You’re here because you came across this post while you were wasting your time checking out the lives of other people. Most of them are not your friends, really. Some are people you met just once, and you thought you could be good friends so you added each other on Facebook. Some are people who don’t even know you exist because they deliberately went to your page, and clicked “Unfollow.” Of course, you don’t know that. Mark said they won’t tell you that someone unfriended or unfollowed you. They’re too kind. And yes, you refer to him as Mark.
You want to be a founder, yes, just like Mark. You’ve been thinking time and again what cool thing you could invent. What unique business you could start. What domain name would click. What viral post would you post next that would satisfy your need for one, two, 20 thousand likes. You feel valued when you see that red number beside the globe icon on your Newsfeed. You question your existence when it’s not there. You refresh, restart, reset your phone. You review your timeline, “what the hell went wrong?” Then, you hate your life. Why do other people have better photos than mine? I look good in the mirror, but when I take a selfie, it doesn’t look nice. Must be my phone. Let me check how much a new iPhone is.
You are impatient. You want to get married just to see how your SDE video would look like, even though you’re single. You want to get pregnant just so you could finally buy those cute baby clothes and photo-shoot your child every day, every month. You look forward to long weekends, to holidays, just so you can finally book that cheap flight, and post on Instagram a photo tagging a location your friends don’t know of. “I’ve been here, you haven’t.” Makes you feel giddy all over, but your friends would appear to not have seen it. You keep checking how many likes your new profile photo accompanied by an irrelevant quote is getting, and you’re thinking of deleting it if it doesn’t accumulate in the next five minutes. You feel thankful and you love those who like your photos first, and disown those who don’t. You can’t wait for the three dots to finish, so you kept typing. And it keeps getting longer.
You want to be in. “Everyone’s posting about Marawi. I have to post something about Marawi, or else, my friends would think I’m not that smart.” “Wait, where’s Marawi anyway?” *googles* “Ah! There it is.” *types long post* You want to be seen. You want to be felt. You want to be in. “It’s Mother’s Day! Where’s my prettiest photo with my mom?” “Here! Now, what witty caption should go with this?” You want to exist. You need other’s thumbs up to make you feel that you’re alive. You like other’s posts, not because you like the post, but because you like them to feel obliged to like your posts too. You want your opinion to matter. You think you post about something to make a stand or to support a cause? No. Everything is all about you. You posted it to relieve yourself, that at least you’ve done something for that thing.
You are scary. No one knows the entirety of the things you do when you are alone, when you are online, when you are drunk. When you are a bit tipsy, what do you say? It’s easy to say you don’t remember. Pics or it didn’t happen; you take screenshots and right click + Save As photos of people who don’t know you have an album of their lives right in your phone. You are creepy. You spend time reading until their first post on Facebook. You’ve watched every single video of him playing the piano. You’ve zoomed in, zoomed out his photo many, many times. You’ve read and re-read your chat every time you’re bored. You search his name on Google, time and again, to dig information that could feed your curiosity. You stalk. You steal. You sin. You delete your history.
You are scared. You are scared of screenshots, of stolen photos, and candid videos. You are scared that your photo might get viral. You are scared that no one will like your best profile photo. You are scared that your well-written blog post will go unnoticed. You check again and again, last thing before you sleep, first thing in the morning. Sometimes, you deliberately leave your phone then check it afterwards. You are scared when all the messages in your inbox are all read. You are scared when you’ve finally read everything there is in your timeline. You are scared when, at first attempt, your password didn’t work. You’re scared when the signal is fucked up. You’re scared, ashamed, and afraid when you realize that these petty things are the only things you could hold onto. You are scared — shit-scared that no one cares about you.
Yet, the universe conspires and it says, you are enough. When you finally get that promotion you’ve been waiting for, that online course certificate you’ve worked hard for, that book you’ve been looking for. It’s actually easy to please you; every feat goes out on Facebook. Everything you want to remember gets screen-capped. Your curated Instagram page. Your filtered profile photo. Youe grammar-checked caption. Sometimes, these are the things that tell you it’s okay. You’re okay for now. You’re enough. You suddenly feel that you don’t deserve to be in that moment, you doubt yourself, you see your flaws, you check Facebook, and there goes the perfect lives of other people in technicolor — you like each post, hoping that they would someday, repay the attention you have given them.
You want to be something, so much that you lose everything, every day, and everyone is watching.
We are millennials. That’s who we are.