Do you feel it: September blues? September always has been a melancholic month for me. The melancholia especially started when I was a law school student. September meant farewell to warm summer nights, late dinners with friends on the balcony and the vibrant city full of expectations where the days were still long. At the same time while autumn showed its falling leaves a new beginning was out there. Years later not much has changed. September still gives this melancholic feeling. A longing for what has been, for what is lost, but also new times ahead of me where the days are shorter, the nights colder and the wine is red and rich, no longer chilled and white.
Part of this melancholic mood is the way the world looks to me lately. With eyes wide open I look at her and at the moment it feels like I’m not really being part of it. It feels like I’m only observing and not participating. She delights me with her beauty, versatile character and heroes living in it, but she makes me also sad with her brutal murderers, cowards and present fakeness screaming for cheap attention. Lately I notice there are moments I feel less connected with the world than before when the days were still long, hot and sweaty. I see a darker world now in which countries are burning, embraced by human despair.
At many places around the world there’s a simmering tension, smouldering fires are waiting to explode. I know, you rather don’t want to see it. So once again you post a picture on your Facebook or Instagram of your new outfit or bottle of champagne that tastes so deliciously on your sunny loungebed along the Mediterranean sea. Applying a few filters to beautify the image as your pretty little face has to look fresh and flawless on it and, oh yes, you should quickly get rid off the cellulite skin on your butt too before you’re flinging your photo into the wide world. Of course, it’s accompanied by the empty words “mood” or “life is great”. And don’t forget to look sexy into the camera lens with your eyes slighty clenched and lips kissing in the air. Okay don’t laugh. It aren’t only some of us women who do this, no worries; empty-men-social-media-accounts we have more than enough too.
When I’m exploring Instagram I see many of these empty pictures, no real message, just sending out a beautiful face or tight and toned abs. I see loads of selfie-queens and selfie-kings out there. Social media is a way to get connected with people from all over the world, but I doubt if these type of posts will give the connection we’re longing for.
Our whole life we are looking for connection with the world around us and the people in it. It starts when we are kids and in the life that follows the desire to be connected with others won’t fade away. I believe we want to feel connected with each other to finally discover we basically are all the same as we’re all longing to be recognized, to be noticed. The real world offers this opportunity as we have family, friendships and lovers with whom we feel connected to. The world of social media has made the world smaller as we can connect with people from all over the world. When I’m looking at those meaningless pictures on Instagram even the slightest feeling of being connected with this particular human being is miles away. Yet, there are times I do and that’s when I feel inspired, educated, motivated and touched by what I see; for example a woman who devoted her young life to share personal stories of people who fled war and violence. Or some accounts about veganism that tells us becoming a veganist is one of the ways to make the world a better place, but still eat deliciously! Or the famous yoga girl who shares her ups and downs and shows little clips of yoga practice. It makes me think and I take small steps by finding that new vegan café on the island or by buying that e-book bringing wise messages we all could use well. And for me most inspiring, the writers accounts where I often find honest and truthful writings. I think social media gives us an opportunity to make a worthwile connection and in this way to be noticed, because we are so much more than this collective emptiness, aren’t we?
Of course I know that these small squares and hollow words only give a quick impression of that beautiful man or woman. It’s a snapshot and it doesn’t say anything about real life with its doubts, worries and insecurities. They are hidden, perfection is what you see. That must be damn hard for teenagers and young adults. All those apparently perfect and active lives full of success stories that walk into their daily lives. How can they become their real selves and stay like that? Not only difficult for the young ones amongst us, but perhaps also for the doubting thirty-something? Why everything must always be perfect? Most of us have such high expectations of life, but our lives are far from perfect. Life tastes sweet, sour, bitter. Rinsing with fruity bubbles is an option, but it does not help to get rid of the bitter taste in your mouth.
We already know that this empty exhibition on social media is rather fake, but could it also indicate the indifference to the world around us? We continue to consume too much, there’s global warming caused by our choices, the Great Barrier Reef has been pronounced dead, people are fleeing war and violence, the most basic human rights are being denied by various governments in the world, genocide still exists and there are hundreds of thousands of children who only know a miserable life in a refugee camp. To me it all says we can’t afford this empty bullshit any longer. Instead we have to make our voices heard. Support a cause. Keep learning and evolving. Ventilate our thoughts. Tell and show “the real thing”: make that connection by inspiring, motivating, educating and touching each other. Our impact doesn’t always have to be big or a succes. With every thought or action caused by our truthful words or image we win.
The good thing about melancholia is that it gives impulses of creativity and inspiration. I can keep my thoughts and writings for myself of course, but in times of Instagram and Facebook I can also choose to share it with others and perhaps even make a connection with someone out there in the world. Maybe the words I wrote can help or inspire a person, cause the recognition or adjust the opinion of someone miles away. Wouldn’t sister- and brotherhood make the world a nicer place to live in? Social media can do so much more to achieve this. Only if we allow our true selves.
Con mucho amor,