New year, new me. New year, new opportunity to stalk my soul down the corridor, across the river, over the mountain, and around my bedroom.
Sliding my pointer finger across my broken phone screen, I feel my skin catch and drag around the point of fracture, like a strip of fabric snagging on a thorn. I pull away from my phone before the jagged edge can draw blood and bring my fingertip in close for inspection. A dirty, gold-tinged half-moon straddling pink flesh, the fingerprint like crop circles or waves in a shallow pool, lazily approaching the shore. The skin remains unbroken, so I return to my scrolling.
I come across job listings littered with words that I recognize and use frequently, and that I still don’t understand, particularly not in this crushingly contemporary context. These are not words in sentences, but hieroglyphs strung alongside each other in a garland. “Best practices” of “brands” that need “cultivation” or “learnings” that pinpoint “space” to “pivot.” I am particularly intrigued by “brand,” because I can’t read the word without its second meaning bubbling up into the froth of my thoughts. To mark, with painful implications.
Living out my small life in a spiraling megacity, I often feel like an 8-bit creature composed mainly of a mouth roaming a spontaneously generated set of white-walled malls, hungrily swallowing products: ordinary products, but also lifestyle-as-product, ethics-as-product, individuality-as-product. Sometimes the marketing is devilishly creative, and the consumption at times satisfying—the equivalent of haute cuisine. But I am pursued by a hangover that seems to locate me no matter where I am, and an incredible, relentless urge to purge my body of the aftereffects of my things, as well as my job, my ambition, my aspirations, my expectations, and to keep only my little and lonely life.