Burning in My Hands

“Growing in the age of social media.” 

I type the words unsure what I want to say about them.

But they’re on my mind this afternoon. 

Growth is frequently packaged as a linear, step-by-step process. At least, that’s how I’d like to see it. You start in one place, you take a journey, you end in a new place. My life doesn’t seem to agree with me. Regardless, I want it that way.

I’m getting away from what’s on my mind.

Changing, growing in front of people is…awkward.

I don’t know how to explain that nothing’s wrong–just different. That the Me my loved ones have come to expect is not the Me who shows up these days. I don’t know when or if she’ll be back. I’m an understudy trying to navigate the life left behind by an absent predecessor. I can show up. I can be attentive to the queues. But the costume doesn’t fit. And I can’t repeat the lines or hit the marks because the old script is slowly burning in my hands; at some point I’ll have to drop it altogether.

We wrap these moments in carefully-crafted memes of caterpillars, cocoons, and butterflies. We speak of phases and works-in-progress and final forms. We assure the people around us–and ourselves–there’s no need for alarm. Merely a blip on the radar before we become a version of ourselves that everyone will enjoy just as much as (or maybe more than!) the previous model. We “go dark” and re-emerge with photos of new bodies and new boos and scenic vacations and clearer skin; the Epic Glow-Up that made the painful exercise of putting down our phones for a few months worth the sacrifice.

Telling that kind of story requires knowledge of when, where, how, if it ends.

I want to know as badly as you do.

Unfortunately, I do not. 

Featured Photo by Sandra Seitamaa on Unsplash

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