Everyone is better than me. It is as if a secret handbook to life was handed out in elementary school on a day where I had the flu or the chicken pox. I often find myself looking around and thinking everything is going wrong, all because it’s going differently for others.
A few years back if you would have asked me what I thought being 20 would feel like, I probably would have answered very differently than if you asked me how I feel right now. I’m an adult, right? I shouldn’t care what people think, because that’s the right thing to do. I should be like the nonchalant people who appear to stroll through their days. I’m independent, strong and tenacious.
Thing is, I am a walking contradiction. I doubt myself to the point where it even annoys me. I could probably attribute this mentality to being bullied for a large part of my childhood. Despite that, I’d like to think that everyone feels this way once in awhile. However, no one really talks about it openly. I often have people tell me “Wow, you have everything put together,” or “You’re so confident.” I get this from the very people I envy.
That’s when I almost spit out my pick-me-up pumpkin spice latté in disbelief. So this is how it works? So many of us are thinking the same thing, but no one wants to talk about it. No one wants to run through these weird and afflicting feelings of inadequacy? Does anyone want to open a dialogue that would help rid us of the extra anxieties and complexes we don’t need? I’m not saying we all need to hug it out and sing “Cumbayá” together, but a little more openness wouldn’t hurt.
It’s seen as a weakness. We’re adults now, we aren’t supposed to care about how other people conduct their business. If that is the case, then why are societal norms constantly pushed down our throats? Why is everything so codified — the rules, marking systems, perception of beauty, sex appeal, the list goes on. It seems like the foundation of our society makes it impossible to ignore what and how others are doing. In a transitional time such as your 20s, it is hard to focus on you and being yourself.
I love how people tell me to be myself, but then mock and shun me for doing exactly that. Because I feel like I’ll never be pretty enough. I’ll never be smart enough, clever enough, and funny enough. I’ll never be “normal.” It astonishes me how many people I’ve met who have felt this way. Amazing, intelligent, kind hearted people. It hurts me to see young people struggling with this, and it frightens me as well.
We’re constantly plugged in, making it terribly difficult to shut the world off. Our mistakes are documented now more than ever. I don’t know about you, but no matter how well I am doing in school, work and with my social life, I feel quite lost in the world we are currently marching forwards.
These are the confessions of a 20-something. These are the silly, “trivial,” embarrassing, but rather common feelings, stories and issues that no one wants to talk about. The little thoughts that rumble about inside of our minds and keep us awake at night. I’m opening the dialogue. Let’s do this.
Have something to say? A suggestion, comment, question or your own confession? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s anonymous. Do it, you’ll feel better.