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The Girl, The Horse And The Social Media

How a horseback trip taught me something on our internet behavior

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This story begins with me on a horse in the middle of nowhere.

To be more precise “nowhere” is the French Region of Camargue, a marshland full of flamingos, salt flats, mosquitos and a huge beach facing the Mediterranean Sea. It’s one of the most popular places in France to stroll on a docile horse at the sunset and admire flocks of birds soaring above you.

Indeed it’s a quiet and amazing place if you love horses and nature. But it’s a completely different story if you’ve never done horseback riding in your life, your back suffers from a damage called “13 years of rugby in the front row” and you weigh 110 kilos.

So, the question is why I’m here crushing my jewels on a saddle? First of all, I like experiencing something new, spending spare time in the nature and… after all, there will be plenty of time to rest when I’ll be old. Moreover, my fiancé loves horses and, as Jaime Lannister said before pushing Bran Stark from the tower window, “The things we do for love…”.

But even the biggest affection can’t give you the right confidence when you are petrified with fear. Before hopping on Tango (that’s the name of the white horse assigned to me) I was so scared. Riding a horse is like riding a motorcycle with a personality, a vehicle that feels your emotions, understands that you are nervous and knows he can disobey you and take control of the ride because your will is not strong enough to be in charge. Something that can accidentally not respond to your command and make you fall and then stomp on your head.

Ok, maybe I’m being too dramatic.

Anyway, I was not the only one scared on that day. In my same group, there was a young girl, 10 or 12 years old, who started crying and sobbing from the very first moment she climbed on the horse, before starting the trip. She grumbled something in French that I didn’t understand, but I supposed she was afraid of falling. Quite strange I thought, at the end, she was wearing the perfect horsewoman outfit, she even had a black velvet helmet! The stable master tried to comfort her, “Do you want to stay here with your parents waiting for your sister? It’s up to you, there is no reason to be worried”. After few minutes of whines and whimpers the little girl decided to join, but to avoid any eventual issue or injury, the stable master kept the reins of her horse.

She appeared immediately relieved, switched face as Schwarzenegger in Total Recall or Big Jim. Completely transfigured, now she had both hands free to dry the eyes, fix the hair, check the output on the mirror app for smartphone and take selfies and smiling videos all the time, pretending to be a skilled cowgirl enjoying the ride. So, she cried and paid just to share a new fake piece of the puzzle with all her followers on Facebook and YouTube. They will never know of her tears or that she never ride but just stay sat on a horse for three hours, they will just see happiness and coolness of her beautiful parallel life. Not sure if I was more impressed by the great acting performance or by seeing such a little girl creating a fictitious world to be socially accepted.

Watching her I watched the essence of social networks: a place where we try to be the best, pretending we don’t fear, we don’t cry, we don’t let someone else do the worst or difficult part of the job unless exposing us will make us cooler.

So don’t be scared by the fact that your friends on Facebook Timeline seem to have a better, happier and richer life than yours, maybe they have just finished drying their eyes.

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