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In the light of recent events, I’ve noticed that people are beginning to “open up” more. “Life is the importance now!” is the general message from almost every feel-good media outlet (and even some that are downright nasty). But why does it take 5000 lives for people to open up their arms and connect with each other? Give blood and friendship? Call friends and reunite with family?

A girl at the school that I attend committed suicide on Friday. I didn’t know her personally, but the general message circulating around the school is, “But she was such a happy person!” Now, pardon my helpless, youthful naivete, but does happy equal hanging yourself with a telephone cord? I have to conclude that her so called “happiness” and popularity was all a façade. She was frustrated, with herself and the world.

Now, these two events may not appear directly connected, but they both led me to wonder: Why aren’t people real anymore?

Is it just me, or are other people beginning to notice that no one ever really talks anymore? Aren’t themselves anymore? How there are so many people that you know, if only by name? The ones that you nod and (fake) smile to, the ones that you just talk about gaming and parties and people and irrelevance with? That sometimes you call these people your friends?

Isn’t it interesting how people say they want things like love and happiness, and never make any direct change as to getting these things accomplish? How people dismiss personal satisfaction to the luck of the draw and something that will happen to them when they decide to quit their soulless job, “once they get around to it?” I’m sick of life being so mundane. I’m sick of repeating the same routine, day in and day out, and never living. I want passion and sparks and a life well lived. And I want it now.

How many people, today, are saying “I’m fine” when they aren’t fine? When the pain inside of them becomes so deep that they can’t even bear reality anymore? That they wish someone would talk to them about feeling and life and the things that everyone dismisses as trite, but are really the most beautiful things of all? How many of these people commit suicide? Even worse, how many of these people regret never really having a friend on their deathbed? Who says “Gee, I wish I had talked about Carmen Electra more,” before passing on to the wild blue yonder? There are commercials on TV about talking to your kids about drugs. What about talking to your kids about reality?

And what about touch? I miss touch. Why is it that we have such we have such an intense fear of touch? Even a simple absentminded brush of the fingertips can visibly make someone withdraw in today’s society. That little invisible bubble of personal space keeps on expanding, and expanding….. one of my long-distance friends confessed to me the other day that they hadn’t been truly hugged in TWO MONTHS. Can you imagine? Babies withering away to die at the lack of physical contact, and this full grown sentient , intelligent, successful man not receiving any form of affection for two months???

Perhaps we’re just shy. Perhaps humans are just naturally superficial creatures, destined to shy away from the real problems of humanity with a nod and a smile. Perhaps the media has subtly influenced us to believe that showing any sign of emotion is weakness, that any sign of personal conviction is error. You think Big Brother isn’t influencing you? Look at the signs. People aren’t connecting with one another anymore.

My personal mission: Laugh with someone tomorrow. Hug someone tomorrow. Remind my friends that I love them. Remember that life is what we make of it.

Whoever said that people were real in the first place?

What Addien has said above it true on so many levels, but I've got to disagree with the assumption that there was a time in which "everyone" lived their lives to their fullest. Yes, mainstream values have seemed to change over the years, but human nature has not. If history's taught us anything, it's that people do not change. Otherwise, you'd think we'd have learned from the horrors of the past. Wars truly don't resolve anything, for example - they merely let warring religious groups (it always comes down to different outlooks on life in the end) let out some aggression for a while. In the end, though, they're still just arguing over land, which isn't nearly as important as the people living on it, but neither side wants to see that.

Something that I've been searching for my whole life are people who aren't so caught up on meaningless conversations about nothing that they don't ever truly live their lives. The more I people-watch, the more it appears that most people have always asked how others are doing, but haven't really listened to the answer. Superficiality knows no age. People on the whole have such messed up priorities...unless you find people who understand life for what it really is, then the world can be a very lonely place.

In August I came to a realization about my friends. I was packing up to leave a pagan festival a night early, and one person came up and told me where he'd be and to come get him if I needed anything at all. He really meant it. I see this guy five days out of the year, and he's more a friend than people I see every weekend.

The suicide thing Addien brings up... why is it so often when someone dies, people say "she was so popular"? Is it just that we still don't notice the unpopular ones, even when they die? In Heathers, when the first Heather died, her fake suicide note said "I die knowing no one knew the real me." And people believed it. But if it had been true, why had she continued to treat people like crap if what she really wanted was to open up to one of them?

The best explanation I have heard was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Cordelia was explaining to Buffy that no her life isn't perfect, her friends don't really like her for who she is, etc. Buffy asked her in retort why she continues to be a bitch and a slave to popularity, and she said something like, "If I have to be alone either way, at least I don't want to do it by myself."

So I guess what it is is people are so afraid of chasing away the superficial friends they have, they don't take that step that could make them true friends. They continue to pretend everything is fine, because they'd rather be shells surrounded by acquaintances than take the risk of losing even that. The funny thing is that some of those acquaintances probably feel the same way, and if someone would take the first step, then both would open up. But we don't know that.

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