I’ve never been the type of person who had a “dream” wedding. Though I had a wedding Pinterest board (as many other women my age did), I spent a lot of my life believing that I wouldn’t be able to afford a fancy wedding, and my pins felt more like theoretical dreams than something I could actually make a reality. When I made those boards, mostly in high school, I wasn’t even dating anyone, making those dreams seem even further away.
Now, years and years later, I’ve gotten used to wearing a ring on my finger – I’ve never been a ring person, honestly – and have spent the better part of this month spending endless hours scrolling through The Knot, scheduling venue tours, and trying to figure out exactly how many flowers we’ll be able to afford. All while, right now, I don’t even feel comfortable sitting inside a restaurant to eat. What kind of alternate universe is this?!
Though I don’t have most of the details planned out, it is frankly exciting to simply have something to look forward to! We are crossing our fingers that large-scale events like weddings will be feasible and safe by the summer of next year, and are fantasizing about having our families fly in from all over the country to have a crowded and sweaty celebration – something that I can barely fathom right now!
Earlier this week, I was watching the new HBO documentary Fake Famous while writing my blog post for the week. I had heard a lot of buzz for the documentary and was curious about one specific point: two out of the three participants drop out of the experience before the end – why?
Hearing about the amount of power that Instagram followers and likes and online clout in general have on society was fascinating and simultaneously made me want to bang my head against a wall. I’m not surprised that the most successful influencers end up being pretty rich to begin with, since they need to put a lot of money into their craft! I’m not surprised that kids now grow up wanting to be influencers, and not the ubiquitous “doctor”, “firefighter”, “ballerina”, etc. from my youth! I don’t want it to be the truth, but it is, and I don’t gain anything from digging my head into the sand and pretending like this isn’t how the world works now.
Though the movie is not particularly kind in its portrayal of “influencers” in general, I surprisingly didn’t hate the remaining participant, Dominique, like I thought I would. She had signed on for the perfect opportunity for her burgeoning acting career and did what she could to succeed in the experiment, and she did it well! Good for you, girl!
However, as I mentioned before, the most interesting bits of the documentary for me were the other two participants who decided to call it quits before seeing any tangible popularity gains. Though their individual stories and journeys were different, they were both rooted in general discomfort with the entire process and the fear of appearing “fake.” Though my first reaction was to think, yes, this is what you signed up for!, the reality is definitely that things are different when it’s happening to you. One participant, Chris, was weary of fake comments and followers after years of cultivating a persona of being authentic to himself (and, again, good for you, dude!). The other participant, Wylie, became anxious after hearing from an old acquaintance who was judging the path that he was going down. Because the only influencers that I ever really see are those who have fully “bought in” to the lifestyle, it had never occurred to me that there may be people who start down that road but are discouraged by people’s perceptions of them – especially the perceptions of those who already know you.
All three of their stories made me think about the delicate tightrope walk between being genuinely true to yourself and “selling out,” and how everyone’s ability to walk that line is different. We all have different things we want to get out of life, after all!
As for the blog post, the topic I was writing about – inclusive language – was extra tricky, and I spent hours racking my brain for how to approach such a tricky topic. At the end of the night, I walked away from my keyboard even more stressed. On one hand, I wished that I had more time to write the post; on the other hand, I was so worried about my thoughts on the topic coming across as pretentious, at best, to offensive or even just incorrect, at worst. After a night of tossing and turning, I realized that I didn’t even want to write about that subject, and deleted my post before it was published.
I didn’t mean for Fake Famous to affect my blog moving forward, but it definitely planted some seeds. I now have some new plans for my blog moving forward – read about them below!
I finished Everything I Never Told You a few weeks ago and, though I was excited to finally read it, I ended up being – spoiler alert – not thrilled with it. I then watched Minari a few weeks later and loved it, and realized that the reasons that I loved the latter contrasted nicely with the reasons that I didn’t love the former, and that everything tied back to my own experience with being Asian-American.
Read on for more – and this is your warning for lots of spoilers for both the book and the movie below!