A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, May 29, 2017

Real Life

Apparently Instagram is the worst social media platform for your mental health. Who knows if that's true, but on a personal level, I do think social media exacerbates some of my worst impulses. Namely, the ability to present a picture-perfect version of my life. It also allows me to compare myself to others, who have the perfect boyfriend/husband, lovely children, cute pets, exciting jobs, etc. Underneath the surface of both my life and my friend's lives, however, the reality is less clear cut - health challenges, despair, and general messiness.

Friday night I "carpe-diem"-ed and drove several hours to my favorite theater to see the play "Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet" by Ann-Marie MacDonald. It was a mashup of Othello and Romeo & Juliet, but thankfully with more comedy. A professor, Constance Ledbelly, gets sucked into the world of those plays and tries to prevent tragedy from occurring. One of the themes of the play is summed up in Constance's closing monologue.

Life, real life, is a big mess. And thank goodness!
Every answer spawns another question.
And every answer blossoms with a hundred different questions.
If you're lucky, you'll always feel somewhat confused.
Life is a harmony of polar opposites, with gorgeous mixed up places in between.
Where inspiration steams up from an odd Sargasso stew 
That's odd and flawed and full of gems and worn-out boots and sunken ships. 

I liked that soliloquy, because I feel like it expresses the messiness and gorgeousness of real life. Things aren't always tied up in a neat, pretty, and perfect bow. Unfortunately, it takes our willingness to be vulnerable to share that craziness with others. I don't know if social media is the right venue for that. Is there a way to do it that doesn't descend into self-pity and wallowing? Plus, there are all kinds of people that I'm friends with on social media who I don't really want to bear my soul to.

Ultimately, the play also teaches that our worst demons (along with the means of defeating them) are within us - I think that's true of social media too. If you don't already have a complex about comparison, social media probably won't create one. The mind is full of "alchemy" as the play's closing lines put it. It can turn the grey matter in our heads to gold, or to junk.

The alchemy of ancient hieroglyphs has permeated the unconscious mind of Constance L.
And manifested form where there was once subconscious dreamy thought. 
The best of friends and foes exist within, where archetypal shadows come to light.
And doff their monster masks when we say "Boo." 
Where mingling and unmingling opposites performs a wondrous feat of alchemy. 
And spins grey matter into precious gold.

So, as usual, no solutions to an insoluble problem, just my random thoughts. Politics is unbearable to blog about, so I'll try to do some posts on recent travels to NYC, Iceland, and Seattle.

(Note: All quotes based on a middle school version of the play on YouTube)