I sit on the train, and no one smiles at me.
And when I smile at them, they just nod politely—or if they do smile, they quickly look and return to staring at the glimmering rectangle in their hands.
And we say we want to be humans, to be alive—
But our eyes are focused on these little screens living in another world.
Quickly typing, fiercely reading what is happening outside of us:
Comparing, contrasting, relating, exploiting, judging.
Missing what is happening right next to each other.
The girl with the suitcase, where is she going?
The handsome man sitting across from me—hoping his eyes will meet mine, so I can say “Hi”, but he is too busy making love to his tablet.
And how can I meet someone in the hustle of New York City if everyone is looking through me and not at me?
I stare at the ground, nervous, thinking New York is really quite intricate. The fluidity of people motioning back and forth, a human jungle, all I see is animals herding through the streets trampling me un-phased by the surroundings they cross. The blind eye that is turned, while the other eye is on their prey. Everyone has headphones on to block out the noise, the reality, the homeless man on the corner….
How can I meet someone if no one can be bothered?
How can I tell the man on the subway he has the prettiest eyes?
I feel like I’m watching from behind a glass wall, only allowed to observe.
How can I be human when the world is taking everything away from what it means to be alive?
We live in a world where we say be kind and talk to each other, listen to others stories and learn—yet no one wants to be the teller anymore.
Because if I do speak, I hurt someone, or I offend, and that’s not the intention—I want to engage, I want to help create beautiful things not destroy the magnificent depth each individual holds.
But we censor ourselves because it’s what’s expected. We take words and twist to hurt, there is no assuming positive intent—we always look for the dark cloud.
How can we be humans if we are acting more like computers?
Programmed to wake for a 9 to 5
to be simple minded
to be coded for specific reactions hardwired to do what is expected and nothing more….
Error 404: now what?
And if you follow what you love you’re courageous and a dreamer—
Why is it courageous to follow your passions?
Because society tells us what we need to be “just fine,” and dreams seem to be something that is childish.
So as children we have been planted seeds of “nothing is impossible,” only to have society rip out our stems and watch our beautiful petals weep over.
That’s why I see the man on the train suffocating from his tie.
How can I find love in a world that has become run by wires and lights—where a filter option is more important than the memory captured?
I don’t want to swipe left or right—
I want to find love organically, like grabbing the same apple at the supermarket and our eyes lock, my soul lingers and finds home in that exact moment—or maybe at my job where I sweat blood and tears, unaware of who sees, but he notices me in a crowd of thousands.
Why is this so out of reach, yet I can type online what my “perfect” person would entail: height, weight, eyes, preferably blue—must love animals. Superficially picking, creating whom I would want to date, because no matter how much you tell me otherwise, this world judges books by their covers.
The world is still looked at in black and white,
But we are color, so much color.
I’m afraid we have lost the way to see the bright miraculous pigments of the hues which have faded into the concrete where we stomp our feet every morning, ignorantly rushing to get through our day—merely existing not living.
How can we be humans if we are alive in a time where—that’s just how the world is—is an acceptable statement for the evil?
Where people kill innocent souls, how can we preach peace, yet everyone is at war with their own thoughts?
And we say that darkness doesn’t drive out hate, only light—
we understand what is bad, what is tragic, what is wrong,
we fight for peace—what an ironic statement.
Yet after all these years, decades, generations no one can seem to get it right.
So I still smile on the train,
And I will tell the boy on the subway he has the prettiest eyes,
unafraid to make a fool of myself—
And I will write, and tell my story
I will continue to be the courageous dreamer—the optimist that people wonder how she stands tall like a sunflower in a society that wants her to wilt.
And in a world that is numb, stagnate with pins and needles in their limbs, I hope I can bring back feeling.
Bringing back feeling, emotions and love in the kindest way. Not with terror or violence, but in hopes that we can get our voices together and be the generation to make us human again.
Author: Demetra Gregorakis
Image: Flickr/Duncan Hull
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina