@Wheredidmyattentionspango

Written by Justin Eulalio

Cover Illustration by Emmy Brown

 

An example of who I was:

The concept of journaling, writing my everyday interactions on paper, always seemed cool and exciting to me. I admired my peers that kept diaries, and the movie characters underneath their blankets who held a flashlight in one hand, and scribed away with the other. For a brief period of time, I attempted journaling.

 

I was quick to realize that it was a workload that I was not willing to maintain. 12-year-old me was not fit for the Junie B. Jones aesthetic.

 

2012: I mark that year down as a year of discovery. It was the year I was finally awarded a cell phone— but not only was it a cell phone, it was a smart phone! Doors instantaneously opened for me.

 

Before this gift, it was not easy to access the internet realm on-demand. This new freedom and privilege transformed my utter being into the epitome of curiosity, and curiosity lead me to Twitter. What’s the difference between Facebook and Twitter? Aren’t all social media sites the same? How naive I was. Twitter was my platform, designed for me to share short bursts of thought; no elaboration needed in the slightest.

 

Because of Twitter, I was able to fulfill my childhood dream of documenting my average life. Instead of writing in a quaint little book, I typed my daily events on a small black box that was always so conveniently located in my left pants pocket. I too could be a journal-er, now with an audience!

 

In my case specifically, I felt like (still kind of feel like...) I had so much to say.

 

But why the hell would young-little me want to exert my brain just to relay the messages inside my lil’ head?? When, “I had a bagel today. It was pretty decent,” is considered normal content regularly posted online for the whole world to see, why wouldn’t I use that as an excuse to shit post on the timelines of the poor individuals who chose to follow me?  Wouldn’t/doesn’t everybody? For example:

Not only did I view this as something worth publishing on the World Wide Web (WWW for short), this was a tweet of mine that received 7 favorites and a “retweet.” With this encouragement, Twitter felt like my fucking stomping ground.

 

I could DO NO WRONG.

 

And it was this ego monster that in all literal senses ruined me. “What will get me likes?” was the constant theme of my everyday. I fiend for approval, and Twitter got me high on some dope shit. My phone notes were littered with text filled garbage, waiting to be vomited and consumed by the public. Yeah… it’s gross. My brain was a mass producer of phrases consisting of 140 characters or less, involuntary blurbs that lacked any grasp of cohesion.  After a while, the line between thought and “tweet thought” disappeared into an unknown ether and I felt incapable of anything that took elaboration and time. I wanted everything presented to me to be cute, small, and to the point. News, social interactions, all of the THINGS. All of ‘em.

 

The sad reality of the situation is that I didn’t actually realize this until the recent end of 2015, when one of my writing professors confronted me. “What the fuck is wrong with you? Why do you not give a shit about the world around you?”

 

And to a certain extent, she was not wrong.

 

It wasn’t that I “didn’t give a shit,” I was just too busy blaming the world around me for not conforming to my needs. I owned Twitter, why didn’t the world respect that? Why did everything in my life have to constantly test how far it could push me? Such dicks, I often scoffed.

 

But luckily because of someone putting effort and attention into me, I was able to locate the center of my dissatisfaction—ultimately self-inflicted. I didn’t give myself enough attention to figure out that my online validation was Tr-ASSh. And the fact that I was building myself around this whole basis, meant that I was setting myself up for limited experiences and a limited life. #Sad

 

This epiphany may translate as quite the cliche, but upon reflecting on it, it still feels just as liberating as it did when it was first discovered. And as someone who thirsts for constant progression, this was my gateway into a world of putting myself in check. It is a tremendous weight lifted off of your shoulders when you come to terms with the fact that you “ain’t shit, boi.” But like, I want to be some shit. Some dope shit.

 

I want to be a high experienced through what I create. I want my writings and music to be THE shit. So, I deleted the Twitter account spawned from the monster I was. I went as far as undergoing a digital detox, if you will, for a hardy month and a half. I read a book. Books are cool! Sure, nothing I do will ever be an instant fix. But I can put my finger on more things that I don’t like about myself and try to actively change them, so I can be the person that I actually want to be!!

 

And that’s some dope shit.

 

I mean, like, I’ve gone back to Twitter. But I definitely make an effort to actually put meaning into everything that I publish now, across all boards. And if I stand behind what I create, there is solace within that. So… on that note, my new Twitter is WAY better than my last one. Like, OG dope shit. I feel bad for the people that don’t experience it…

 

Contact Justin by email at justin_eulalio_thomas@yahoo.com.

 Illustration by  Emmy Brown .

Illustration by Emmy Brown.