Last night, I found myself staring at the darkened TV screen with my jaw dropped, wanting nothing but more. We’d just finished Fyre Fraud, Hulu’s documentary about the Fyre Fest debacle of 2017. If you’ve somehow managed to not hear about this yet, I strongly recommend you do some digging. Because it’s fascinating. And it’s fascinatingly sad.
For starters, we’ve got Billy McFarland, who sounds enough like a pompous douchebag and actually looks like one, too. Billy was a guy who wanted to be famous. He wanted money, he wanted to hang out with models, and he wanted to be known. So he tried inventing things, believing he could be the next Zuckerburg, and his first attempt totally failed. But then he invented a credit card that resembled the cool slate-like feel of a black Amex (all the class minus the responsiblity), and while it appeared to do well, it turns out it didn’t. He really just got lucky when it came to selling to his investors.
So he afforded the lifestyle. And he got the girls. And he bought the swanky digs. With no real talent except for a knack for deception. Until he wanted more. He needed more. And he made some reallllly bad choices. Spoiler Alert: He’s now in jail for wire fraud. (Fyre Fraud? Get it?)
But the problem is, he was only able to make these bad choices because he had the audience and the support system to do it.
“The Millennials,” as those of us born from 1981 – 1996 are so lovingly and misleadingly known, allowed him to do it.
I’m a Millennial. There’s no doubt about it. I had a very good upbringing, filled with boy bands and MTV and Starbucks and Facebook, and I’ve had a hard time #adulting while I’ve strived to find a job that alights my passions, because I was always told I could be whatever I wanted to be (even though I was also graciously told that I’d have to work for it).
But the Millennials represented in this documentary are not me. And I do not want to be associated with them. These Millennial Influencers who paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to live in a luxe oceanside villa while they danced in bikinis to Kanye and sipped $300 worth of alcohol per day while still somehow maintaining an Instagram-flawless body….they’re not real life. They want and have things that most of us “Millennials” could only dream of, because we’re all over here just trying to make ends meet in a job market that is constantly failing us.
Most of us don’t have the looks or the personality (or the desire) to become our own brand on social media. Yet this is how we’re perceived. These are the standards we are supposedly looking up to. These are the visual representations of our generation. And they’re false. Those Millennial Influencers (and the folks that are dumb enough to quit their jobs and spend all their savings on the opportunity to hang out with them in the Bahamas) a very small (albeit thousands-strong) percentage of what the rest of us truly are.
The biggest problem with Fyre Festival in the first place is that it was trying to make a profit off of these supposed ideals. But it’s not Fyre Fest’s fault that those ideals are in place. It’s not even Billy’s fault that those ideals are in place.
It’s ours. It’s our fault that we’re glued to our phones; it’s our fault that we’re liking all the pictures of girls carrying the same Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag; it’s our fault that we’re observing and obsessing over their behavior and their supposed celebrity friendships so much that we’re doubting the happiness of our own normal & mundane lives.
And that’s where, as a Millennial, I am embarrassed to be a part of this. Even if I didn’t even know it was going on, even if I never heard of #FyreFest until it was a trending disaster, even if I don’t follow Bella Hadid or Austin Mills (whoever he is) on Instagram, even if I don’t post my own “fake” photos or keep up with updating my “story” – I am at fault for falling for social media. We all are, in our own unique way. Even when we’re just silently scrolling.
I’ll be honest, I’m not badass enough to take a full 30-day or lifetime break from it. Social media is how I promote this blog, it’s how I find encouragement on rough days and healthy recipes for new dinner ideas. It’s also part of my actual paying job, too. Social media, to a point, is necessary. But what I’m trying to do, and what I’d like to encourage y’all to do as well, is be mindful of what you’re consuming – and how often you are.
Don’t diminish your interactions with others because you’d rather know what’s going on somewhere else. Don’t fall victim to the 10 girls on your feed all promoting the same Spanx leather leggings from Nordstrom. Don’t let yourself get down about the guy you went to high school with who’s now running his own business and welcoming his third child with a girl he married before you’d even had a proper first date.
Just scroll on through. Take it in and breathe it out. Regardless of all those little details, you are still enough. You still have plenty to offer. And maybe, you’re better for it, because you are living the life that is best for you – not the one someone else told you would be better.
Break the chain of the Millennial Curse. Prove that you are different. And freakin’ REJOICE in that. Because at least you didn’t have to go to Fyre Fest.