Day 96 : Losing Intimacy

Facebook, twitter, instagram, messaging platforms, anything online - form a world of its own. It's a space where humans create a replica of themselves that interact with one another. It's an extension of the mind and heart that either masks or unfolds secrets and whereabouts. It is both a caged territory and a vast land. It is both a blessing and a curse.

When did looking down on screens become better than free flowing conversations?
We sometimes have this habit of checking our phones for no reason, but being locked in it for more than a minute just to "facebook" (v.) just wastes away precious minutes you could spend talking or laughing or simply connecting with the people you're with - family and friends. But the silence can become too awkward - sure, it's normal. But isn't that more challenging in a sense that you dive into the realm of reaching out socially with real people you see, you can touch, you can hear, you can learn more about?

I'm not really hating on this new norm, situations vary of course, but when I'm in it - it's a different story.

Since cellphones became a hype, my parents instilled within us the discipline of not using our phones especially when eating, having restroom rituals, and when we're having family time. The basic principle "there is a time for everything" applies. When you're eating, savor the food; savor the conversations that flow while eating. When in the bathroom, respect your body and let it do its thing without distractions and avoid the risk of getting your phone soaked by accident. When having family time, be in the moment and shut the world out. Stories and conversations, hugs and kisses, smiles and laughs, can sometimes be compromised when staying online too much. I know, because I once saw a family eating out - the teenagers where glued to their phones while their parents just quietly ate. Maybe every family is different, maybe every group of friends is different, but to waste minutes or hours on things you could do in a later time is just sad when the time could be used to connect and rekindle intimacy.

Being active in cyberspace does not make you 'sociable'. It's so easy to like a post, comment, share posts, post your sentiments and be expressive there; but it's pretty much different when you're with people. Everything is mostly genuine - the reactions, the stories, the little things, that reveal who you are. And I think this is very important, when establishing a point of intimacy.

I have to admit that I myself am socially active online since I'm naturally expressive and I like keeping track of my thoughts and emotions in a way, but when I'm with people I love, people I care about - family, friends - I shut everything off.

I'd lose myself in laughing and learning more about the people I'm with; I'd lose myself in my mother's embrace and sitting on my father's lap; I'd lose myself in my sister's stories and the giggles and side comments we share; I'd lose myself in the warmth of togetherness, and the powerful exchange of genuine selves. I'd lose myself in enjoying a cup of coffee while writing, without having to check my phone for updates. Oh, someday I'd even love to lose myself in the eyes of my beloved, where everything around us would not matter - not even our phones.