In 2020, Internet and myself did not conclude the year in good terms.
There was this context we all know about, all this “enough is enough” mood due to seeing people ripping each others apart about almost everything (masks, masters of the world, the soul of ravioli and cucumbers).
The paradoxical fact of these publications advocating for self-development, the understanding of the other and the zen, next to the ones celebrating or criticising the butt of someone.
If Internet looked to me like this gigantic library, this place of fun, curiosity, where everything was possible, I considered that maybe, it turned instead into this place where people love to contemplate their own belly button (and the one of the neighbour) instead of thinking on how to get a positive impact on the world.
I wondered if I did not turn as well in to a vanity machine, losing herself between an article about kale and cute kitten. Then , I decided to go on a break, a big reset, as we would say. I considered that Internet could be reproached that many things in the end, because it’s only reflection what we are, what we’re feeding it with, or asking it for. Our brightest sides mixed with our ugliest ones.
I have decided that it was time to share things “for real”, things that are good for the mind, things I’m dedicated to, creative stuff, pieces of life that could be significant, or others, just for the sake of a good story. Just for the pleasure of it. I remembered that I liked learning, listening to things, and watching others. And that Internet allowed me to discover a variety people, things, that I love. That bought something to me. Something important, in my own small way.
Here is a condensed samples of people, content that gave me faith again in Internet (They helped, alongside with cheese, I have to admit it).
1. Lucile Woodward or “sport is not only about the pain in your body or fat hunting” (FR)
For years, I preferred to swallow a full package of nails instead of getting involved in any type of activity related to sport. Why would I forced myself to feel weird and unusual pains in my body when eating cookies in front of Netflix is so pleasant instead ?
The only sport that found favour in my sight was dodge ball, an activity unfortunately limited to people under 12 years old in France (something that is particularly paradoxical when we think that it was designed to happily crush each other skulls with stones).
I knew as well among my surrounding some sport addicts who had a strange relation with sport, a relation called “The peanut’s flogging”. This syndrome could be explained like this: “I eat three peanuts = I analyse the fat of the peanut travelling through my organism = let’s blow it and my person to hell by compelling myself to a severe diet based on zucchinis fibres for two weeks and 8 hours of sport per day”. No need to tell you that peanuts (and myself included) preferred to hang themselves in their package instead of inflicting such a terrible pain to a human being.
These people suffered as well from this other syndrome a lot of humans are suffering from as well: “I’m ugly. And it’s mainly because of this peanut and my fat”. Except the lack of fat can offer a slender beauty but will not make automatically people more beautiful. I have known people considered as fat but glowing with beauty, and others slim but not that beautiful, with the soul of cat’s torturer (Ask to Luka Magnotta). What my humble experience taught me was that this twisted nose, this weird chin, fat, or ears configuration were not the issue. There is nothing that 100 squats or a an impeccable style can do about. If you can’t be nice to yourself, who else then could do it for you??
In 2016, I discovered Lucile and the importance of keeping our teenage passions alive (I’m not talking about masturbation here, but writing. Hey., no judgement, once again, self love is important). So back in 2016, Jeanjean (my ex-roomie) and myself started a big Decathlon Operation. My opinion on sport had not changed that much, but Jeanjean managed to accomplish two miracles: making me like cucumbers, and starting to grasp the idea that sport could help to feel good (He used to prepare excellent salty crepes with sundry tomates with goat cheese, something that is no related at all but is worth mentioning).
It’s after a weird experience at the gym, where Jeanjean was kind of mistreated by an overzealous instructor because he was not placing his butt correctly (Well, I have to say that I was kind of happy about it, because I was in general the one being at the origin of the instructors’ wrath: “Emilie, keep your back straight!”, “Emilie, we do not play with gym mat”, “Emiliiiiie, we do not do dive-bombing at the pool !!”), that we acquired our gear (two gym mats made of foam, with the same texture as the foam noodles used at the pool, and weights) to train at home. Let’s say that Jeanjean was able to do push up on one finger for 30 minutes (I’m barely exaggerating) when I was still rolling over on my mat (I have always love the texture of these pool noodles…)
The trigger, the one that helped to get my nose out of my addiction to the foam of the gym mat , appeared in the form of Lucile.
If I can demonstrate sometimes an extraordinary will when it comes to certain things (like peeling the most resistant pistachios, ready an essay about grain of rice because why not, or learning the choreography of Thriller by heart in spite of my coordination’s issues), bringing me on the road of sport required a subtle balance between kindness, autonomy and consciousness of the world. Between the “It’s okay for you to sweat like a pig without managing to touch your toes, it’s how your body is designed, not a competition!”, the fact that I was not taken for a an idiot (in the end, in spite of all the kindness of the world, I was the only one who could get over this foam addiction), and the importance of the place of your body in this planet (Not only could I do some good to myself, but I could eat fat, good ethical fat. Or how the peanut butter rocked my life), Lucile became some important part of my daily life.
