My Daily Dose of Reality, Except Not Really

If I’m on my computer, chances are that I’m shopping online or catching up on The Voice, or maybe even both at once. I freely acknowledge that The Voice isn’t necessarily quality TV. I’m not sure it’s even capable of being quality TV–it is a reality show, and there’s a certain amount of scriptedness and canned-ness that comes with that. But underneath all of that, it represents a singular ability to dream and to continue to dream of what must sometimes seem impossible.

I mean basically, The Voice is like NBC trying to convince an audience to believe in this dream; if so many people can audition and have their ninety seconds of fame, what’s to stop you from doing the same? At its best, it’s a show that represents possibility and hope. You don’t know who’s coming onstage, and you don’t know whether they’ll make it or not, but you do know that for ninety seconds, they are reaching for their dream. That combination of chance and certainty makes it special–the certainty that someone will make it, and the chance that the person on screen at the moment might not.

Shopping is a little different. There’s the same sense of chance and certainty–you know that the dress is black and white, but you don’t know how it’ll fit or whether the picture actually looks like the real thing. You know, but you don’t really, and I find it kind of addicting.

And I know that anything can be a metaphor for life if you try hard enough, but these are the metaphors that I’ve chosen for now–shopping and The Voice. They represent the edge between “yes” and “maybe,” which, basically, is life. Life is all about walking the line between yes and maybe, because although we love to believe in certainty, there are so many things that simply aren’t. It is not certain that everything will be okay or that tomorrow will be a better day or that tomorrow is even coming–none of these things are certain, and yet these are what give people hope to keep on living.

I was watching Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscars acceptance speech, and her belief that “no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid” really stuck out to me. I know that that moment has been GIFed and reblogged and generally quoted a million times over already, but the truth of it is nonetheless certain. Out of everything else, dreams are valid. No one can tell you that your dreams are not valid: only you get to do that. Anyone can say that your dreams are illogical or difficult or even impossible, but none of those things can make a dream invalid. That is certain. The uncertainty comes with the realization of the dream, and like watching The Voice or shopping online, dreaming is really just walking the line between yes and maybe. Always valid and forever fascinating.

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