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Obsessive Compulsives

We’re driven by the edit.

The outside world needs to match the one inside our heads.

If it doesn’t, well then … we become disordered.

I guess that’s why they call it OCD.

I’m no expert on the subject. Nor do I claim to have been professionally diagnosed. But I do understand the feeling to an extent. A continuous loop plays in your head. Over and over and over again. Fix this. Adjust that. It hides under the guise of perfectionism, but commands a different army. You get stuck living out a sort of mental addiction. So long as your behaviors are tempered by reality though, the front lines can be kept at bay. I’ve found comfort in realizing that there are just some things that I can’t (and really don’t need to) change. Perfect is a matter of perspective. Personally, I’d really rather have peace of mind. Serenity. Cue the Niebuhr prayer.

But what happens when someone like me stumbles upon and enters the realm of the hyperreal, aka the virtual where everything is malleable. Yes, I’m talking about the internet and social media.

I think it’s safe to say that our generation has been plunged into a world dedicated to the edit. Everything about our online presence is personalized. Even ads have found a way to cater to our search needs. It has gotten to a point where the crazy “obsessed” few have become the model majority. Our compulsion to check our feeds over and over and over again is celebrated. How can I fix this? What’s the best way to adjust that? All our photos have filters. Every product has a review. Videos are no longer a reflection of life, but rather the other way around. We long to become the “perfect” image depicted to us by “real” people on Instagram and Facebook. Our own current president-elect uses Twitter as a source of world news. We want views and likes and shares.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m caught up in all of this. How can I not be? This is heaven for someone who craves the internal constant replay. Open the floodgates. Let the building of my digital utopian empire begin! Ugh, this is awful. Edit. Nope. Okay. Delete. Let me try this again. Let the building of my digital utopian empire begin! Mm, nah. How about this? That’s even worse. Wait. What am I doing? This is not the way I pictured things working out. Delete. Let the building … Maybe the time has come to take a step back and re-evaluate my intellectual investments.

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