I deleted the earlier draft, it was a gallery of photographs copied from the last month on my phone. I changed my mind. I changed it because some of the images that mean most to me are of the other humans that mean most to me, i.e. they are personal. They are deliberately captured moments that remain deeply felt. They are memories, altered atoms imprinted with experience, giving existence meaning, improving and strengthening who I think I am.
I deleted the earlier draft because I came to suspect that it was motivated by the need to be defined. I learned this phrase something like fifteen years ago watching an episode of Friends. In that episode, Phoebe was in that coffee shop, at ease, being friendly and her boyfriend joined her. This friend was not like the other friends, he was a cynic. Having had the opportunity to observe the friends’ winning mixture of joshing and self-deprecation, he couldn’t resist commenting on their group dynamic:
I hadn’t considered this in much detail before. Since that time (quite probably before, but the Friends episode is a convenient reference point), I sometimes question what motivates the wish to share my experiences with others. These are my thoughts:
- due to simply being human/ being a single parent only intermittently able to be with his lover/ being adopted?/ having boarded school? I find I sometimes need definition*.
[*I am defining: definition, as the comfort given when we have it affirmed that we are worthwhile, that we are lovable, we are attractive, and that our existence in the world has purpose and value outside of the value that it has to us. The need for definement is akin to loneliness.]
All this need seems a bit needy and I treat it with suspicion. This isn’t an original thought, I don’t think I’m alone in this.
My thoughts in summary:
- what is written here should have more purpose than a Facebook status update, or a posted image
- it is true/a cliché that being shown someone else’s holiday snaps is perversely tedious
- aren’t there more important things to do than to be writing this (be reading this)?
At the heart of my thoughts is that sharing your private life online is casting pearls before swine. I see that you are not entirely swine, but it is foolish to give precious things away, let alone set them adrift on the internet ocean.
I can admire dignity, or creativity in sharing our own perceptions or fantasies:
But uploading our children, or our lovers into the ether seems to me as if they are somehow taken away, like we’ve valued them less. So, I keep mine dear.
The images that I didn’t post are:
My son asleep My son and daughter gazing at the sunset from a train leaving Bath
A moth on my bathroom ceiling
A poppy A chestnut in full flower in Victoria Park, Bath My son in a sand-pit
J draped in a tree My daughter and me after swimming in the Wellow J and me at St.Pauls Carnival, Bristol
Our watercolours from Tintern