A world of broadcasting, and here, I sit facing a journal. My ineptitude to follow social expectations puzzles me today as it did the first time I experienced it. I do not remember precisely when this was, but I do remember feeling a deep need to ask, “Why?” And then, in the face of cricket silence at best or “because that is how it is” at worst, I knew it would always trouble me, that there was something inherently different in my perception of things.
Of course, we all believe ourselves to be different when we are young. Naturally, I did find other mavericks—some who taught me to pretend by doing the bare minimum to be what society, as a whole, perceives a person to be, and some who taught me, by their existence itself, to never give too much merit to this want to fall out of the crowd, to try and live in the world still. This careful balance now sets the backdrop of my life.
Still, the utter ridiculousness of sharing every breath, recording and filming every second of our existence glares straight into my eyes, and perhaps, it is not the act itself. Perhaps, it is the broadcasting that is expected of everyone now—to get a job, or someone to read your words, or even find love, I reckon. And I did play by the rules for some years, but then, a voice inside me softly asked, “Why?” And when I could not answer, and when playing a part in my life instead of living it became too perverse an approach, I decided to stop and hide it all, tucked it deep beneath the smile when I tell people nothing interesting, nothing worth mentioning goes on in my life.
I am now protecting my life from other people. And sure, I know the perils of straying too much from the herd, so I share a taste now and then, like a piece of cheese on a charcuterie board or a sip of wine you could not afford a whole glass of at a chic restaurant, but when I see an opening, I make an exit, and I tell no one about it.
“Where have you been?” they ask me.
“Here, home, where else?” I tell them.
But I know what they are truly saying is, “We know nothing about you; we used to know so much,” and what I am truly telling them is, “I know, I’ll prefer to keep it that way.”