Insomniac Free Write

I’m sixty years old, and I should be past this, but when I even casually go through any of my favorite social media, the overriding impression I come away with, regardless of the type of video I watching or picture I’m viewing, is that I lost life’s genetic lottery.

For some reason I cannot fathom now, when much of our entertainment focus moved from Hollywood to locally produced videos, I thought I’d be bombarded less with perfect faces and bodies of people who seem to live lives without financial (or any other) constraints. I could not have been more wrong.

For example, I watch an excellent Book Reviewer on YouTube named Merphy Napier. In a recent video, she and her husband are spending two weeks in Puerto Rico on exotic beaches doing exhilarating things while they both look amazing. She manages to read several books and manga while she is there and does her usual flawlessly professional job of reviewing them, but what strikes me more is their sort of casually perfect life.

Meanwhile, here, my wife had knee replacement surgery last week, and I’ve been helping her with what she needs, getting her back and forth to therapy, picking my grandchildren up from school and pre-school, walking around with my (usually sunny) 6-month-old granddaughter trying to get her to stop crying, working on huge projects at work (while running back and forth between working at an office and at home), and having my heart broken at work by seeing friends of mine in the organization being casually thrown away by people who don’t appreciate their work. I don’t really sleep much, unless I take over-the-counter sleeping aids, and I look more-and-more like an exhausted Santa Claus — if he really let himself go.

Meanwhile, back on YouTube, here are perfect looking people changing costumes, performing amazing athletic feats, and aging into even more flawless sex symbols — even the ones whose channels are strictly about intellectual pursuits. My body looks like it was made from Play-dough, then beaten with a baseball bat.

If you look at the picture of the insomniac woman I attached to the beginning of this essay, you see the modern view of insomnia: sad, desolate, tired — but still perfect looking. Neither Hollywood nor modern social media can conceive of people who look like I do, unless the plot requires someone to ridicule.

When you see what (and who) people spend all of their free time watching, whether in movies, television, or on social media, and you realize that you have none of the desirable qualities people apparently crave, it can get pretty depressing. For any of you out there who think that only women think this way — that is, that they feel unworthy given that they don’t meet the physical ideal they see around them — think again.

In summary: insomnia sucks, knee replacement surgery is horrible, being homely is no fun whatsoever, and it’s my own damn fault I watch good-looking people on YouTube — I mean, podcasts arguably exist specifically so we don’t have to look at the people speaking.

Hope you all are sleeping better than I am.

4 thoughts on “Insomniac Free Write

  1. Oh Owen, Oh Owen, when will you learn?
    When beauty and splendour is just what you yearn
    You’ll join all the rest of the malcontent tribe
    Forgetting your wealth as a marvellous scribe
    You may be a shape that you’d rather you weren’t
    You may not be wealthy with what you have earnt
    You may often hanker to be a fat cat
    But trust me, your life is far better than that!

    (for American readers “earnt” is a dated word that was an alternative to “earned”)

  2. Let me share what I learned from my car (back when I had a car that I loved for its beauty). I found that when I was driving the car, I couldn’t see that it was beautiful. Only from the outside did it look nice. Inside, it was just a car. Steering wheel, dashboard, seats, gadgets. I don’t have the pretty car anymore, have a more practical one. But I discovered that something from having a pretty car, something that I recognized could work for me. I can imagine myself being beautiful. I am no fashion model. But I can imagine that I am. From the inside, it’s like being in the beautiful car. I have actually walked around pretending (only mentally, mind you) that I was a fashion model of 20-something. It not only put a bit more energy into my gait, I think it affected my confidence because other people seemed to respond to the implicit mood (which the actual fashion model probably doesn’t even feel — I suspect modeling is a high stress occupation). You can look however you want to look from the inside. You can be youthful Sean Connery. It’s all imagination. Might be better than the real deal.

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