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I'm Healing My Inner Child by Posting on Sidechat


Photo by Daniel Scanlon

Some nights, before going to bed, a strange figure appears to me in the mirror of the Harnwell College House high-rise dorm I brush my teeth in front of. He’s like me, only shorter (in height and hair length). His face is round, the kind of round that your aunt’s ballet friends would probably comment on in a fatphobic way in the summer of 2012. It’s me, my inner child!

Sometimes all he wants to talk about with me is how the library got new computers, or how he wishes he could be one of the kids that reacts to stuff on that one YouTube channel, but other days, he’s despondent, hard to read, hard to engage with, if at all. He just gives a glazed-over stare, somewhat lobotomized. 

On these days, the only thing that gets him to snap out of it is the sound of a Sidechat notification, which is kind of a hassle for me: I hate leaving my ringer on. And also: he’s nine, shouldn’t he have an iPhone by now? Why must he rely on my contemporary musings on college pseudo-bullying?

I scroll. 

“Everyone in the Delta Phi fraternity is part of a secret sex cult.” He lets out a chuckle.

“‘Is the Hill fire drill a valid excuse to miss class?’ : thirteen likes.” He shares his musings on comedy with me. We agree that this one is what the kids would call “mid.”

“By loving myself, I allow others to love me. I walk on the path of love, and I can see the universe revealing itself to me. When I have moments of insecurity, I read through my journals, speak to friends, or throw myself into tasks I enjoy, like posting on Sidechat.”

“That was beautiful,” he said to me. 

“Yeah, but the beautiful ones can never break seven likes.”