Everyone’s hearts are dead.
Or at least wrapped up in so many layers of bubble wrap that nobody can get at it. Not even themselves. Or maybe some people’s hearts are not dead, but still pumping, but dead in their life, and that’s even scarier.
Now, what do I mean by that? No, people’s hearts are not actually wrapped in bubble wrap. Don’t be silly. That would be highly uncomfortable and impractical, maybe even life threatening.
What I mean is, people don’t communicate at a deeper level with other people anymore.
Most of our interactions these days are superficial, the coloured ink that bleeds onto surface of the water and looks pretty for a little while but eventually dissipates and fades away and leave the dark depths of the sea unplumbed. Sliced up, disjointed texts. Giggles with friends. Fun at the theme park! Let’s go shopping. What did you do on the weekend?
Now, being the emotionally volatile, sensitive and needy lass I am, it is possible that I feel this detachment more keenly. But I don’t think I’m alone in this. At least, I hope I am not.
And, contrary to popular opinion, I don’t think the Digital Age of emails, social media and lack of face-to-face contact has worsened this situation. Written communication is a medium I am far more comfortable in. People find it easier to pour out their feelings in an email rather than in person, because it is less threatening, there is less risk of instant denigration. I think it has, in fact, enhanced relationships, at least for introverts, and alleviated my sense of loneliness and detachment in the modern world.
But. If it’s not the Digital Age, who is the culprit?
Us. We. You. Me. Society.
Society dictates that conversations should be light-hearted and frivolous. Everyone just wants to have a good time. Why would you want to talk about death? You must be depressed for wanting to have a serious, philosophical conversation about death over the dinner table. Yes, I probably am depressed, but I wanted to talk about it even when I was not. Why do you want to talk about the meaning of life? Why do you always have to be so detestably dull? You like watching sad films? What is wrong with you? Why would you not want to watch Captain America and laugh and cough your heart into your hand like the rest of us?
Here, I’ll just flat out say it: this artificiality of communication disgusts me. It’s cloying and clings to my skin like gooey strands of congealing honey. Even after I wash myself of the day’s ugliness, the fake sweetness still lingers on my lips.
It’s one of the reasons why I’m depressed (yes, got diagnosed yesterday, along with severe anxiety, working towards healing, still have uncovered issues, thanks for your support and comments that encouraged me to seek medical assistance) and why I think so many people these days are depressed.
It’s why I just want to escape to a secluded cottage in the woods somewhere. Why I feel like I robot, going through the motions, when I leave the house. Why I sit on the train and see the hordes of people rushing in and out of the carriages with the same bored, blank look on their faces and feel an immense tiredness seep into my bones. I feel old watching them, and that’s not right. I may be an old soul but I’m still a young, sprightly lass and I shouldn’t be feeling tired of life before it has even begun. Why, as much as I like silence, sitting on a silent bus of strangers makes me sick with isolation, all of us sitting on our own sandy islands, stranded in the sea of life, calling for help while others, their throats hoarse, have given up hope, ears plugged with music, fingers jabbing at phones, seeing and feeling and knowing nothing. Fahrenheit 451 has arrived, ladies and gentleman. I’m sure Ray Bradbury would be devastated at the state of things if he still lived today.
And it’s not just strangers or friends. Even family. We’re all so broiled in our own affairs that sometimes, we treat our family members like flies on the wall, something to be tolerated, something that’s always there. We don’t even touch hearts with our own flesh and blood anymore. We all come back from school or work, sit and eat dinner in silence and then everyone retires to their own rooms with their own computers and phones and stew in their own misery or anesthetize themselves with work or books or movies. And then you wonder why people are depressed?
It’s why I find solace in the company of my neighbour’s very affectionate cat. Let me emphasise this. A CAT provides me with more love than people do. And why do I want people to love?
Because, deep down, I do love people. I just don’t like what this society has turned some people into, these desensitized, slack-jawed, heavy-lidded creatures, many of whom are depressed, hating their life, their job, their financial situation. Or maybe I don’t love all people. I don’t love the ones who will always laugh high-pitched and never take a look inside themselves and see what they find. Who are well-adjusted to this sick society. Who go to sleep satisfied, a smile on their face, pockets stuffed full of cash, lips greasy with their last meal. Happy because they are worshipped for their success, status, physical attractiveness. I don’t love them. They are the truly sick individuals. I think there is a hollow indentation in the spongy softness of their insides. A heart-shaped one.
Deep down, I crave affection and deep connections with other human beings desperately. You can’t imagine how much I want to receive and give love. I want it so much it hurts and I end up fumbling and bumbling to create deep bonds with other people, because I’m so starved of genuine connections. Too bad you need the cooperation of two hearts to make it work. And it’s not romantic love. Just, love, an appreciation of the human condition with another creature of my species. I want my heart to touch the hearts of others, even for a fraction of a second, because in that second, when I see into your eyes and my glance lances straight down like an arrow into your soul and I catch a glimpse of its shimmery wonderfulness, life is worth living for me. Okay? This is kind of a big deal. Life becomes worth living for me.
In the meantime, I will reach out to other hearts through this blog. I’ve contacted some of my readers and they were the sweetest, most beautiful people I have ever met. So, perhaps not all hope is lost. Perhaps the dreamers will just bide their time until this entire mud brick of a society disintegrates into a brown cesspool of misery and people wake up to the cold stone slipped between their rib cages and nurse them back to life, the warmth trickling down and melting icy veins. I hope we don’t have to wait too long. I hope the hearts will thaw soon. I hope.
Oh, and my heart? It’s wrapped up, too. It still lives, still beats, but it’s rather battered from overuse. I take it out now and then and show it to people who are also willing to unwrap and take out theirs.
And, on those occasions, we let our hearts touch.