In an effort to feel less alienated from my generation, I have created an alter ego and I spent my first day as her today, forcing a subtle transformation of my self.
Yesterday I took a trip from Parkdale, where I live, to The Beaches, where I was meeting some friends. The journey took an hour and a half. I spent the streetcar ride on my phone, first scrolling through social media. The onset of boredom took ten minutes. I moved on to scrolling through the app store, searching to see What’s New in case there is a fascinating app that I don’t know about, maybe one that is occupying the other twenty people who are also staring at their phones, somehow more interested than I am in mine. I am never good at being interested in my phone. I never know What’s New. I am not cool. I am not current. I am not In. I don’t know how to be any of those things. Problematically, I don’t care. I have no interest in transforming my face into a cartoon animal or a younger version of me or an illustrated brightly coloured etching. I cannot be fake. It isn’t interesting to me and it will never matter which is fine until I realize that it matters to so many people. So many people are interested in falsifying their image which worries me because, as a writer, those are the people I am trying to reach. I want to write for the masses. I want to get to them. I want the influencers to need to hear me but first, I have to learn. I have to learn What’s New. It cannot be done with my own attitude, my interests, my life. It will take a much more provocative transformation of self.
The transformation began today. I have always been fascinated by transformation. Transformation is the inherent pathway between beauty and disgust. It can be natural as in the case of the caterpillar-turned-butterfly or in the case of an earthquake’s destruction of a city or in the case of a human lifecycle but it is often times forced. The spirit of forced transformation is dependent on an egotistical obsession with self-construction. The Millenial generation, which is apparently my generation, has perfected the art of transformation. The technology that is relevant and current, the ones I learned about yesterday, are built to transform us. We are so obsessed with our images, tech developers have spent their intelligence engineering software so that we can stare at ourselves longer and wonder further about what we look like, what we would look like if and what we never want to look like. Now, in some surreal demonstration of the end of Canadian humility, we are all posting these images, competing for the most popular, more entertaining or impressive transformation. I am sure some of us find it funny but I am more than sure that a good number of us are hoping that the apps will transform us into someone who is more attractive. I watch the images flood Instagram feeds, Facebook feeds: women with alien like faces who are disguising themselves and I understand. The instant improvement is comforting because most of us will never stop feeling disgusting. This ongoing pursuit of heightened and true beauty is an absolute fallout of social media madness. When everything is a photo and everyone is a photo, those of us who hate being in photos really have no survival strategy. The ever-growing population of photos thereby feeds a culture based on a very specific, curated brand of beauty, a necessarily popular beauty which hardly matches a good deal of people who have every right to participate in defining the This of beauty too but who have been trained to deny themselves the right to participate.
I have been trained in said denial. My self got lost a long time ago and I have had a difficult time building her back up. I did not grow up beautiful and I do not think of myself as beautiful now. On a good day, I can actually look in the mirror long enough to get dressed and leave. Sometimes the process is even fun. Usually it isn’t. Usually there is no process. Usually I spend an entire day at home afraid to leave because I worry that I disgust people, eating a cake, sometimes still frozen, wondering if I should write down that I have eaten a cake forgetting all about the world, all about the trends, the news, the people. There is no point to self-construction if there is no perceived point to the self. Why build her if she isn’t going anywhere?
With the construction of a new woman, I call her Kara, I’ve begun to realize how easy it is to be as beautiful as the women who seemingly invented beauty. It is as simple as looking at the camera a certain way (I studied Nicole Richie) or taking yourself seriously or assuming a right to present yourself, to let her be here. Of course, it is simple to do that when I’m Kara because Kara looks and thinks like everyone else. I have let her be proud. I have no real clue what she is proud of but I decided that she’s proud and so that’s how she is. Instantly, Kara feels beautiful. Instantly, Kara feels everyone should follow her. Instantly Kara is obsessed with her self, with her audience, with her impact. I promise you that I have spent months believing in very dark endings because I decided I would never have an impact. I decided the opposite for Kara. And we had a pretty great day.
Today was simple, it was an Instagram marathon. Kara took pictures of everything. I have no idea now, sitting here, in my bare face, curly hair, dirty writing sweater, I have no idea what made everything so much a part of Kara’s world as if everything was placed on the ground just for Kara as if she had to report it because she is the only one seeing it because she is that brilliant. She isn’t brilliant. She took pictures of trees and rugs and clothing. But, her Instagram posts are more popular than mine. There is no need to envy her. I am her. At the end of the day, I do feel something as myself but I am not sure what it is yet.
This blog will be updated regularly, detailing my time spent as Kara. I am building her into a larger project which I still cannot reveal but something happened today and, if you’d like to read about the transformative process, please come back soon or subscribe.
As of now, you can follow Kara on Instagram @karakarrara