Dont Let Me Get Me

Every day I fight a war against the mirror, I can’t take the person starin’ back at me, I’m a hazard to myself, Don’t let me get me, I’m my own worst enemy, It’s bad when you annoy yourself, So irritating
Don’t wanna be my friend no more, I wanna be somebody else, I wanna be somebody else, yeah—

Most days I wake up and get dressed for the man who hands out the Express at the metro. I don’t like him, and I’m sure he doesn’t care about me outside of pandering the paper. But he sees me every day, smiles right in my face as he extends the folded print. I feel like I need to earn that smile.

Makes me wonder if we lose the significance of common courtesy as we get older?

Ever watched kids? They smile at everyone. Their exuberant faces turning even a fixed frown upside down. The grumpiest of grumps want to hear that infectious giggle toddlers make. When does the switch turn? When does ‘new’ stop feeling so exciting? As adults we’re more likely to cut people off—headphones permanently attached, songs blasting words of being so misunderstood. Face buried in electronics making connections with virtual strangers rather than the stranger breathing next to us—if we do smile it’s more like a smirk, no teeth, barely lifting the corners unless you’re worth it, which a split-second glance from peripherals deems you’re not. Swift glances away because eye contact would invite conversation—and who would want to encourage that?

Casually distant, carefully disconnected because someone may want something and well, I have enough friends especially if you count the millions I correspond with daily online. Don’t have time for another drop in proverbial bucket of social networking. Potential for connection turned to criticism as we peek over our neighbor’s shoulder, judging the websites they visit, books on their e-readers, music blaring from earbuds. Debating their clothing choice, where they got that bag/watch/etc. Dissecting them piece by piece to identify who they are in a society where understanding is no longer as important as long as people conform to our internal classification system.

Finding elements that you like, dislike; ways to incorporate or distance yourself from other; making yourself more cool or less lame. Wondering if you fake just as much if not more nonchalance then the adjacent counterpart. So interested in what they’re doing, what they’re saying, why they try so hard to be noticed. Speculating on whether anybody is real anymore, thereby distinguishing yourself as the baseline for realness. Cataloging their actions so you can tell your online buddies the deets; having them acknowledge your existence with likes, RTs, favorites—little pinging awards of worthiness. Small gains to magnify your platform of followers; of an entourage.

Sycophants really: ‘Yes men’ who applaud how well you “do you” as your small deviations make you one of the crowd. In the end, do you really let people get to know you? And do they care, aside from you being a passing fancy?

So conscious of everything around you: making comments, throwing shade while you feign sleep—because you’re above the situation and the peons who involve themselves. Incited by a cause, by the title alone; deviating from the topic to lament on the tangents of your life. Refocusing everything back to your life because you’re so interesting and the universe revolves around you. While you have the attention, while you overexert to maintain it.

In a world where we try so hard to be noticed for not trying so hard, do you ever just want to be yourself?

The newspaper vendor at the metro may be the only one who knows who I am, actually sees me, and I don’t even know his name.


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