Digital Debauchery: A Self Reflection
I’m so inspired by Gabrielle Bernstein— she’s an incredible teacher, with a wild ‘herstory’ of courage, redemption and enlightenment. I subscribe to her #SpiritJunkie mantras, have read many articles, even noting specific details and anecdotes that made her seem completely human and relatable to me— to the point of musing that we could even be friends in real life. I, like many, am a really big fan.
Yet, as insanely knowledgeable and talented as I find her— after a fleeting moment of intense inspiration, all of that passion I initially felt for that wisdom and teaching will be gone, as if it never even existed at all. Alas, I’ll be the first to quip, “Ah, yes, I’m really into Gabrielle Bernstein,” but it’s just tertiary knowledge that I’m sliding by with. Of course I’ll tell you, “Oh, mhm, I have May Cause Miracles, Spirit Junkie, AND The Universe Has Your Back on my bookshelf.” Just please don’t ask me how many times I’ve read a single word of what’s inside.
And it’s not just losing interest in one teacher like Gabby, or even mindfulness, I’ve allowed myself to be intrigued by its principals on numerous occasions years before discovering her. I devoured Allen Watts ‘Eastern Wisdom Modern Life’ in my early twenties and would take exacting notes on his similar material. I’ve been moved by the insight of the Maharishi— even exclaiming to my father one arbitrary day in his kitchen that I wanted to get a “Master’s Degree in Mindfulness” from the Maharishi Institute in Iowa— and at the moment, I really felt it.
But the real question is, like the myriad other ‘interests’ that I need to acknowledge that I’ve ghosted, including— bare class, playing guitar (and cello), even a VC-ready fashion start up I single-handedly help build from scratch— Why do I find it so easy to abandon things that make me feel good about myself?
Similar to most things in my life, I let all of these interests influence me to the point enough to pique my curiosity until I have well-enough knowledge or skill related to the topic— yet, it’s a charade, I’m never really all in, no matter how interested I may truly be.
A therapist would probably tell me that it stems from issues of authentically loving, accepting love, and believing that I’m loved completely— and I would agree— but I’m also incredibly adept of switching those thoughts to the back burner of the annals of consciousness, rarely admitting weakness, like many women can so casually do.
It seems paradoxical because I consider myself fiercely loyal and loving—but I feel as if I just don’t know how to be all in, for anyone or anything, even if I’m desperate to be. A forest is just a forest to me; I can see the trees, of course, but they’re not separate— it’s an amalgam of both creating the whole— and that’s the same way I look at life; I have an incredibly difficult time seeing at each part of it individually. My life is the picture all put together, polished and unbroken— so long as you don’t take a lingering look at each of the parts that hold it all in place.
I hope though, that those feelings of inadequacy show one thing, above all else, that we’re only human— I’d be pretty willing to believe, every woman feels tarnished by their own particular brand of inauthenticity; we’re literally bred to be that way. We’re expected to be the –est. at all times—the smartest, prettiest, thinnest, realest—yet so unobtainable that it makes sense that we feel broken instead of whole.
Especially today, with visually storytelling our existences on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, documenting up to the ever-loving second of our lives. We’re instantly competing friend X, Y, Z’s day— most of the time without even recognizing it. For the longest time during my near-decade in New York, I felt compelled to be the first person reading that book, attending that event or participating in that conference—that coveted spot of being among the –est. With various media jobs, it was relatively easy to get into exclusive events, like under the tents at NY Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. But even awarded that sought-after access didn’t make me feel like any less of a peon betwixt high-fashionites— yet you’d never know that from my #BTS #LovingLife social feeds.
My #FrontRow spot may look like the tits—but is it still so cool and coveted when you know those seats were half-full because the real ‘influencers’ and ‘celebrities’ those seats belonged to didn’t care to show? Or that the label’s PR team chided the slightly bigger plus-sized girl next to you that she couldn’t move forward to ‘those seats’, but the rest of the could? Ah, our good fortune—which we don’t only cash it in, we wear it like a badge of honor in self-selected life feed.
It makes me think of the app, Four-Square— imagine if we were given ‘badges’ representing our internal, instead of external, social truths— ‘I didn’t actually read this book!’ ‘That latte was from another influencers’ Insta!” “I’m only showing my cozy socks because it’s noon and I’m hungover in bed!” We may be embarrassed initially, but wouldn’t we all feel more authentic knowing the truth about our counterparts?
Competition can be healthy, but nothing is more crushing than feeling less than. There is a common characteristic among all of the most go-getting women I know, and it’s the desire to be considered interesting, a little more –est. But imagine if we decided to embrace everything, especially our shortcomings, as they already exist? Consciously leading them, instead of allowing them to lead us? Maybe then we’d actually be something more captivating than –est; because, really, isn’t it our flaws that actually make us fascinating?