To myself, 1 year ago…
A year ago, you found a problem.
It wasn’t very nice to look at, so you stored it in a box.
You took that box with you everywhere,
because you can’t just leave your problems lying around—
what if someone tripped over them?
Every now and then, you would open the lid of the box
and take a peek.
But the problem was growing uglier and larger,
and you worried about it getting out.
So you stopped opening the box.
For months, you carried it around,
as it rattled and shook,
and made ominous scratching sounds—
it scared you.
So you bought a lock.
After a while, that scratching became so loud,
that box so heavy,
that people started to notice.
And it didn’t take long
for more problems to find you.
You’re a quick thinker, so you found more boxes—
and when those ran out,
you used bags.
And you carried them all around with you,
day after day.
Eventually, you were so weighed down by boxes,
so loaded with bags,
it became hard to go places.
Having so much to carry
makes large places feel stiflingly small.
It took a very long time, and a lot of struggling to realise
that problems don’t belong locked in boxes.
You have to open the lid sometimes
and look them in the eye,
until they’re not so hard to face anymore.
As much as I wish you had known this
before one box became twenty,
before the problems outgrew you,
before the weight of boxes
became something you were used to.
I don’t blame you.
Because you didn’t know any better.
And even though I still have days
where I lock everything up in boxes again,
and struggle under their weight for a while,
I have better ways to carry them now,
and I know to open the lids every once in a while.
And it might surprise you to know,
that if you do drop a problem now and again,
someone will often pick it up for you.
And your problems don’t trip other people
nearly as often as you imagined they would.
Dear other young singles,
I have a question for you, what does an Instagram ‘like’ mean to you?
I know it’s a weird question so here is some background.
Dating is the concept of finding someone you like and asking them, do you like me enough to spend all your time with just me and potentially stop the search for someone else who is ultimately better?
Yes. I know, I am 25 and single. To quote Charlotte York from sex and the city ‘I have been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?’
However, the last time I found myself magically with a boyfriend I discovered a side to modern day dating that I didn’t know existed. A simple ‘like’ from the man that I loved on another girls Instagram photo threw me into a deep spiral of thought and panic. She was in a bikini, it was sexy, I wasn’t insecure but something about it felt off. Was it the fact that did he physically liked the image, meaning he mentally liked it? Was it that I knew that she would see his like? Or was it simply the fact that I knew I probably couldn’t say anything about it, because the action of liking someone’s photo on social media was a task, I found myself and 90% of the other members of society doing daily?
Ever since the concept of liking people’s photos on social media has completely changed in my mind. If I was in a happy relationship and a boy, I followed who was not my boyfriend took a photo at the beach and I physically liked it, is that on some level insinuating ‘I am attracted to you’? Or can we simply not let that much weight lay on the simple action of pressing like?
If I was romantically interested in someone, I would like their photo, whether it was a sunset or their exposed torso.
Maybe the true meaning behind everyone’s like is too subjective to analyse. Either way liking someone’s photo, no matter what percentage of sexual allure it is giving off, can be read into, especially by your significant other. Perhaps we need to think before we like.
How much does an Instagram like mean to you?
You were my best friend for our formative primary school years, and most of my memories from that time are with you. It does make me a little sad, thinking of what our friendship once was. After school calls on the home phone, friendship necklaces which never ever came off, secret notes traded in class (so we wouldn’t get caught talking). School sport, birthdays, you always had a spot at mine for dinner, inside jokes—we had it all.
When you told me at the end of the school year that you were moving away, it hurt. What hurt even more was that you had been moving away from me that whole year. I was suddenly unwanted; tossed aside for ‘cooler’ friends. Your words hurt; I was ‘weird’, ‘annoying’ and ‘too loud’. You stopped wearing our friendship necklace.
When you moved away, it hurt—I had lost my best friend, but really, I had lost you long before that. Now, you have found me on Instagram… no message, no words—just a follow request. I see how different you look, how happy you are, how different we are from those two little girls we once were. I’m happy for you. I hope you see when I like your photos, that you can tell that I’m happy for you. I hope when you see my handle pop up, that you think about me too, just like I think about you.