• r2mahesh

i would die for love island UK season 5 or maybe i wouldn't

I swear i've strategized 4 billion different ways to end my existential crisis but i never realized the thing to really do it would be reality television.

For most hours of the day (maybe especially since doing senior year of college in a pandemic) I've smacked my internal monologue against the walls of my skull thinking about answers to high stakes questions that I've obviously assigned myself and literally no one is asking me to weigh in on.

Questions like, "is humankind inherently good or extremely evil? Should I reject achievement or achieve greatly? "How do I make sure to never experience conflict in any of my personal relationships?" Easy and very solvable questions that have definitely not been the subject of like all literature and therapy sessions since the end of time.

I spend a lot of time obsessing over the minutia of my life, strategizing what needs to change, what I want, wondering about the path that I'm on; creating, dismantling, and rebuilding disaster scenarios and escape routes from them. I identify traits or ideas as my life purpose, pour myself into them, lose interest, and the cycles begin again.

These are questions that should be brought to art, I assume? Art of a certain caliber? Something like great pieces of theatre, song, maybe the eternal and inevitable magnum opus. I've tried doing basically all of that. I like Love Island UK Season 5 better. Here are three big overarching takeaways I have from its addition into my life:

I have a chance of living through my twenties

This is dramatic, obvious, but a conclusion nonetheless. Like countless other 22 year old college graduates, I have no idea what I'm doing with my life and never thought I would make it this far in general. Seeing a show specifically featuring 20 somethings makes me remember that there's no magic switch that gets flipped into becoming "an adult." There's a huge process of change that happens over the next decade, and in this show I see people at different stages of what I consider to be my own next chapter of life. I can identify behaviors that I recognize in myself and would like to grow into, as well as those I recognize in myself and can begin to grow away from. And it reminds me that it is possible to make it to 30 years old.

There is no right way to deal with conflict

I spend a lot of time wondering if I'm a good person or not. I question my own impulses and overanalyze my own behaviors to root out character flaws. I know this is largely good to take part in, but on some level wonder if any truly good person has to spend that much time thinking about whether or not they are one? No idea. One of the big existential pondering of humankind or something.

This show reminds me that people are fallible- and that generally we don't expect otherwise? The standard of behavior that minimizes a negative impact on other individuals is usually pretty easy to identify with basic exercise in empathy. I forget there are certain things that people have kind of been on forever. "Walk a mile in someone else's shoes," "treat others how you would want to be treated," etc.

Usually when I want a lesson in morality, I watch a kids show. But when I want to see it in practice, I watch how couples on Love Island engage in communication about their relationships. The most successful interactions, (identified as those that elicit the least amount of yelling at tv screen from me on my couch) oftentimes prioritize honesty and sensitivity. It reminds me that a basic exercise of empathy can become reflexive.

No one can be reduced to the sum of their parts

I love to preemptively analyze people based on their identifying details, extrapolate things about their personality, and then constantly evaluate how well they match up. I recognize this is a somewhat normal part of getting to know other human beings, but sometimes I put way too much weight on my own assumptions when thinking about the way the world is, versus how I expect it to be.

All of the time inside since the start of the pandemic has definitely helped this- social media makes it so easy to reduce individuals to their data. Watching this show reminds me that the net experience of affecting and being affected by another human being will forever be the only real tool you will ever have to judge them by.

I now present a relic from my student theatre days,


Tweet @rishipuff with the answers to this scramble:

Inferior Reality Series


Slightly Better Reality Series

Hint: Competition show, on Netflix


And next week I will shout out the first three winners

+ one honorable mention!

The questions that I ride down my spirals are always about strategizing the outcomes of my own life. How to avoid feeling pain, how to avoid causing it. I spend a lot of time etching out my belief systems. But I don't think whether or not I'm a good person is pre-decided? I guess it will be the sum total of the ways in my life that I choose to act, and I hope I will have plenty of chances to evaluate my impulses as I go through my 20's. As I do, I'll quiet the southeast Michigan accent of my internal monologue with a 8-10 much more glamorous cockney ones.

Thanks for reading this stuff by your friend, rishipuff

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