What is it, about The Moth? And is there even an ‘it’? I have always thought that there must be something, that there has to be a clandestine moral within that creature. It could be completely qualitative—a mystery sewn into their dusty wings, the beige and grays that compose their austere capes—or the flattened pebbles forming their unblinking, unflinching false faces. There has got to be something about them. They are a thing of which there is always ‘more.’ In the evenings, when I sit on the rotting concrete of my old playground, I watch the moths flit and filter by the yellow lights and I know that their consideration could be an endless one. There is so much. I suspect is has to do with their simplicity. They are a creature composed of bare minimums. They are a physical absolute in the pristine capacity—that is to say that they retain nothing superfluous in their design. Moths, after they metamorphose from caterpillars, do not even have stomachs or mouths. Moths are mouthless. They are inherently muffled. They live about a week, just long enough to reproduce, and then they wither, and then they crumple, and then they vanish. They are the basis, the minimum, and so they are the swarming, rushing metaphor for an austere foundation. There’s something nostalgic about that; something implying a wisdom inherent in their timeline because one can imagine that theirs is a line that shoots into the past and outreaches any predecessor. This understated superiority is their novelty, and its understatement is there advantage. For this reason moths have always resonated with something personal and faceless within me. Their fluttery silence, and maybe even the shape of their four letter name in my mouth, and mostly their faded shades of gray—they strike me as a beacon of forgetfulness, the human tendency to reduce a once vivid experience to the impartial and foggy outline of a memory, but not an actual memory. Just the husk of it. Just the implication that something once existed in a mind, and that it can only ever exist as a reverberation with a tattered source, or as a superficial echo because its original shape has been punctured by time, bled, and drained of its substance. Maybe that’s it. Maybe moths are a supreme metaphor for that stale melancholy people realize as they age—when they finally accept the knowledge of how feeble a memory can be. But I don’t think that’s sad at all. I do agree that the human capacity to remember is beautiful, and that the human capacity to forget can be terrifying, but I do not think the moth is a creature to be contested by sadness. I do not find the moth spiteful. I do not think the moth is anything more or less than a neutral banality, a fact whispered with sincerity but not urgency or a secret written in now-brittle ink on the bottom of an old jewelry box. Forgetfulness can be the flaw that breeds relief. The moth’s kiss can be the soothing haze that dulls and wilts the hardened rust in a troubled mind. It’s a benevolent and necessary anesthetic if one is willing to suspend its moral implication. In a contextual level, the moth represents benevolent finality as a hushed evasion. The moth’s metaphor says to me, “Hold on, grasp your darling thorns with conviction, but be prepared to open your fist and find a wooden cocoon. And do not feel sadness when the thin, stone wings unfold in fuss of ethereal dust. And do not feel longing when the weight is suddenly missing in your palm. Feel compassion for yourself. Feel reflective empathy for your evasions (the trust that neutralizes regret). And most importantly, make sure to open your hand and to let the moth go, because the moth’s motivation is not vindictive; the moth’s motivation is the impersonal, unrelenting, and reverent din of release into a present tense, untethered and undefined by the calcified husks of the past.”
It was great! I felt great as soon as I did it. I started it as entertainment, met some neato people with it, and deleted it about a year and a half later. The thing is, I started to consider it too thoroughly and it was degrading the edges of my ego. I think egos are good, and I think self-esteem is correlated and neceissary. Although I don’t think having an online profile ever really damaged my self-image, it did erode at the seams occasionally; online dating gives people the opportunity to be whatever, and that includes entitled and nonchalant when dealing with other people that normally, in real life, they would have no business ignoring. I actively put myself before those people, let them equate me with the thickets of boring people on that site, and then finally decided that an artificial arena was neither of value to me or necessary.
I will meet someone with my same values. I want to meet someone at a job, or volunteering, or at a party. I don’t want the scores of lazy, inarticulate, entitled gays who own a computer and internet connection to have access to me anymore. I will unplug myself and ascend to the realm of people, where virtues aren’t virtual. I’m worth an in-person visit.
Now of course people claim that it’s just for fun. I agree. It was hilarious. But it became too routine. At times I found myself synchronizing my date-ability with the actual frequency of interactions, and that’s false. That place isn’t even real! And majority of people I’ve encountered on that site are excruciatingly blase.
I’m incredible and won’t be told otherwise. I won’t even accept that implication.