Sad Things

I posted this on Facebook a few months ago, and kind of forgot about it until recently. People told me they liked the writing, and I like it myself in hindsight, so I’m transferring it to the blog for safe keeping.

I will not post sad things to Facebook.

I say it out loud, a sign that I’m trying to reverse a decision that I don’t realized I’ve already made. It’s in these moments that I feel particularly like a monkey, still desperately trying to solve the puzzle that got us here – how do I get my brain to feel the way it wants me to feel?

Sure, there’s hunger and eating even when I’d rather be skinnier. There’s a sex drive that leads to strange social actions. There’s survival, fight-or-flight stuff. A video game causing an unnecessary pump of adrenaline and a faster heartbeat. Hair and sweat and colds and fingernails.

There will always be evidence that I’m a physical being, a sack of chemicals, but nothing makes me feel more like a monkey than the Facebook alert.

I will not post sad things to Facebook.

It’s shallow. There are more worthwhile ways of getting attention. I have friends desperate to listen. It’s not a sustainable solution. Just fix it already.

Great, so I’ll just post about books. Normal people post about books all the time. Anybody know a good book? Look at me, I’m a sentient being with free will! Watch in awe as I resist the powerful irrelevant urge to post a hollow cry for help on the internet. Marvel in my ability to construct a normal, every-day, inconspicuous post about books. Observe the way I return to cleaning my apartment, driven by a need for order. Ignore the occasional glances at the computer screen, the wonder why nobody has responded yet, the sense that maybe I’m not interesting enough…

Hear the ping.

The alert found me in another room. For an instant, a feeling of elation. Feeling wanted. Feeling interesting. Feeling cared for because another person read my post that represented a sadness, and they reached out a hand, as I knew they would.

I will not post sad things to Facebook.

I believed it, wholeheartedly, even as I did it. My brain, desperate to connect whatever wires it needed to connect, simultaneously believed a fact and acted in opposition to it. In the next moment, I became aware that I had tricked myself into posting something sad on Facebook. My brief elation faded, halting whatever process my brain was trying to spark. The realization of what I had done terrified me.

So here I am. And I’m going to be honest with you – I’m sad. A lot of sad a lot of the time. And even though I’m working on it, and even though I have help from a lot of people, and even though I believe that posting this fact on Facebook is unproductive and shallow, the urge is still there. Some dark force of chemicals that can hide in the shadows of good intentions.

Fine. If this is what you want, so be it. I’ll post something sad to Facebook. I’ll try to scratch whatever itch you’ve told me I have. I’ll do it. But if you’re going to make me put myself out there, then god dammit you’re going with me.

Behold! That dark force. That chemical reaction. That depressing itch. That /thing/ that makes you want to post on Facebook when you’re sad.

Are you happy now?