Quick. Let’s play a game of stream of consciousness. From 2010 to 2019, what are the first words or images that come to mind.
For me, it is in no particular order of significance (says the psychologist) Miley Cyrus, Hurricane Maria, Uber, Sandy Hook, Superstorm Sandy, Trump, Avengers, Me Too, and Game of Thrones. Of course, there is so much more to this decade. But if you use the first ten things that popped into my mind you get that everyone is a showman and their own boss while tragedies have been relentlessly stark and dark providing no real spark for change. Rereading this sentence has made me severely depressed.
I started writing posts about seven years ago. One of my early on posts that created a buzz was my piece on authenticity followed by CNN-cited post on hero worship. Sadly it seems my early posts perfectly captured the decade that was to come. It’s ok to be a phony as long as its authentic. I was right at the beginning of the decade and right at the end. We’ve come to accept that everything is fake. Fake followers (twitter bots). Fake news. Fake photos (Instagram). Fake events (i.e. fyre festival). Fake inventions (i.e. Theranos). Fake battles (i.e.Bowling Green massacre). And things that were real for which there were numerous gaslighting attempts to make seem they didn’t exist.
Consider this. The Kardashians have a long-running so-called reality show that supposedly gives insight into celebrity life and has helped them build a massive financial empire. Kim Kardashian would like to now be a lawyer without going to law school. Not unheard of. But who goes around thinking they should do that? Stormi, one of the youngest Kardashians was just gifted a two-story playhouse with a balcony. I don’t begrudge any parent/grandparent giving their child the best. What I found amusing was the expressed Twitter outrage at the gift. They can do so because they have a lot of money due to a lot of people watching their shows and buying their products. Let us not pretend otherwise.
Speaking of outrage, that is one of the worst trends of the decade. Everyone is outraged about something. Much of it seems quite manufactured to me.
Now, the first thing that I listed in this bit was Miley Cyrus. I believe she has presented her true self. I like her singing voice. I think her version of Jolene is absolutely phenomenal. But people have such visceral reactions to her “show”. From twerking to swinging on a wrecking ball. At times her show is a bit much but she swung wildly this decade from outright rebellion to instances of vulnerability. That seemed like an authentic young woman trying to find herself in a social media driven modern world.
Considering all of the above and more, how do we even believe our own selves? I am not too sure we believe our own lived realities anymore. I am not too sure we truly even exist.
Here is what symbolizes the decade for me on a micro level. I used to hate fake flowers. Now, I have three baskets full of fake flowers. They don’t die. I can easily swap them in and out. And, the colors can be what I want.