A Tale for the Time Being

In relation to identity and our class discussion on October 9th, I wanted to blog about my biggest takeaway from the novel thus far. A Tale for the Time Being goes in depth about identity and how for some individuals it is a daily battle. Family, location, and lots of other factors can influence one’s identity or lack there of one, but, how can one’s identity take a turn when in comparison with another? In a world dominated by social media platforms, comparison to others is at an all time high, and I believe it has led to lower personal satisfaction and general happiness of outlook on life. Social media has opened a world for us to connect with others in an instance, which has allowed us, through human nature, to compare ourselves endlessly with others. Are we studying enough? Do we look good enough? Am I too skinny? Am I too fat? Whatever the case of self-criticism may be, the internet has aided in the process. I think Ruth Ozeki and Nao would agree, as it pertains to the novel. Nao poses it as “do you feel special yet.” Is she hinting at this idea, that it may feel incredibly impossible to feel unique or special because the internet or social media has opened seemingly endless platforms to be connected to all sorts of brilliant, talented, and driven individuals? It is a sad thought to think I am probably not the best at anything… Is this how Nao is feeling, as she goes on to say “I don’t mind thinking of the world without me because I’m unexceptional” (25). Fulfillment and being comfortable with one’s own identity seems to be increasingly challenging in a world filled with 14 year olds on Instagram making large sums of money for seemingly no real reason. It is easy to say, why am I not in that position? Did I do something wrong? Am I worthy of this life? Can identity be so drastically impacted by “being in the right place at the right time.” All harsh and extreme thoughts with an extreme example, but I do think social media and the internet has opened up a bridge of endless comparisons. We all want to be accepted for who we are, and, when the opposite takes place, it can be devastating.

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