“Black Mirror” is a Netflix series that a friend suggested to me recently, and I dove in head first to this confusing, thought-provoking, eccentric series. I am currently watching an episode called “Nosedive” in which people’s lives are determined by their ratings. Ratings from friends, family, co-workers, and strangers alike. Your rating determines where you live, where you work, what privileges you have, who will associate with you. I believe many people would find this to be so out there in thought not even close to reality; however, my initial (and final) reaction is that this is truly the reality of our world!
In the opening scene the main character is posting a picture to her page of a cup of coffee with a cute cookie with a half moon bite taken out of it- a picture she staged to get ratings. She doesn’t even eat the cookie and dislikes the coffee. How many times do people really do this in real life…. ALL of the time! The fakeness that permeates our society is running rampant. For my entire life I’ve been told I’m too outspoken, too real, too honest (my favorite). And because I am one that is often sensitive to criticism, whether constructive or just plain mean, I have spent a lot of time worried about what other people think of me and taking a lot of time trying to “fix” the imperfections. Why do I do that? Why am I so concerned with my “ratings”?
Perhaps because even as a child I was never enough. Perhaps because as a teen my opinions were often a little bit different from those around me. Perhaps because as an adult I still feel that if I could just conform to expectations, my life would be easier. And that, all of that, is why I continually struggle with just being my authentic self. I think a higher rating, a more complacent attitude, a “just go with the flow” mentality will bring my soul peace, and my life will be easier and less complicated. But that’s just the thing isn’t it? Peace within comes from living as the person we are. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in constantly improving, but perhaps improving in my life means with areas that are of concern for me, not what others choose to point out.
I learned early on that my voice, my spoken opinions, carried heavy weight with it. I often focus on the negatives: spankings, loud lectures with demeaning name calling, losing pseudo friends, missing out on career opportunities, awkward meetings, uncomfortable dates, massive anxiety, emotional and verbal abuse. What about all of the positive benefits of being a woman who can speak her truth? Why is that so blurry? When I am living authentically and speaking from my true self, I realize who I want to be part of my life, and who can take a back seat (if they even deserve a seat at all). It reminds me of my strength and my courage and my ability to listen to different thoughts so that I may continuously learn in this lifetime. I am grateful for the part of me that speaks out even when it may not be comfortable, even when it may cost me something I’ve always wanted or worked hard for; because without that voice that isn’t afraid of being rated, I would simply be an empty shell constantly saying yes, smiling for the camera, and drinking a coffee I don’t like with a cookie I won’t eat just for the sake of someone else’s rating.