Je suis Dorian.

You go about the waking world holding it together. Presenting your best face. The workaholic. The stay at home mom. The perfect wife. The perfect Christian. The reformed addict. And then you’re here. Ostensibly anonymous. Words uttered without the threat of scrutiny. Without filter. (Or filtered through the lens of what you believe makes one most desirable.) And then there’s the validation, often for your most base impulses. Everyone is an author of erotica. Suddenly. Amateur photographer. Warrior. Poet. Philosopher.

It’s just blowing off steam. It’s not real. It’s just social media. It’s just fantasy. And it is. Depersonalization. We had the experience but missed the meaning. You connect without connecting. You are real but unreal. Imposter. Liar. Empty.

The You here in the virtual is the real you. This base, banal, disaffected creature is who you really are. Craven. Slavish. Voyeuristic. Compulsive. Joyless and hateful. Wantonly cruel. This is you.

You, among the living — that is the carefully crafted artifice that you cannot reconcile with the repulsive predator crawling through your mind. You come here to be true to self, not to craft an image. You are hollow in the real world, a ghost. It is here you are alive.

And thus, our social media accounts become our portraits, stashed away in our attics. Chronicling our every sin — the lies, the cruelty, the debauchery. The anger. The hate. The rage. We’ve sold our souls for filters and photoshop, attempts to stave off time and stagnation. To fill this emptiness, the deep well of existential dread that fills our waking moments.

Running out of time. Aching to escape the life that has happened to you. Cynical. Fragile. Wretched.

We’re all Dorian Gray now.

I see you.

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