Time Spent Looking At My Phone

Updated: Mar 12

Last night I dreamt of losing my teeth. This is one of the most universal dreams; signifying insecurity or distress . Before I had witnessed my acquaintances bond over their shared dream. At this stage, I hadn’t dreamt that yet. I visualised the forfeiture of my front teeth for the first time last month. Since then the delusions have been ceaseless. This dream, however, was different and drastically so. Not only did my teeth fall out or break, but they crumbled in the cup of my hand. It seemed as though the more I taunted them the more they deteriorated, and the worst part was I didn’t even seem to mind. I felt confident in the fact that after three years of train tracks, my teeth were pleasant enough. Losing one molar didn’t mean that much to me.

Just before my teeth started to crumble, I had been in a room with two people I regarded as friends. One was a close friend, the other not so much. I wanted to take a photo of the two of them to remember that moment. A thrill ran through my body. I asked myself ‘does anyone really care?’

Of course, I’ve had this thought endless times before. Perhaps because I have been that person; as I scroll past persistent group pictures or desperate appeals. I’ve asked myself this too while posting a book I read or a piece I wrote. After years of discomfort I have settled for a shrug and reminded myself I make these broadcasts for my own benefit.

That’s the thing, is it for my benefit? The thousands of trepidations, tribulations, inclinations and revelations I’ve encountered, all of these from posting online, trump the benefits ten times over. I’ve been recovering from my relationship with social media for a while now. I used to tell myself that the negatives were worth the positives; that I had been exposed to alternate perspectives and been educated. Years down the line and I have registered that this information is based on lies, propaganda swayed to one side and shoved down data leaks to feed false information. I feel lied to, but I fell for it.

I have never not had vivid dreams. For years I believed that my dreams were the real me; I was living some sort of ordinary existence against that. Lucid dreams are familiar to me too. Although I don’t think I react the same as others. I’ve read countless tales that introduce lucid dreaming; in each one the individual strives to take complete control of the ability often at an unforgivable extent. I might take time to contemplate, but other than that I don’t truly embrace the ability to direct my limitations.

Throughout my ordinary life, I was, unfortunately, bitten by the mass media bug. This urge to update exactly where I am, what I’m doing and who I’m with. That in itself is not exactly toxic. Currently, I consider this a practice of commemoration. In years to come, I’ll cerebrate these pictures and conjure up stories about the occurrences. This habit is only toxic when you view the world this way. Believe me, I did. If ever I was with someone, I would have to take a photo. Be it weddings or birthdays or cafes or restaurants. I even used it as an encouragement to attend events. Often I dreaded the thought of leaving the house but convinced myself it would produce a picture to post. This engulfed my perception of everything. Hours spent on my phone experiencing the fear of missing out, the jealousy of other photos, the inspiration for my next picture. I may sound sick, but this is squarely how I saw the world. I was perplexed how people persevered before social media; no onlookers to admire their cappuccinos or perfectly orchestrated outfits. I can recount these memories so well, as it wasn’t that long ago at all. Minutes cut away from enjoying ourselves. Minutes where we could have been making real memories, replaced by minutes spent posing and fixing our shirts or wiping down our jeans.

I only got over this obsession recently. It was an obsession. How could it possibly have been anything else? I have photos of myself in places that appear beautiful, but I have no stories to tell from then. In parallel, I have no photos of places where my most told stories occurred. I should have known when my emotional connection in the real world disappeared, that my online life was more important to me than the one I was living. I should have known that when my dreams were more exciting than my reality, there must have been something wrong. After all, we can’t post about our dreams, we can only tell stories about them.




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