I will forever question the need for performativity.
Have you ever stepped outside the house, smelt the air and thought the world is beautiful, conscious of the fact your mind is unseeing the dog shit on the doorstep, the way we unsee the embarrassing moment someone trips up on the underground or the stray hairs gathering on the toilet seat.
We are consistently breathing an air of toxicity, a culture predicated on face value and yet most of us accept it, understand it, and swallow it with a dry throat. Others consume it readily, failing to question the possible covert operations that lay its foundations. For some, what matters is that we live to serve as symbols, living through a performative set of constructs.
But let’s say you stepped outside of this notion. What if you imagined yourself in the middle of the ocean, on a ship, alone, where no one is there to fix monetary sanctions on your actions, dictate your dress code, or even to give praise to the visionary identity you have carefully sculpted. What then? You are left with your thoughts. In a world where technology dominates both our social and political lives we are not afraid to confront the people around us, to shout for social injustice and stand up against oppression and the ethical exploits of capitalist industries. Yet we are ignorant. How many times have we sat waiting at a train station, pulled out our phone and scrolled numbly through our apps. It’s become strange to sit down in a public place and think. No notebook, no pens, no laptop, no phone. Whilst we confront the issues out there, we most importantly fail to confront the issues within ourselves.
If you’ve sat in darkness, in the middle of a field, where there is no light pollution, you’ll find the imagination creeps forward with exaggerations of monsters playing at the corners of your vision. When we sit in silence, the air becomes stifled and there is an ominous glow in the eardrums that begs for sound to break the monotony.
Have you ever wondered why creatives seem so open? Sometimes unhinged. We are unafraid to enter into neutrons, much like scientists probing at the limits of our consciousness, psychologists at our capacity for evil, philosophers, most of all, the ingenious madmen of social science creating rifts in the probable and improbable until the only logic that remains is-
Why do we construct our identity to fit into the parameters of a popular culture demanding stereotypes and conformity? Why even now do we have a paradox: popular culture demanded conformity but people stepped away, they became resistant, and popular culture took it upon itself to recreate the resistant, folding it into another stereotype.
Are we afraid to face the fact that humans, by nature, are simply dysfunctional? There is no telling what we are capable of, even if we think we do.
But oh how easy it is to say this is what we are, this is who I am, a kind person, a bad person. How wrong would it be to say that we are far more complex than the binary of good or evil.
Humanity is misconstrued. We’d do well to remember that.