Don’t go on the internet today. And definitely stay away from the internet on Wednesday. Avoid it for the whole week, actually.
Well, hold on. Let me amend that. You should go on part of the internet. Come here to ELLE.com, of course. Read this site. Check your email maybe, if your job requires it or you’re waiting for a tracking information on a product. Tweet a recipe. Live your life, obviously. But don’t go to those places on the internet that remind you what happened in the past. Specifically one year in the past.
Facebook Memories? Forget ’em. TimeHop app? Hop-fully not.
Sure, avoiding the internet this week probably won’t prevent you from remembering all the things that happened on November 8, 2016 and thereafter, but how can you know for sure unless you try it? That’s just science.
The saying goes “Those who forget the past are doomed to relive it.” But no one has actually proven that, have they? I mean, how would they know? If you’ve forgotten the past then how do you know if you’re reliving it? You’re just walking around like, “What a fascinating, totally new experience I am having right now that has never occurred in the past. I will definitely do my best to forget this but who can say?!”
Anyway, I don’t have time to explain brain science or whatever to you. If you have questions about this, watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or just tweet directly at Kate Winslet. She can help you with your concerns regarding memory and destiny, not me. I’m just here to tell you to stay away from the internet because last November 8th was probably a really hopeful day for you, and then a really scary evening, and then a really sad night and you don’t need that in your life again.
The editors at Esquire have compiled a stunning oral history of the wild emotional roller coaster that was last election day. It’s an impressive record for many reasons, not the least of which being that I assumed that all oral histories of election day would just be people screaming into a void.
You can read it by clicking the link above or by going to ThisIsTooSoon.com/StillHurts.Reading the article, you’re reminded of how much hope so many people had, how the stunning reality of the election results dealt a crushing blow to the confidence many of us had in the possibilities of the world. Like many oral histories, it takes you inside of an experience from every imaginable angle. Unlike most oral histories, however, it’s an interior look at an experience we know all too well and inside of which we are still trapped.
The photo above looks like the progression of emotions Hillary Clinton supporters felt as results came in. Actually, it’s a photo of the same person existing at different times in the evening. Time travel. Look it up.
Speaking of time travel, maybe don’t buy a one-way ticket to the past by revisiting where you were and how you felt a year ago tomorrow.
It won’t change anything, it won’t make you feel better, and it will use up your cell data. Even if you have unlimited data this just isn’t a good idea for you at this time. Use your data to maybe catch up on DuoLingo lessons. Learn how to say “I still can’t believe this” in Italian or something. Contribute to society.
But, whatever you do, don’t go back to last year via the internet, please. You’ve come so far from last year. You’re doing that new thing with your hair maybe or you got really into fly-fishing after watching A River Runs Through It one night. You have new hobbies and friends and you don’t involuntarily scream every time you get a push notification on your phone. This is progress! Give yourself credit and then use that credit to buy yourself a one-way ticket into the future. Because, unlike Jack on Lost, you don’t have to go back. And unlike Jack in Titanic, you have to let go.Everything on the internet is simultaneously permanent and ephemeral. It’s always accessible and instantly disposable (except this article. You should print this article out and nail it to your front door for posterity). The way we all experienced this week in 2016 together online, however, lingers larger, heavier than other events. You might not remember exactly where you were the first time you heard Kesha’s whistle tone on “Praying” or those 90 seconds when La La Land was the Best Picture of the year, but you can probably vividly call to mind what this time last year felt like.
Perhaps it will always remain raw and shocking. Or perhaps it will fade. But right now you probably don’t need a refresher. So, for your sake, for your brain’s sake, maybe don’t go on the internet tomorrow. Or ever, actually. Go take a walk. Live in the future. Breathe. Pet a doggo. Be bad, split a crème brûlée.