I ate a rotten tomato today. Wait. I’ll explain later.
First, let’s talk about the woman you fell in love with.
You were her only witness.
She escapes her every day everything, the trail of her that leads from morning to night, the convinced regimen of nonsense tasks, she escapes mundane obligation to look at You. Something else was happening to her: A grocery purchase, a text message, a mental debate about whether or not she should attend a family dinner, a broken nail, a broken heart, a crafted entrance into her next meeting, something was Thinking for her. She looks up and she happens to you. You are the only one who sees her. She wore these jeans for you, she didn’t know it. She looked in the mirror earlier, wondering about her face, for you, but she didn’t know it. You’re a man or you’re a woman. But, you’re here with her. You are her witness. There’s nothing to remark on. The day continues.
That never happened. It never happens. It won’t happen.
Applause to the cinematic scene where two lovers find each other in a sea of people in those public places where only routines can take us, the depth of field shrinks to focus on only her, supporting the notion that She is a vision, that He is witnessing her, among the busy traffic of Normal People, these two very special Ones are the ones that can be seen. Applause to the illusion of people as scenery.
None of us can be seen.
I have become a little (a lot) obsessed with the reception of my image online. Since creating Kara, I’ve become unsurprisingly compulsively connected to my phone, making sure, I have to make sure that people are seeing me. That people are seeing Kara.
I blame nothing. I did this. I’m so glad I did this. Previous to this obsession, I just slept a lot and sometimes spent days reading but, otherwise had very little to do. Previous to this exercise, this “Hey Let’s See What Happens If I Seek Attention As A Woman Who Is Actually Confident About Gaining The Attention She Seeks” exercise, I hid. In hiding, two things happen: Lots Of Thinking and Lots Of Shame.
Very little action is taken when in hiding. Subsequently, all plausible action begins to feel valueless. To me, the end of this cycle resulted in pages and pages of redundant writing about me written to no one in particular, detailing a bunch of paranoia and more than a few reasons to dislike everything in the world. Negativity, I guess, is the summary but, let’s say Deep Negativity because I need to harness a point:
I’m a creative person, it’s a trait I am basing my entire life on, so let’s just all agree: I’m a “creative”. I am also single. I am also unemployed. I am without social stimulation (on most normal days). In which case, my Creativity becomes a garbage can of uneasy secrets and it’s useless. There’s no one to create for. The world shrinks. Meaning shrinks. I hate the word “inspiration” because it sounds like it was loaned to me by a magazine named “YOU” but, in short, there is nothing inspiring the artist in hiding. She is just recycling her anger and collecting fear.
Hidden, everything becomes scary. Creation takes revealing my self, all the things I’ve been able to hide until now, revealing it all to an audience of strangers, which I know, I have known that’s what it is, I’m a playwright, I “reveal myself to strangers” almost too often, but, this month’s transition from absolute concealment to absolute exposure, from Rachel to Kara, has made things very clear to me: I am not afraid of being available to you. Actually I love it. I’m awkward and I’m shy in person but apparently I live better when there are witnesses.
Because, what is creativity? Creativity is the individual’s capacity for invention, stemming from a deep sense of wonderment at one’s own failure. We want to make something new, create what is missing because we feel It inside ourselves, the It that has failed. It’s an incredibly alienating trait. We walk around, asking “what can be done”. A lot of people get to walk around just “doing” but, the artists are sure something can be done. If we hide we can’t do any of it. At least not anymore.
Our generation has fostered a growing obsession with visibility. It’s not just Kara and I, it’s our entire generation but I get it now. No one sees anyone. Not in the real world. There are no sexy stranger elevator scenes, no one is buying drinks for new friends in bars, we don’t sit on a bench beside a stranger just to see them, we leave space, we fake absence, we look beyond people. But, we don’t see anyone.
“So? Go online”, says the millenium.
“Get an application on your phone that shows your face to people you’ve never heard of so that they can validate the way you look”, says the zeitgeist of Right Now.
It feels shallow, doesn’t it, it feels like we all just want to “look good” but a lot of people I know post things online that make them look kind of dumb or really smart or incredibly sad or ready to Start New (Whatever that fucking means, thanks Internet for making us all chronically obsessed with immediate beginnings). I want to deny my previous thought that digital ego-building is shallow. It cannot be shallow because it’s so deeply human, to want to be seen or heard or loved, just comes from feeling hidden and isn’t it cool that it’s so easy now to come out of hiding? Is it more shallow than the deep nonsense I filled notebooks with? Probably not. Probably the same amount of shallow. The point is, one is connective and the other is a slow death.
Last night I went mental in a way I’m not used to: I really wanted to go out. I wanted to be with people. I messaged probably half of the people reading this. I had no plan for where to go, I just wanted to put on a pretty outfit, paint my face and leave the house and hear people and drink beer and watch laughter and be really beautiful, I was convinced I could go out and just be really beautiful. Not because people would be judging and validating me, but because they would just know because I invented an image and called it beautiful. If we want to reinvent “shallow” ideologies, then we have to redefine where they come from. Redefine beauty? Yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll go out and show up and do that.
I tried on three to four outfits and exhausted myself. I went to bed at nine.
BUT, I tried with HEART. And I tried. Which I’m not used to allowing myself to do.
The instinct to be a beautiful site for a room to see is not shallow. If that room is a page on Facebook or an Instagram feed, whatever, who cares, wanting to be seen is a beautiful thing. It feels like a joke when a woman posts an image of herself doing a yogic pose and writes #superwoman and means it. Yes, it feels like a joke. But, I’ve done that four times this week (different hashtags) and I can promise you, that woman really feels like superwoman. YES, to the woman who feels that way. She feels beautiful. She’s giving you her beautiful. Why is that shallow? That isn’t shallow. That’s far deeper than writing the words THIS IS HUNGER, THIS IS HUNGER over and over in a notebook and then falling asleep to the same season of 30 Rock after feeling sick from two beers.
We won’t be seen outside. It’s not what we do anymore. We have too many screens to look at, maybe or maybe we’re too alarmed and paranoid by consuming decades of highly entertaining but sub-consciously terrifying crime/horror/”action” but we really don’t look at each other anymore. Ok, I admit: Today my obsession with social media made me fuck up in the following ways: I ate a rotten tomato, my dog ate a burger king wrapper, I kind of ignored my mother when she was right in front of me, I spent an hour and a half taking selfies (of Kara but still), I wrote “I Facebook with precision” in a cover letter to a job application…I’m failing a lot. Perfect. How else can I positively create anything without failure?
The distraction is gross but it’s a joy to be so comically self-involved especially after sitting alone wondering about the man who invented the word Alone and how Alone he probably was. Let’s not even wonder anymore. There’s no point. You can all see me. I can see you. Let’s stay here forever.
This blog is updated daily, detailing my transformation into a fictional character who is being crafted for a larger theatrical project. If you like it, please share to social media, follow the blog and come back soon
You can read Kara’s blog at http://www.okkarablog.wordpress.com
or follow her on Instagram @karakarrara