. I’m shy. I can crave attention and validation and spotlight, I guess, sure, but mainly I’m just sweaty, uncomfortable in my own skin, and unwilling to waste time getting to know people if they aren’t looking for the truth. The whole truth. You know?
Working with kids has been interesting. It’s been reminding me that deep down, we all just want to be known. We all were once children who would spill our entire life stories to a stranger just to remind ourselves that we exist, that we HAD a life story at all, no matter how short. Because to us, that’s all there was, so every tiny part mattered. There was no sense of proportion, of our favorite color being less important than what we wanted to be when we grew up, or whatever. It all mattered and we wanted it all to be seen.
I think that’s all adults want too, but it gets so much more complicated because we get so much more complicated. I, for example, have all kinds of weird shit in my brain and in my life that you just can’t share in most contexts, but for whatever reason on the internet, that kind of thing is fair game. Because, why? Maybe because it feels private and public at the same time? Or because everyone online is just trying to one up each other in terms of being unique and special and interesting? Or maybe because deep down I pretty much believe that the vast majority of people just don’t care enough to do a deep dive into someone else’s timeline.
That’s another thing adults and children have in common: we’re all excruciatingly self-absorbed. But kids… I think kids haven’t yet begun to see other people as fundamentally predictable, so maybe they still find other people interesting in a way adults often don’t unless they want something out of you.
Anyway. I’ve been enjoying proving to myself that I’m not the person who makes YouTube videos because they want attention or fame or whatever by taking a break from all of that. And it’s nice to know that these days, if anyone wants to creep on my social media, they have to come here. That feels nice. Less shallow, or maybe more under my control because it’s harder to misinterpret something if you’re forced to really engage with it, like you have to if you’re reading a blog post.
But uh, yeah. It hardly seems fair, being raised in the age of social media. It feels like it was never a choice, and now it’s just all so… I don’t know.
One thing about kids that I appreciate, too, is… they’re real. And that much I know to be true about me, too. When I’m not sure of anything else about myself, I will never doubt that I am incapable of being anything other than me. Sometimes that can feel crippling, but I think it’s also maybe the best thing about me, and the reason other people who are the same way seem to respond to me, why kids seem to respond to me. When you’re real, when you’re honest, and you don’t talk down to people… sometimes magic can happen.
It’s just… maybe having power is something I’m so not accustomed to that… the magic seems more scary than inviting. It all comes with a price, right? I guess the price of mine is when you’re yourself all the time… you feel… everything. Every tiny moment of the day that other people don’t think twice about, to me those are all equally important. Maybe that’s why I have such a child-like vibe about me, that in so many ways I just refuse to grow up and start seeing things through a more proportioned lens. But to be honest, even though I know it makes me seem silly and naive to a lot of people, I still kind of hope that I never do.