Things I have learnt:
* Eating healthy is good, but then the fat is calling, you need to respond (or the famous and comforting “80% healthy, 20% trash” of Lucile leaves some space to fries or good old cheese fondue when you feel like it. I have never been the type of self-punishing personality when it comes to food, but it gave me some tricks on how to manage my greasy food craving without dying of bloating.
* Eating healthy is nice, but eating consciously is even better (my love for sweet remains unmatched, but home made is most of the time what comes first, as well as favouring the locally produced).
* Sport is not only here to give you a fit body, but mainly to help your mind to survive to this world (In 2020, Lucile was one of the pillar that helped me, in the context that we all know. Listening to her telling me to keep my butt cheeks contracted with kindness helped to forget about people fighting about masks on social networks).
2. Cerno : l’anti-enquête or “When I’ll be an adult, I’ll be Julien Cernobori » (FR)
In life, you have these persons who know you better than anyone else, and sometimes better than you do.
People who know exactly what your raised eyebrow means (“I’m hungry, and in two seconds, I will devour your forearms If you do not feed me”) what’s behind your silence (“I’m hurt, but I prefer to suffer and to hide behind my pride. Unless you’re scratching my back, making me some tea, or asking for the third time what’s wrong”), or your smiles (“One of the nerve of my butt got stuck and I don’t know how to leave this room and maintaining y dignity here. HELP !”).
The same persons are the ones offering you existential comfort: a tea, something nice to eat, or a gif of a dancing squirrel….
…. Or this podcast’s recommendation that is exactly what you needed/craving to listen.It’s funny, because it took me almost height month to dive into the universe of « Cerno : l’anti-enquête”, even if this podcast had everything to make me addict to it (note that I’m a perfectly balanced writer, never in the extremes…):
- A topic linked to the “True crime” trend…
- ….but before all, a story about transmission (and you must be now fully aware of my passion for the theme of transmission and podcast) what remains, years after, of the victims and their heritage (a focus on them, beyond the fascination that can create the nature of the serial killer).
- The intervention of the daily life and the ordinary in an investigation that is mainly about meeting people and stories (or how Julien Cernobori, the creator and protagonist of this podcast, finds himself talking about childhood stories, ordinary violences or passions, with strangers).
Height month during which I had reminders like:” But you should listen to Cernoooo.. You’ll see, you won’t be able to shut up about it because you’ll love it so much”, “So you have not started yet ? I recommend stuff to you, I’m preparing some tea as well, and you do not seem that ecstatic about it, hey…” (I have to say that in 2020, I was in a “life burn-out”, and this, far before the COVID).
And one evening, while I was contemplating the list of things my existential burn-out hid from me, I decided to start digging this story of “contre-enquête”. What I have to say about it since then? That not only my Sundays changed drastically (they are fully dedicated to the ritual of putting three liners of oil on myself while listening to the new episode), that the work of Julien Cernobori is a bit what I’m aspiring to in terms of narrative and independence. That I’m finding the topic fascinating, and beyond that, the way he has to approach people in all of his interviews; his so human way to do it makes the difference to my eyes. When he is finding himself in a grave yard where an old lady is feeding cats, or when we can feel him panicking at a key moment of the investigation (because one of the protagonist of the crime is closer than ever), or when he is getting yelled at because it’s well-know, people with microphones are all accomplices of Satan, we’re facing a degree of immersion quite incredible.
Things I have learnt:
* Julien Cernobori has his own way to created “the podcast where you’re the hero”, one of the aspect that certainly had a lot of things to do with my passion for this podcast: via his Patreon, his community is invited to participate and to get involved into the investigation (this podcast is by the way a long term project, that is author is letting run its course based on people he meets, researches, and his wishes)
* The magic ingredient of this podcast is as well, in my opinion, this capacity to let yourself getting surprised by the human interactions. By going on site, in the districts where the victims used to live, Julien Cernobori gives the rendition of a place, an atmosphere, through words or long interviews with people, strangers passing by. It happens a lot of time that some of these interventions are not linked to the investigation, but in the end, those are fully part of the universe of this podcast.
* Do not leave your granny out of sight (which is the best appropriation of the title of the song of NTM (a notorious French rap band from the 90`s) ever made.
3. The School of Life ou “How I reduced my search about trees having the shapes of noodles” (EN)
As I mentioned previously, Internet never ceases to amaze me and to fill me with dread. I developed a love/hate relation, then a peaceful one, with this media. Because I did not have access to it in my young years (not because this was not allowed at my home, just because my generation spent some time without it. I’m just an old millennial) Internet was at the beginning a source f never ending knowledge of all sorts (from the existential questions about carrots souls, to the possibility to have access to the full discography of Radiohead).
