I have never been addicted to anything.
(Although there were years when I struggled with a compulsion to eat raw pasta, that is hardly the same thing as an addiction.)
This is actually a bit odd, because according to all the research, I am a prime candidate for gambling, alcoholism, or worse. But now I have an addiction to social media. Facebook, to be precise.
It’s not surprising. On Facebook, sometimes I feel visible.
Most of the time, I don’t.
I suppose the vicious cycle of chasing the very occasional high is the same mechanism of all addictions, though.
Addicted to Likes. And hearts. And “wow” faces. And I’m addicted to the diversion.
I am so miserable/angry/offended/envious that I am blissfully unaware of (thus, not responsible for) my own procrastination.
The scientific studies out there tell us how destructive social media addiction can be. The comparisons we make. And I see that. The dissatisfaction I experience because I am not the poet I know who paddle-boards with famous friends in the afternoons, who lives on the coast with a view of the ocean. I’m not as pretty, not as successful, not as admired–It is sometimes overwhelming: all of the things I’m not.
I often say that I’m not competitive, but that is not true. Aren’t we all? At least with ourselves? What would be good enough? The grass is always greener. And we are all on the Hedonic treadmill.
There are also those who say to follow your envy. Acknowledge it to yourself and you will know what you really want.
This used to make a lot of sense to me. But if what I want, what I am chasing is the image of having done something, of being something, rather than the experience of doing, then envy is not constructive.
Since this summer on the plateau, I have fantasized about the quiet.
I’ve wanted to move to a cabin out there and live an isolated life, to call on friends to appear when I am in the mood. (The social exception to the rule of my solitude.)
There would be images of me (taken by God-knows-who) alone on the porch, wrapped in a hand-made blanket, a mug of boiled coffee in hand: the poet looking wistfully over the landscape. There would also be images of candlelight dinners with glinting wine glasses, my lover and all my laughing friends: all on Instagram.
And I would be pretty. Elegant. I would have that x-factor of literary royalty.
I know that isn’t the real world. But it is a horrifying realization: that, at my age, on the level of idealisation of a perfect life, I am still operating with such a narcissistic conceptualization of the world.
In my real life I know better. I need to spend more time here. Because I seriously doubt I would like paddle-boarding , and this whole envy-thing is nothing more than another diversion.