Written by: Bronson Mosley
The season of resolution has arrived, and like every new year a great majority of the populous will choose this moment to declare a change of direction in their lives. If you want to see this age-old tradition in its perfect form than look no further than your social media news feed. It’s all there – boldly broadcasted declarations of physical transformation and discipline over our demons. We tell the world we’re going to do a better job at life. While these commitments are personal in nature, it is common practice we share our ambitions, casting our character into the world through our boundless modern methods of communication.
This phenomenon hasn’t passed me over and, like many fellow Americans, I aim to improve the person I see in the mirror.
My name is Bronson Kyle Mosley. I’m a single white male who has never been married or had the joy of fathering my own child. While I have been blessed enough to experience a number of deep human connections, the picturesque adulthood I envisioned has always eluded my grasp.
By the time you read this I will have turned 33 years old. I’d like to think that in this time I have been able to bear witness to the most rapid development and growth of civilization in the history of mankind. I’d like to hope all of our technological advancements have ushered in an era of greatness for our species, but this last one-third of a century has shown me something different.
We’ve lost the ability to truly love ourselves, and that dying light has led to the catastrophic collapse of how we engage and care for one another. How is it that we can blame our ingenuity for stripping us of our fundamentals? Where in our grandiose evolution did we unknowingly engineer the demise of our nobility?
To understand the flaw in our current culture you have to take a look at where we came from. I made my transition into adulthood right before the new millennium. During the late nineties the World Wide Web hadn’t yet bound itself to our daily lives. Cell phones, laptop computers and quality camera devices were items of privilege, and our lives still existed primarily within a localized parameter.
During this time, the group of peers by which people judged themselves was composed of who was directly in your environment. Boys and girls in high school admired the prom queens and kings – they set a standard of beauty and popularity based on a tangible element from their direct viewpoint. Back then our self worth was generated and governed by the apparent social classes within our cities, towns and communities.
Dashing forward to the modern world we find the digital age has brought more than just a wealth of information. The introduction of social media platforms transformed the Internet into a sub-reality, becoming a legitimate layer in the make-up of our identities. Gone were the limitations of flesh and blood avatars. Now, we were part of a boundlessly diverse nation and the standard to which we held ourselves suddenly became infinite.
While this epidemic exists for both genders and spanning across all age groups, take for example a young adult female living in this era. What the masses collectively consider to be pretty, healthy, sexy and/or attractive has reached a nearly unachievable level of manufactured perfection. When she assesses herself in the mirror she, unwittingly, even will be rating herself against this impossible standard.
She’ll see everything she is not and it will drive her self esteem in one of two very different directions. In most cases, this outcome will be a pressure-driven plunge into the pursuit for affirmation. She’ll doll herself out. She’ll paint her face and assemble her finest material things. She will strive to be all she now believes is beautiful, but this young girl will probably never allow herself to be the person who decides if she is worthy of being called pretty.
There lies the creation of our crisis – the malevolent mechanics that steal from us, not only the drive to see our resolutions through regularly, yet also bleeds a greater corruption into our lives.
Now that loving ourselves requires some degree of validation from an intangible digital collective, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain healthy one-on-one relationships in the traditional sense. At the mercy of the limitless digital dystopian network, we let our lives become shaped beyond just our own personal worth. Religion. Politics. The points of our moral compass are redefined and molded to match one of many different perspectives present. How is it social media platforms designed to create an online representation of our character actually instead rob us of our individuality? How is that something created to connect the world would really just place more distance between ourselves and our neighbors?
So, here I am now milling over my own follies; tiredly trudging the tracks of my relationship history to determine if there is any hope to break away from this tragic cycle of un-love. I see my insecurities and how they’ve been perfectly built in this modern age. I feel the helpless struggle to fully appreciate who I am and I witness the same battle take place in the hearts of those I adore.
The Internet can’t be stopped. I cannot take the world offline but there is still the possibility this infinite connection can be used to heal our perceptions rather than enslave them. It doesn’t have to steal the thunder from our good will, turning the pursuit of our resolutions into a fruitless endeavor. Try as I might to defy this process by exposing it with these writings, I find myself only playing its game, vulnerable and optimistic all the same. The Internet can’t be stopped. I cannot take the world offline, but there is still the possibility that this infinite connection can be used to heal our perceptions rather than enslave them. It doesn’t have to steel the thunder from our good will, turning the pursuit of our resolutions into a fruitless endeavor. Try as I might to defy this process by exposing it with these writings I find myself only playing its game, vulnerable and optimistic all the same.
So, where will this leave my goals and aspirations for the new year? How will I regain control of my true independence and the sole ability to determine ones worth? Would it surprise you that the answer is yet another resolution? It will happen in the exact same way that I stood before a mirror, deciding that what I saw in the reflection required my immediate attention. It will occur in the same way that people look in their empty wallets, and they will swear to bring an end to the daunting emptiness they find in that pocketbook. I have identified the error in my thinking, and changing that fault in my character will be a promise I fight to keep.