The Value of Ugliness

This is an excerpt about social media and journalism during my transition into Graduate School.

Sunset Point
Ventura Sunset the definition of beauty

I feel like this past year might have aged me about 20 years. I feel mature, somewhat organized, and yet, still completely lost.

I feel that my responsibilities have grown tenfold. This growth of responsibilities has helped me feel a weird sort of self worth. As if my “To Do List” is a reflection of my worth. Something to brag about to others, something that proves my value. Supply and demand complex.

Yet, even though my to-do list is feeding my ego, I still experience myself struggling exhaustion. Directionless energy. It’s upsetting. These emotions feel like a prison, holding me back. (Cue Anchor Man scene “I’m in a glass case of emotion!”) I often feel like my humanness is weakness. As if being tired, annoyed, or angry are flaws rather than reminders that I am not machine.

Our world is consumed, or obsessed, with beauty.  Pretty people, pretty clothes, pretty houses, pretty vacations, pretty families. We want to eat pretty food.  We want pretty things in our homes. Not only this, we want to be applauded for our pretty things. We want to share these pretty things with the world and we definitely want to be acknowledged for it. Pretty, along with busyness, equals value. And because of this we only show our pretty things, whether it is true or not

This is nothing new. Humans have been acting this way for so long. It must be instinctual. Pretending this are good. Things are pretty.

But there seems to be a new sense of gravity to this in regards to the amount of social media/communication that is available. Sure, keeping up with the Jones’ is difficult, but it seems like we are now trying to keep up with the entire world. Studies are showing that avid Social Media users are growing more and more discontent with life. And I don’t think any of us really need to be explained why this is. Being constantly bombarded with other people’s beautiful lives, makes us hyper critical of our own. Thus we react. We compete. We share our own beautiful moments. Thus, perpetuating the false representation that life is always beautiful.

The effect of beauty on us doesn’t really interest me. It seems obvious that other people’s beauty feeds envy and discontent. My question is if we are forcing so much pretty into our lives, is it silly to ask… Where does all the ugly go? What happens to it?

What happens if we lack to acknowledge the bad parts of life? The boring?

I’ve seen patterns in history. I’m not an expert, but humanity has always bonded over mutual hardships, common crises or simply confusing times. During the Great Depression, fisherman in various beach communities would offer an all you can eat crab feast to their community for free. September 11th, an entire country stopped breathing all at the same time. A country was silent. There is nothing more powerful than sitting in silence. The recent injustice of human rights have brought masses of diverse people to one spot, using one voice.

Hard times cause us to utilize diversity in wonderful ways.

Are we isolating ourselves by not publicly acknowledging that we all feel pain?

Are there consequences to this? Does this fuel a sort of self-loathing for even experiencing the mundane day-to-day life?

My ultimate question is, are we blinding rito an entire category of life? Are we pleasure seeking and discarding the bad?  And if we are, what are the implications? Was Huxley right?

And yet, as much as we love pretty, we have a dark side. We are putting ugly somewhere. The media.

I  have always been overwhelmed by how many negative stories are chosen to be shared in journalism. Shootings, corruption. Murder. Rape. Cheating. Lying. I wont lie, most news updates fuel a confusing fear based view about humanity.

While I like to pride myself of having a wild, unconditional love for those around me, recently, I there irrational skepticism growing in me. I’m sad that I am scared of my of my community. I’m sad I’m scared of strangers, who are more like me than they are different. I’m sad that I am scared that there might be more bad than good.

I also wonder what it means for us as “consumers of information.” What does it mean for our minds and eyes to be drowned in constant beauty and/or constant ugliness, and very little in-between? What are the implications? What are the effects?

I can’t help but feel that this polarization of information creates a divide between us.

The prettiness feeds our envy of others and self-loathing of our shortcomings.

And yet, the ugliness feeds our distrust in others. Our fear.

Envious and depressed of others pretty, fearful and angry of others

The mind reels. As always. And I have no answers. As always.