That Stupid Little Green Dot

Dayne Topkin

I don’t think a lot of people understand how exhausting it is to always pretend that you don’t care about anything. Feel bad for me.

I have never been the type of person who honestly and openly expresses opinions or feelings without a complete internal breakdown beforehand, because I am inexplicably revolted by the idea of divulging even the most standard pieces of personal information about myself (someone remind me to get this properly psychoanalyzed — I say this because two recent articles I’ve written have comments by two different people recommending therapy to me .)

And then I found myself in an odd and messy situation — that, in retrospect, I knew from the beginning was going to end badly for only me me me me and absolutely nobody else and yet here we are — and I would stare at that stupid little green dot next to his name and burn every empowering thought I’ve ever had about myself and mentally beg him to talk to me first so that I could ignore it for an appropriate amount of time and then respond with something falsely nonchalant and blasé and ? and it was so unbelievably stupid. I am very stupid, I’ve mentioned this before.

That stupid little green dot controlled the majority of my thoughts and feelings for the duration of whatever it was. Its existence made me bubbly and feminine and soft and gentle and warm and fuzzy and made me think of every love story I thought was unrealistic and every love song I’d get stuck in my head but never give a second thought and every relationship article I’ve ever proofread and published. Nonsense.

I read somewhere that the color green is used in advertising because it’s supposed to alleviate anxiety. Apparently that’s why you always sit in the “green room” before going on television. But that stupid little green dot only heightened the stress I feel over maintaining such a specific image that absolutely nobody cares about but me. Every time it punctured my peripheral vision, I’d straighten up and shut up and put on a scowl and pretend to be completely unfazed. It pushed all of the regular pressure I put on myself to come off this way into little increments of time — whenever he was online.

When it all stopped (I never see the green dot anymore), I thought about all the opportunities I had to be all the things I genuinely felt when I’d see that stupid green dot. The bubbles, the femininity, the softness, the gentleness, the warmth, the fuzziness — it could’ve easily poured out of me at any second. I suppressed all of them so aggressively, I questioned whether who I was forcing myself to be was the complete opposite of who I actually was. I don’t really care about the answer to that anymore. And then my charade would be for nothing! He would know I cared, I cared, I cared, I cared, I cared, . I cared about him and I cared about that stupid little green dot.

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