Compare thyself with others

Now, the TL;DR version of pretty much everything I've written before, because one, nobody bothers reading anything long on the Internet unless it's slapped with a patronizing label like "longform reading" (and, really, who reads anything longer than 140 characters online?) and two, my blog entries (or essays, if we're to go with the patronizing label thing) are boring and wordy and meandering and unoriginal.

I am an insecure person.

Since I can't make myself write a one-sentence blog entry (it is not an essay, no matter how avant garde an explanation you make), I'll explain how I got to this point.

The past weekend was the weekend when half of almost everybody was talking about the film version of that John Green book. Half of almost everybody, because it's a film that doesn't really appeal to every girl, but rather, this particular subset of girl who deals with her issues by wallowing in prospects of what could have been, and that thing they call "feels". But that's me risking sounding like a sexist again.

Anyway, a film like that means a new perfect boyfriend, and right now, it's Ansel Elgort, the guy who plays amputated cancer survivor Augustus Waters. I would write about him, but one, I've just written about something similar a few months back, and two, I'd come in without knowing a thing, because I steadfastly and vehemently refuse to watch the film. I'll just be annoyed that half of almost everybody found a new perfect boyfriend, a guy whose obviously fictional actions becomes the golden standard that real-life, flawed men must reach for - but he'll always be Tris' wimpy brother to me.

"I've read the book," Jill tried to reassure me. "Don't worry. Augustus seems like an annoying person to be around."

"And yet he's the new Josh Hutcherson," I answered, riled up by something I really shouldn't be riled up about.

"Well, everyone will fawn over a pretty face, kahit may substance o wala."

So it all boils down to the "feels" thing, sort of. I don't quite know how to definitively describe it, though. Feels. Hm. Truncated term for "feelings". Root word, "feel". An emotional response to something, whether it be a great loss or a great gain. (That was lazy writing.) But you wouldn't say you're having the feels when your mother suddenly dies, right? That's unspeakably inappropriate. The idea of feels, err, feels so frilly, which is why it's stuck on Tumblr, used indiscriminately by people obsessed about things, easily overwhelmed by the most usual of circumstances. "My feels," half of almost everybody would've said, the moment that "okay" scene on that film comes up. Not that I know.

I guess that's it. "Feels". Essentially it's the same thing as feelings, which you and me have - unless you're a psychopath, in which case, you just don't know it. But it's funny how things change as time marches on, and suddenly what you've always known isn't enough. How do you succinctly describe an instantaneous, overwhelming, gratifying emotional response to something you're positively obsessed with, like that moment when JK Rowling admitted she was wrong to pair Ron and Hermoine up, or that moment when Tyrion Lannister demanded a trial by combat, or that moment when that thing happens in that film? Feels.

And you bow down to whoever gives you the feels. Or anything like it, really. Culture of instant gratification, of the need for an antidote to cynicism, of relentless sunshine vanquishing the darkness of those who cannot be happy for one reason or another. So the guy who wrote that book that became that film is praised to high heavens. So is the guy who endlessly repeats statistics proving things are getting better. So is whoever happens to have Filipino blood, who becomes an arguably sensational success abroad. So is Ansel Elgort, a guy who is paid to act out what his script says. All that makes me feel very, very insecure about myself.

"There are people who believe in actual perfection?" Nia asked me. "I think most of them are guilty of harmless exaggeration, maybe?"

"I think they are," I answered, "but, at least for a passing moment, they would believe that. And hold on to it, wanting it for themselves."

And why am I affected by all this? I don't know, really.

I mean, I have had my fair share of praise in my quarter century alive. I should write for a living, Sir Doy said, although I don't anymore. I can be a one-man magazine-making machine, no matter the stress that caused. (It's a realization of a childhood dream, but then, the hardest part was perfectly stapling pieces of bond paper together.) And it's not like my life is entirely shitty. I get to travel, occasionally. I get to talk to people I shouldn't be able to, in theory, occasionally. I get to buy stuff. I get to feel things. For the most part, I am perfectly content with where I am.

But, you know, feels. It's such a big thing. You say you are above that, but the waters just keep going higher, and the next thing you know, you're drowning. Today marks eighteen months since Rainy and I said yes to each other - and we're "going strong," to quote a possibly still surprised Lau - but why am I still irritated when the new perfect boyfriend rolls along? If he's the perfect boyfriend, am I offal? Why can't I get just a few more people to adore me? Why can't I get just a few more people to just praise me, rather than point out all my flaws? Why won't everybody call me perfect? What do they have that I don't?

And this blog entry gets too long, and my mother would say I'm stressing myself too much, and everybody else says ignorance is bliss, so I should just shut up and shut down. Like this.

And your responses...

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Anonymous Prashant6/11/2014     

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