Goodbye Modesty

Look, I’m not going to go into some long diatribe about how tech has altered the literal face of human interaction (I mean, I’m on the Internet to write this post, so who am I to talk?)…but I figured I’d write a little somethin’ somethin’ about my perception of the way things have become. I’m a member of the transitional generation: I remember electric typewriters and beepers, VHS players and Facebook when it was only open to college students at a select few colleges. I remember little notes in my lunch, and post cards sent from Vermont or the postal museum in DC. I remember cursive written poorly on a lined paper, reading stories alongside my grandmother at night while she turned a literal page. I remember the darkness of the room, with the only glow the small green light from our new computer. And funny to think, I’m only 26 through all this. So much has changed so fast, I’m worried I might be losing that happy darkness for the sacrifice of something so much more…meaningless. Active wastes of time. Addictions. Habits. Selfies. It’s hard to believe a sense of modesty was more present in our lives only ten or so years ago. Now we ask the world to judge us. Now we ask the world to see how happy or sad we are. Leggo’ my Ego. It’s become so big it might burst. Like, like, like. Like, like.

So here’s a poem, you know, to further the cause.

Remembering Modesty

I knew you once when I was small,
a little girl of six or so
watching grandma in the kitchen make baked apples,
the smell of cinnamon so easy on a little nose.

I knew you once when I was bigger,
school a scary place then, but full of opportunities,
boys scared to call the house because my grandpa might answer,
his voice gruff with protectiveness.

I knew you, in the messages and wait times of dial up Internet,
listening to the music of connectivity
and the hope of four-hour conversations about nothing and everything,
a teenager who thought she knew the world.

I knew you when I told him no, I’m not ready for this,
and pushed his hand away like I’d swat a spider, even now.
You stood by me always, and I felt proud and shy and confident
that I was going to be someone worth something.

But like most friends, we started to grow apart.
With the social, came the need to be accepted;
with the need to be accepted came the photos of nearly everything,
the updates of nearly everywhere I went.

My Privacy, another friend, decided he couldn’t stay,
unable to adjust to change in necessity to keep private life,

And Modesty, you tried. You called me every chance you got, until one night,
I texted you,
fingers full of need to tell, tell, tell,
and you couldn’t stay.
You told me I’d changed.
You told me it wasn’t the same.

And years later, when I found how much liking had superseded love,
I called you,
begged for you to come back…

we chatted like old friends do,
as if it had only been minutes instead of days,
and laughed at the ways the world was mocking Privacy,
pretending to be friends with him,
the way friends do when they need something.


To feel like they hadn’t lost themselves
in public.

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