Self Absorbed Selfies

The mother leaves the maternity ward
Her newborn all wrapped up in her arms
Onto the social media she posts
A selfie with her child
The first stop she makes
Before stepping into her home
A creche near her house
Long term plans already made
For her newborn and herself
The mere birth of a child
Would not hamper her life
After all, she was the new age mother
Educated, independent and free-thinking
Her identity pre-determined
By the many million selfies
Floating through time and space

The mother leaves for work each day
The child learning to grow not to need her
She stops in between to enquire
About classes, tuitions, and friends
More egocentrically she stops
To take that all important selfie
A momentary focus on her child
That shows the cloud world
The myraid role she plays
A super mom tag she loves to revel in
The likes on her Facebook page
The comments on her Whatsapp
All tied her to an image
A new paradigm that worships
Self-love with neurotic efficacy
All through the growing up years
The child enters his empty home
His life, a collection of momentos
And mentors, each one inanimate

The I-phone sits blinking on the table
The extra large television set
The gaming device meant to recharge him
To quell the wild energy rising within
Thus connecting him to the illusion of sports
The laptop notioned to be a gateway
To people he never cared for in anyway
Stuff that soothed his mothers extra-large guilt
And with each momento came a selfie
That traded a lack of time with material things
Years have passed and the child turned man
Having grown up in a limited selfie world
His human connect fractured
Being imprisoned by material chains
Created an impoverished soul
Facing unsayable, incoherant disconnect
Momentarily scanning the selfies one by one
He struggles to understand the world
And about people he calls his own
He grapples with the monologues created
Instead of the dialogues he longed for
Today the selfies remain just relationship trophies
Once much liked but now seem bland
Once used to define love and support
Now appears shallow in the face of reality

The tides have turned
The audience have disappeared
No emotional connect there
None wanting to revisit
Those selfies of loneliness
Those selfies of guilt
Those selfies of compromise
Each triggering
Footprints towards existentialism
Two fragile, fragmented human forms
One who now seeks to be cleansed
From the unreal emojis
And the mother in her greying years
Wondering what made her squander
The growing up years of her child
Marketing a complex relationship
Using a simple selfie.

Rachel George is a retired college lecturer.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty