With social networks like Instagram, there is an expected endorsement with a simple like, but when it comes to our feelings, the other party may not be so willing to press the button. Millennials, including myself, seem to be so eager to document our food, our selfies, our adventures—vague little pieces of our self-puzzles, to the public eye. But when it comes to the magnetism we feel towards another human being, we choose to keep our posts to ourselves. We do not even allow the opportunity for a like to arise.
Feelings land somewhere between the physical and intangible. The lines effortlessly blurred by fragments of emotion placed on our fingertips, grazing the bodies of one another through the seasons, while our tongues occupy themselves with one another's bodies instead of our vulnerabilities. I find that I fall victim to keeping my emotions guarded. It is easier for me to breathe a man into existence on paper, rather than stand before him and open my heart to him. I bite my tongue. His taste still drips from the corner of my lips. I swallow, smile. The way he reads my body feels like living poetry, but I am not convinced that he would ever be able to read my poems. Despite his ability to undress me in bed, I cannot reach that same kind of eruption spilling words from these lips—and I am not the only one.
It is easy to maintain habitual relationship patterns over the course of our lives, but at some point, the road diverges between an end and a new beginning. Change occurs when we are able to step outside of our comfort zones. That's how we evolve beyond them. In social media, the only things that change are the filters. Though we often complain about the lack of progression in our relationships, we make a conscious choice to accept the repercussions of our uncertainties. We choose to deny the existence of exposing any accumulation of “real” feelings that could cause a sense of awkwardness or rejection. We quiet our thoughts through sensual touch and heightened arousal. We convince ourselves that the occasional shared moments with our partners that brush our intellectual surface will be enough to satiate our hard hearts. How strange a thought that we are less inhibited to share our nakedness and sexual kinks with our partners, than we are our feelings.
If there is ever a full expression of emotional honesty within our non-relationships, it maintains an heir of mystery, filed away in our private messages. We take screen shots of our rejections, and of messages marked simply as “READ,” and never returned. Despite our original contentedness with keeping things casual, we still manage to find ourselves in the midst of heartbreak. We are quick to label the other party as guilty, but forget to turn the tables on ourselves. We agreed to this, we gave consent to this 'fling,' but we are still hurt. We are a generation that thrives in almosts and what-if's. We are a generation that pretends to care less in hopes of building something more. We are a generation that cannot handle a conversation regarding our emotions in terms of our relationship status, because that would mean we'd meet our fears face-to-face. Our fear of rejection would no longer be safely guarded behind a screen. If we are truly content with ourselves, we don't post simply for the likes. We post because it's us, and it brings us happiness to share pieces of ourselves with the world. So keep posting yourself, someone is bound to like you.