But once the honeymooned was over, I had to deal with the sad reality: the one of the cute cats gifs and videos always seeking for my attention, the slums of the human soul (when you’re ending up watching with a wicked stare a guy talking about judgement dat and the domination of termites, or the last fake news about termites sects controlling the world), the incessant noise of egos stealing all the spotlights (I’m super happy about the fact that people love themselves, that being okay or not with your body is a capital question for the human kind, however, I’m fearing that one day, humanity might die due to an overload of selfies), and that people could spend more time sending poop to each others poop on social networks (however, It seems that people do not like each others that much).
I came to the conclusion that in the end, Internet was a bit like the Force in Star Wars: we could chose to make good use of it, trying to master the codes related and its impact on our life, or just wallowing in a pile of fucking dumb shits (at some point, we need to call a spade a spade). But like for everyone else, flesh is weak, and mine particularly.
My search history is still full of this very essential searches to the universe, letting me blocking on my screen instead of reading books (You can appreciate the most recent one):
I have decided to make a pact with myself and the God of Internet. If I see that my internet searches are dragging me too far, some places human soul should never explore (ducks are okay, but I will spare you he tale of the many fetishisms my mind have been exposed to), I take a deep breathe and go for an exploration of the human soul (another side of it).
Or how to replace your search of neons fetishists by “Why you’re not a loser”, or the feeling of being stuck thanks to The School of Life. This had the positive impact to help me apprehending a bit better what was going on in my brain, but as well to reconnect a bit with our dear humanity.
The School of Life is place where you and all sorts of reflections about these essential things of life, from the exploration of emotions to the relationships with the others, universal problematic, without forgetting a glimpse at the history of philosophy and ideas. This is all wrapped up in the a great visual form (I’m quite partial here, because I have been unable to resist to a content I consider as clever if it’s on the top of it well designed).
I’m not saying that all my good old search habits have been eradicated (this is not the goal, I still like to give me some slack in terms of squirrel or cats on skate vids), but this allowed me to regain a healthier balance (Yes, I forgot that Internet was here to help us to develop ourselves and not only contemplating an editing of the neighbour’s butt talking).
Things I have learnt:
* The famous balance between body and soul and the emotional intelligence: you know this never ending duality between the brain and the body? Or the rationality vs our emotions? It’s crazy how much our culture, our society could have forced us to develop one to the expense of the other, to live through it like through and eternal division, as if our emotions were making us somehow disabled on every aspects. It’s crazy that some people are never letting themselves go to these emotions, or are just exploding without never analysing in deep what happened there. Emotions are not dirty, they are sending us a message about things we are most of the time trying to cover.
* The explanation of the meaning of life is always more beautiful if it involve some collage and stop motion.
* Internet cannot be conceived in a biblical way, with its paradise and hell. Internet lives, expands, and can send us as many good and bad things. In the end, it’s only obeying to our searches, our desires, and the more or less twisted corners of our minds. Better learning how to master it., and how to protect ourselves from it when necessary, to take the best benefit from it.
4. Maptia or » the world is about extraordinaire discoveries and not only a dark pit of despair” (EN)
I won’t go back on this moment that some of you might have experienced. This moment where you felt this lump in your throat in front of this old picture, reminding you how good it was to feel foreign winds flogging your cheeks (we’re still coming back to flogging, indeed), where you could enjoy the taste of something new on unknown grounds, where you were just “traveling”.
Like you, I could drool of sadness in front of post where someone was giving way to despair in a legend (“remember these skewers… For god sake, do you remember these skewers when we were in this restaurant in the middle of nowhere??”, “Memory of this moment when we were dancing with termites in Guinea”), or having your chin jiggling both because of hope and envy in front of the news of these friends spared by the crisis of Covid (because they are living in these places where they can swim naked in turquoise waters, while petting turtles).
But after going trough these moments and accepting it, your mind started to crave for these experiences, this others places the brain is in demand of (my mind loves enjoys the discovery of unknown cakes abroad), stories of encounters that could only happen in these exotic contexts (because you have no other option as well as the + 35 °C of a place considered as one of the harshest environment on this planet earth. However, they are turning to be quite powerless in front of a huge danger: the way we are treating the planet and the consequences it has on their way of life.
* The choice of allowing the reader to interact with a map is one of the greatest reading interacting I have seen (It’s like on a Google map, you can select a point of the blog and voilà, an article related is offered to you. An Advent Calendar without chocolate but as exciting).
* Being every article of Maptia, there is the story of a human being behind. And that resonates quite paradoxically with ours.
I don’t really know what say to conclude this post. I have always had more talents to open parenthesis than to close it (my love for the instant and the outstanding questions, I guess). I thought about recommending you some cheese, but better keeping this exciting fact for the next adventures.