the corruption of the digital heart
I’ve had people ask me how to become a writer before.
Only a handful, actually, but, when all three of them did seek my expertise, I was plagued with imposter syndrome.
I didn’t want to tell them how much I question that label myself, that identity, the validity of my words because no one is beating down my door to listen to what I have to say.
This disempowering mentality stems from the false concept that we’ve created for ourselves within the matrix of a world that equates the quantity of “likes”/followers with validity.
It is no coincidence that an article like this rides on the heels of Valentine’s Day, but, I had never before seen as many people post on Instagram about their significant others on Valentine’s Day than did this time around. However, rather than any expression of love I resonated with, each post felt like the product of a meticulous scroll through camera rolls for the perfect shot that emulates the idealized vision of “their person” matched with an obligatory sentiment pasted below.
My Instagram feed avoided discussing the hard times when one person is up and the other person is down, the times when one person isn’t in it as much as the other person, or the times when neither party is saying how they really feel because they got home late, they are too tired, or they don’t even know what it is they’re feeling for themselves.
Although I could observe these transparencies, I simultaneously felt guilty for not participating in this world of false perceptions. I often neglect to remember how Instagram functions like a magnet that the majority of the world is plugged into it; strengthening the power of its viral culture while subconsciously influencing the minds of the many.
Needless to say, I didn’t post a photo of my significant other. I couldn’t fully explain why until I started to think about what has been going on with me personally as of late.
TMI, but, I have had a questionable itch screaming at me from my posterior EXIT sign for almost two weeks now. After an inconclusive visit to my physician’s office, I took it upon myself to research potential homeopathic verdicts and/or remedies over the course of a couple days. Ultimately, after weeding out prospective candidates, I diagnosed myself with a candida overgrowth.
The second day of my primary stages with the candida elimination diet was Valentine’s Day, and I allowed myself some time to drop into meditation. I normally begin with the kundalini technique of taking deep breaths and holding them while engaging the mula bandha to transition my mind.
With each exhale, I began to soften, eventually receiving an internal notification to look up which chakra my mula bandha is associated with. I finished my transcendental breathing session before reaching for my iPad, receiving the results to the question .06 seconds later.
A link stood, glowing, third from the top:
To summarize the article, the author pointed out that the anus is “the point of elimination,” and that related physical issues are manifestations of an individual’s inability to release negative thought patterns and memories, emotionally accumulating stock piles of anger, guilt, and fear…
Those potent, palpable, easily denied words.
I had no choice but to sit with them. My soul connection with my anus was not permitting me to suppress these associated emotions any longer. So, I wrote down the three words and reflected upon the physical expressions of these words in my own life, eventually distilling them into two categories: my job and my relationship.
I wrote a book a year ago, and as the prime vessel of impatience that I am, I have been pushing that project forward with as much force as I could channel since. Actively writing letters upon letters to convince agents that I AM THE ONE THEY’VE BEEN WAITING FOR while subliminally brewing bitterness and self-doubt with every unanswered message, and subsequent dissatisfaction with the results.
Thus, I have not been a very good partner; you could even say I’ve been resentful while convincing myself to be grateful.
My partner supports me financially because he believes in my writing, yet I fight both him and myself on it daily.
I engage in arguments with myself about how my dream of writing is probably misguided due to a lack of tangible evidence (i.e. Instagram likes, responses from agents) justifying it with guilt for not doing something that is receiving feedback. Thus, as the “evidence” builds, my self-doubt/guilt festers until the pattern becomes so malignant that I give up. I starkly shift to researching graduate programs, putting my partner through the hypothetical scenarios of me moving away for six years to get my PhD across the country, not only rejecting his desire to support me, but shielding myself from having to accept his unconditional love.
My butt… These words… They were showing me how I won’t let go of what I cannot control. I won’t let go of the illusion that Instagram has hypnotized millions of people into believing is real:that life is supposed to look a certain way. That in order to “be good” at something I need to be compensated for it or that love is the personification of romanticism. In either case, we have unconsciously accepted this notion that how you go about conducting your life must naturally procure a glossy, coherent, and effortless shine by reinforcing it with the numerical beats of a digital heart.
I reflected upon these aspects of life I can see, but forget until my visceral discomfort—from what is happening both within and around me—can no longer be ignored.
I had been looking for someone on Instagram to break the mold of convention and admit the reality of their relationship. To honor brokenness; not as a Scarlet Letter, but, rather, as a part of being human.
What I had not been able to connect was that I had been looking to myself to be that for myself.
Not only had I not been loving my partner, but I had not been participating in the first step before that can even happen: loving myself.
Self-love is an archaic concept that we have wrapped in modernity with ritual baths, breath workshops, and manifestation lists. Just like we have a disinclination to discussing our relationships honestly, we have even more of an aversion to being open about and with ourselves. Yet, that is the gateway to self-love: honest reflection with oneself.
What is a ritual bath showing me if I don’t take it one step deeper, consciously wading in the waters of my feelings? What is a breath workshop teaching me beyond diaphragm techniques if I am not connecting to a greater force within? What does a manifestation list accomplish if I’m not actively working with myself every day to create a space of trust for that potential reality to fill?
To deconstruct self-love outside of a ritual act is to discuss the wavering engagement of love with one’s self influenced by one’s understanding of the world. Self-love gestures prepare us for the ultimate realization of self-love: a belief system rooted in trust. Blockages occur when we operate from a place that lacks trust; questioning ourselves and our actions, leading us to project our unresolved pain onto other people. Thus, when prompted with signals of this pain, we are asked to relinquish our attitudes, habits, and actions that prevent us from flowing through the well of love that resides within.
The link I had been asked to seek out during meditation reminded me of how every element of my being is connected to what’s outside of it. That the external world—whether it be my partnership, Instagram, or my job—reinforces my internal well-being and vice versa. But, this complex unity doesn’t stop there; rather, it leads us back to ourselves. The world acts as a mirror, reflecting what we are showing the world back to ourselves. Thus, if I am showing the world bitterness and frustration in action, I am going to receive that in thought, and that is going to be reflected in how I perceive Instagram posts or myself through another’s eyes. However, in a more positive sense, all that this means is that the world has shown us the power to change how we feel about our lives by changing the attitudes that inform our actions.
Upon returning to my place within through meditation, a shift took place. Background noise extinguished, creating silence for my body to speak. She spoke with inexplicable intelligence, reminding me of the greater process of life: the evolution of the self.
We get caught up in this external reality, striving to fit in, to feel relevant, to be seen, all at the expense of fully knowing ourselves. We feel pressure to act a certain way because we want that to fulfill that impulsive hole of acceptance. When social acceptance is one of the many representations of our mortal craving for love. But, what we rarely teach one another—in modern terms—is that we inherently are sources of love. Our bodies want us to feel good, which is why our bodies alert us when something is imbalanced. They ask us to take care of ourselves by giving ourselves the very love we seek from the outside world, but are not fooled by gestures alone. No; they demand our egoic surrender to the power within. They are fueled by honesty, reminding us that love is generated by one’s connection with one’s heart. Love is not monetary, tangible, rational, or easily articulated. Love is a process of forgiveness, compassion, healing, and understanding. Love is trusting that we already know how to do this with ourselves; thus, love shifts from a right to a choice. Love requires us to relinquish the distractions of the outside world in favor of the everlasting truth within. There we meet ourselves, and fill ourselves up on goodness and truth, to reflect the truth back to our partners through the mirror of love.