Peer Review by singaporeandreamer (Singapore)

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Triteness of Being

By: Jenna Matus


Set down your phone and pick up your wine glass. 

Feel the alcohol stinging your throat as it slips down to ignite your blood and think:

​I feel alive, I feel alive, I feel alive. 

Try to wash away the dreariness of digital debilitation. Those dreams of others could never be yours. Those dreams of others aren't even their own; they are constructed and calculated with precision. No-one can live your life but you. 

Try to find the real moments. Search with new-found eyes, look in dark crevices, dig for them until there's dirt and mud under your fingernails. 

Search for gold as the gold-diggers did hundreds of years ago. But your gold is different. 

Swap a phone in your hands for another hand and find it. 

Run your fingers over your lover's smile wrinkles, feel the life they have lived. No camera can capture the ingrained glow of years well-spent. All of the "likes" in the world could never compare to their arms wrapped around your bare back. 

Don't get lost in the shallow validation of others, get lost in love and the terrible grief that comes along with the loving. 

Don't get lost in the same three apps on your phone, get lost running in the forest before you forget the smell of pines and mountains. 

Don't get lost in the construed emotion the media targets at you, get lost in the true mess of being human with the other billions of beating hearts around you. 

Peel back that glass screen from your eyes - shatter it if you must - and relish in the sunlight on your skin. 

Dabble into the online world if you wish. Dip your toe in new connections, in opportunities, in inspiration. Inspiration is simply what it is though. The images flickering across your screen should only serve as a spark. Take that spark. Don't settle for it, don't bathe in the dull, fluttering light for the rest of your days. Take it, ignite it, make the flame dance by living. 

Only life can grip at your heart muscles and twist them until all you are is emotion. Only by wandering into a dusty old tea-shop in Kyoto would you ever talk to the old man that lives there. Only by not taking a photo and leaving, instead delving into his past, would you ever hear the story of a 7 year-old boy who watched the bombs fall and brilliantly flash. 

Google seemingly offers all of the knowledge in the world as a buffet, but there is so much hidden in the cracks and crevices of each and every person. 

A picture says a thousand words. 

Don't settle for the mere thousand found in an Instagram photo. Take those first, blooming words and find the rest in your adventures. Find them in the swirling milk in your morning coffee. Find them from a toothless woman in a hut in Kenya. Find them in the halls of your college when everyone else is sleeping. 

Stories cannot be fully un-spun from a screen. 

So, set down your phone. Look up. Breathe. 

Grab up your life with greedy hands and truly, truly live. 

The title is from a song by Gang of Youths (an absolutely astounding band) called "The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows". Give it a listen to feel the emotion I felt when writing this x 

Message to Readers

Anything :)


Peer Review

you first drew me in with your really interesting title. the constant strong contrast between the online world and the real world in all its glory, is brilliantly shown.


don’t be hooked to your phone; go out and live your life to the fullest and explore to the world.


i was persuaded by a lot of the contrast the writer presented, offering more pleasant alternatives to the monotony of digital world. i was also shown very emotional scenes which appealed to my feelings and would’ve made the argument more persuasive


perhaps the writer could show the downsides of immersing yourself for too long in the digital world, instead of just showing us the upsides of NOT using our phones and the digital world?


i felt that this was quite well done in terms of an op-ed. it definitely showed me that not all op-eds have to use cold hard facts and statistics in order to persuade the readers, so well done!


Reviewer Comments

i was quite taken with this piece :D

all the best for your writing!