My physical body no longer feels like the “center of gravity” of my identity… my sense of presence is forever fractured and distributed all over the place. I close my eyes and imagine all the screens that are displaying my content at this very moment, I wonder about the total number of pixels I currently occupy, I feel like I am nowhere and also everywhere.
To be a woman on the internet, I’ve learned, is to perform vulnerability but carefully, and quietly. To mix in sensitivity with other, louder traits––cynicism, sarcasm, hyper sexuality––so as not to be seen as hysterical, or worse––annoying. I am constantly afraid that if I fuck up the balance, not only would men stop taking me seriously––as a writer, and a person––but other women might turn on me too.
The thing about alcohol is that it’s almost always something other than itself, not just a drink but a concept, or an identity, or a wish. “Let’s get drinks” is a shorthand for social interaction and one that I still find myself saying to casual acquaintances (or did before the pandemic). “I need a drink,” is a way of expressing exhaustion; “you need a drink,” is a way of relating to the exhaustion of others. Booze stands in for flirtation, and adulthood, and rebellion, a bad day or a good one, the permissive shimmer of a house party and the purring engine of a wild night. It stands in for comfort, and kindness, and good taste, and sex, and sympathy, and snobbery, and friendship, and celebration.
It feels like in the world of digital content, you either burn out, get canceled, or just disappear one day. Good internet creators don’t seem to ever get a chance to give themselves a good ending. There’s the expectation that everything online has to last forever — or be violently brought to some kind of horrible end.