It took one day for the social media illusion of confidence and capability to destroy my sense of true self. Kara’s looks, sounds, opinions and needs are no longer a mystery but I have lost clarity on my own persona. I have lost interest in my tangible presence. The humour and craft is taking over. True existence is confusing and sad.
Kara lays her outfit out on her desk, shoving the papers and notebooks of a much messier woman towards the window and decorating the bare table with clothing she will never wear. These things don’t fit her. She bought them without a thought to her own body but with every thought obsessed with proving that she knows what beauty is. So her things. She stands on a chair, aims her phone towards the desk and with the aerial eye of a fashion eagle photographs beautiful things that don’t fit her. Skinny women will finally envy her if only for her ownership of beautiful things. She spends thirty minutes taking the photograph, ten minutes writing the caption and all day checking the popularity of the piece online. She is meant to look for a job today. Jobs are everywhere, she thinks, I can apply to five or six later, she thinks, and she will apply to five or six later without any thought at all to her true capabilities or her level of experience.
The virtual construction of an ego allows for the end of listening, the end of time, the end of truth and a complete lack of actual self-awareness. A false self-awareness is hyperbolically available via the obsessive construction of one’ online presence. However, since the individual engaging in virtual personhood obligates herself to fantasy as a prioritized existence, true self-awareness is obliterated. We have become walking illusions or at least I have become a walking illusion on this second day of transformation, unable to make a decision, unable to remember what I like to do, unable to keep track of what I am doing: Should I wear make up, do I wear make up, what kind of make up do I own, why do I own this, whose things are these, all of it becomes suspect to illusion. If I were a more confident woman, I would decide that it is all mine and it is all meant to be there and then I would photograph it and tell the universe that exact message. But, I am not such a woman. Kara is.
Kara posts as many as four photos that morning, each taking an average of forty minutes to prepare. She then decides she’s posted enough for the morning and, in the afternoon she’ll resume but for now she really must find a job. There are two options for her. Either she is a social media content creator (since she is obviously meant to change the world with images of her clothing) or she can find work as a server (since she can do anything and at least in hospitality she can work within a trend but without a commitment). She has no experience but she applies to everything anyways, sending off repulsively confident cover letters regarding the skills she only thinks she has. It does not phase her that she will have to explain to an employer live, in an interview, why she is meant for the job in question. She only assumes that people want her and need her, that she can influence and succeed or, should she fail, that she will recover effortlessly. She is never intimidated. She has never needed to believe that anyone is better than she is. Five applications later, it is lunch time and time to consider eating.
I do not eat in character. I do not know if she eats yet. I highly doubt it. A friend asked me to lunch yesterday so, I went under the agreement that, when I am eating Kara will look away. I can feel her judging me for wanting to go. I know she will be judging me when I eat. I wash her makeup off and wonder if I should be putting on my own makeup. I cannot remember what my own makeup does for me. Or even what it looks like. I stare at my unrecognizable face and try to remember what I do in a day. Before Kara, where did my time go? What do I like to do? There’s no time. I have left myself no time to my self. I leave in a hurry without thought to anything.
I am having lunch with a friend. I love my friend. I love eating lunch with her. I am usually at my most comfortable when I am with this friend but I cannot sit in front of her and steady my self. I speak under my breath as if looking for my voice. I am lost.
Two emails arrive on my phone. Two job interviews. I have been applying to jobs for a while with no luck, expecting that employers aren’t even looking at my resumé. Kara spent an hour and a half applying to whichever jobs jumped out at her, uninhibited and unafraid and now there are interviews. How am I going to take these interviews? These are high-traffic high-dining restaurants. I have very minimal serving experience. These are scary places to me. I will have to go to a scary place and speak with a scary person. I am in an Uber with my friend, staring at my phone and I cannot process the opportunity. I don’t want these jobs. I can’t do these jobs. But I need a job.
Tomorrow Kara will have a job interview. It will be over the phone. She can be there without dressing as herself or maybe I will decide to take the call in costume. Either way, is it possible that there might be a truth to Kara? Is it possible that the illusion was a joke but the reality is a sincere addition to my own personality? I know I am more intelligent than Kara, more compassionate, more sensitive, I know I have good qualities that she doesn’t have but I also know that, in her obsessive construction of an illusion there is a truthful confidence that whatever she makes of herself, she can be. Why she chooses to be the person she is, I am still not sure. Her sadness hasn’t hit me yet. For now, I focus on the addition of confident instinct rather than the confusion of truth because survival is a matter of strategic existence strengthened by momentum and destroyed by doubt. Her illusion is the momentum. My doubt is the truth. I am terrified for this job interview tomorrow but she is ready for everything. Her presence might help. It might also make me look like an idiot. Somehow, though, it’s becoming much more fun to be an idiot because it makes survival easy.
There is strategic existence in being able to laugh at yourself, at circumstance, at life and at Kara. She is a treatment, lightening life slightly so that very little matters and a lot can get done. I can’t get rid of her now. She’s moved in, she’s looking for jobs, she might even have one by the end of the day: Kara, Kara. This is just the beginning.
You can follow Kara on Instagram @karakarrara