BY HANNA STEPHENSON
My fingers hovered over the keypad of the phone clammy and quivering, my heart seemed to have packed up and left my chest, setting up residence in my throat, constricting my airways there, like an invisible noose was squeezing my breath out inch by inch.
My heart urgently needed to migrate north to avoid getting fly-kicked by my stomach, which was performing ever more grandeur somersaults.
My mind was on overdrive, a 4-shots-of-coffee-by-8am-after-a-sleepless-night sort of jittery.
Planning and pre-planning, strategising, and formulating any and all of the possible probabilities…
Alas, thinking was conjunctigated, flobflunktuated, floppily, cripplingly, truncated word vomit.
What the fuck?
Where was all my cool-calm-and-collected, quick-witted, flirty-dirty, cheeky-sneaky, hilarious, seductive one-liners?
I was coming up with nothing but an empty, bottomless void of anxiety and self-flagellation, like I had been catapulted back to my awkward, fumbling, painfully self-conscious school days, and had flunked a speech in front of the assembly.
A seething burn of frustration and exasperation slivered up the back of my neck, hunching my shoulders in a typical stress response.
I chewed on a fingernail as a pinched nerve tingled somewhere in my upper thoracic spine.
I’m gonna need to see an osteo after this tribulation.
Why is it always the same fucking struggle?
I suddenly experienced this deep sense of self-righteous anger, directed predominately at society and the modern dating culture…which presented itself in a glaring mental note to write a flashy facebook-status about it at a later stage.
For fuck’s sake.
I wasn’t even in the same room as this person — I was staring at a goddamn pixelated in-humane screen!
But why was my body telling me there was an invisible tiger in the room? I almost laughed in a sarcastic, cruel sort of way, maybe I really was losing the plot!
An invisible tiger couldn’t even fit in here, the elephant in the room is taking up all of the space. He plonked himself down unashamedly with steadfast determination as soon as I picked up this piece of metal-aluminium-data-engulfing-steve-jobs-piece-of-Chinese-slave-labour-produced-symbol-of-modern-disconnection.
And that elephant’s trunk is wrapping around my abdomen now, squeezing all the blood from my internal organs as it is shunted towards my peripheries, elucidating a typical fight-or-flight response.
We’re fighting make-believe.
It’s like there are Harry-Potter-esque, soul-sucking dementors all around us, except no one is conjuring spells to banish these demons, they’ve become such a part of us, we consider it “normal.”
There are no “boys-who-lived” these days, just boys with silent, numb hearts — we’re all dead here. Eyes vacant, faces expressionless, staring into LED screens. And I feel like these dementors are invisibly sucking my life-force out every time I play with the idea of honest communication and vulnerability via an empty text message.
My mind constantly fabricates that a “kiss of death” is seconds away, so my body is in a state of perpetual survival-mode.
And all I’m trying to achieve is a sense of raw connection with another human being.
Fuck, I’d be lucky to get a kiss of death — at least that hints towards some sort of contact with another being! I’ll take that living or dead, with a side of meaningful eye-contact, please.
But that shit ain’t on the menu in modern society, lest you be considered a clingy mess.
And that’s a title equivalent to societal segregation of the non-verbal, screamingly obvious, no-seats-on-the-bus, don’t-play-with-her, don’t-bring-her-home-to-meet-the-parents sort of exclusion.
In a society where separation and isolation is second to social-media identity, personal marketing, instagram-famous, fake communication and capitalist mentality, we need to see these times as a sign, to urgently form humane, mutually open, raw, connection.
The kind of lingering eye-contact, glistening with teardrops of truth, warm hands wrapped in the embrace of our brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, lovers.
Consciously choose integrity and honesty, over repressed silence, internal violence, manipulation to get our needs met.
We need to ask to be seen in the light of vulnerability, amongst all others…
Words connecting soul to mind, mind to heart, heart to men, all as one, and then…
We need to remember to see everyone as a friend — let the outside tests be the catalyst to connect.
Sip a little more: