Open up your arms, I'm coming home
Hey God, I'm relinquishing to the data that's right in front of my face.
I'm not pastel pink. I am not white, clean, shiny. I am payne's grey. I am burnt umber. I am a hungover weekday morning, and I am a blast of cold wind to the face. I am wilted flowers but I am still beautiful in the right lighting. (We're all beautiful).
Have you ever watched Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror? It's dark and slightly surreal, it draws inspiration from Huxley, Orwell, technology, and modern life. It's black humour and it's a series that leaves you thinking.
Nosedive is the first episode of season three. In this modern new world, people evaluate each other on social media, the higher the score, the better your life. We follow the story of Lacie, who is attempting to raise her score, so that she too can afford the luxury apartments. You can guess, maybe, how it plays out.
What I was reminded of, after watching Nosedive, is that to be constantly seeking others' approval means we lose so much of ourselves in the process. It's not unusual to seek validation for who we are, and when the mask starts to slip, when the real self comes to the fore we are left naked and vulnerable. Bad numbers and low followers can and do affect each of us in a way that feels like we're being judged by the whole world, and that hurts more than just being disliked by one person. Nosedive obviously has strong undertones that individuality is wonderful, and that conforming and following trends isn't always the best idea.
In some ways, Nosedive is so blindingly obvious, what idiot gets caught up in numbers and stats and data? I'm not alone, I know I am not alone. I have, previously made a decision based on an identity I wanted, but that decision begets another decision and suddenly I'm so far away from who I wanted to be that I'm glaring in the mirror telling myself I'm shit. Lets be honest, that is not healthy.
There is so much advice out there on being the best you, finding you, intentional living but; there isn't a recipe to be followed. Not really, it's about learning and thinking and forgetting at times.
I don't believe it'll never not hurt to be ostracised, to fail. I think if you're putting your heart into something it's always going to feel like a stab in the gut if it doesn't quite work out how you wanted it to. That's being human, and I don't think it's a bad thing to admit that our numbers might not be what we were hoping for.
I've felt that crushing disappointment, recently too, and as easy as it might seem to follow trends, it's so much better to be you, to be you in all your beauty and flaws. Sometimes a pity party is needed, sometimes we need to wallow before we pick ourselves up again and embrace all that we are. In the words of Chuck Palahniuk -
“We are not special. We are not crap or trash, either. We just are. We just are, and what happens just happens.”