Of Trash TV and Great Revelations

 

Edited by Vanishree

 

My entire monsoon semester went by with me desperately waiting for the winter break. While writing my papers and zoning out of my virtual classrooms, I had planned to learn fifteen new skills and change my entire personality. However, I spent the first week of my long-awaited break catching up with lost sleep. I slept like a log. Soon after, I started to experience withdrawal symptoms from the so-called intellectually stimulating environment created by my annoying peers. Feelings of worthlessness crept in because my hustling peers have taught me to attach my self-worth with my productivity. Now, there wouldn’t have been a problem had I actually done something to uplift my sense of self. But who does that? Instead, I turned towards the all-encompassing arms of the Internet and found solace in the beautiful world of cringe content. 

 

From MX Takatak Fame house to the Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, I have now watched them all. I started watching these shows ironically but ended up being significantly invested in them. And why wouldn’t I be, when watching each episode felt like I was snorting volumes of serotonin and self-esteem, with these characters making me feel so good about myself? This was certainly not a very healthy way to cope with my problem, but it was definitely efficient enough. 

 

I stuck to my brilliant solution and spent some blissfully ignorant weeks. What had slipped my mind was that I live in an Indian household with the most confrontational parents. You can be a sloth for a maximum of two weeks, but if you don’t get your shit together on the first day of the third week, you’d better come up with a believable explanation or find a new place to stay. I had no intention of doing either, so I decided to “try” to get my shit together. Brave, I know. 

 

The next day, I woke up, made a cup of coffee, and sat in front of my laptop screen. My college has conditioned me into thinking that I can’t possibly be serious about something if I don’t have a google document dedicated to it. So I made one and tried to map my way to the crux of my feelings of worthlessness and to find out why cringe content made me feel better. 

 

Now, I know for a fact that I am not the only one who feels this way. So for the kind and generous person I am, I will share my research results with you. We have all had very different upbringings, and we have different lifestyles. Still, we have many things in common, and one significant thing is that we have grown up in a community that glorifies ‘Sharmaji-ka-Beta’. This results in the development of the urge to please others which intensifies over time, birthing in us the fear of being average. 

 

In a society where people believe that “mediocrity is the only sin” and perfection is unattainable, it is natural to feel worthless. The struggle for perfectionism leads to procrastination, and the more talented people we meet, the more we question our abilities. Here’s where the cringe content comes into the picture. The MX Takatak fame house members or the Bollywood wives have no outstanding skills whatsoever, but they look so damn confident. This makes us feel that if they can be comfortable in their own skin, it’s a shame if we aren’t. Our sense of self-worth is so problematic that we don’t focus on how well we’re doing, rather on the number of people who aren’t doing as well as us. We are obsessed with inflating our egos, aren’t we? 

Now don’t get me wrong, the shows are great. All I want is for us is to not rely on these shows to enhance our self-worth. Don’t you think it is kind of messed up? Call me your Messiah, because I have found a way to overcome this toxic habit. 

 

In order to separate the self-worth boost from these shows, all we need to do is start believing that it’s okay to be mediocre. Easier said than done, right? But think about it - As humans, it’s our nature to push ourselves forward to make the most out of everything; our perseverance’s sheer beauty is its infinite nature. If mediocrity is the midpoint on this journey to excellence -- one without a visible end -- how on earth do we define it? Does this lack of definition mean that mediocrity doesn’t exist? Maybe. Even if it does, we know for a fact that excellence is subjective and unequivocally limitless and mediocrity is on similar lines as well

So, it really doesn’t matter if you have one skill or twenty. It should in no way affect our self-worth. What really matters is that we always do our best, and try to take the next right step. Like I said before, easier said than done. So, I will binge watch some cringe content and start practising what I preached, from tomorrow.