I want to share some of my doubts.
Thing is, the doubts I want to share are usually restrained by a kind of elegant savoir paraître (knowing how to make-believe) where damn, even if your life is indeed ripping you to shreds and you don’t have an once of certainty, you should shut your mouth, suck it up and look like if right now is the most amazing of times. Social media does just that and everyone do their best to make it look like every day is an endless paradise of porn food, amazing landscapes and grateful friends.
Eat up your doubts and uncertainty. Those things are not attractive and no one wants to hear them. It creates with efficiency a bunch of frustrated people, seemingly happy but hollow inside, with fears and doubts they’re forbidden to share because damn, it doesn’t look cool.
It’s written in self help books, successful people claim it: fake it till you make it! I embraced it for years during my exchange to make things easier and it did. If you pretend you’re in charge of the situation and that any outcome is wanted, then you’re fine and admired. You might be eaten up inside but no worry, on the outside you look awesome so it’s all good.
I’m told to get a boyfriend already and not to throw away the idea of children, a house and stable life. That’s what society is teaching us to aim for isn’t it? Success isn’t personal achievement or mental nurture, it is a mix of possessions and stereotyped way of lives. If you get this house and these three children, you will have succeeded, congrats! Be also prepared for it not being ever enough and be constantly under the spot of accusations on how you decide to raise them, your choices at the supermarket, and please be selfless while also maintaining a successful career and love life. May you fail in one of those and you’ll just be tossed in the pitt of ungrateful women, not good enough for this world, that couldn’t jungle between the labels “prude” or “whore”.
Whatever you choose, you never win but god damnit you better make it look like you’re the luckiest winner in there!
So I’m being told to aim for that mainstream way of living because that’s how everyone has been raised and this is how society works. The economy, the social model expects people to settle down and produce kids, to continue making the machine works.
Understandable. But not applicable today anymore.
When I’m being told to think of having a settled life, I am just crippled with anxiety. A settled life? You say that to a 21 year old whose life at school was basically hearing constantly “ahah guys you’re screwed. Planet is fucked, jobs are dead and you might as well forget about your dream house or even the sight of retirement!”.
Since high school I’ve been told that times have changed and that it would be hard. Forget the 30 years of excess, now it is time to buckle up and oh honey, the price is gonna be so expansive.
But at the same time please maintain the economy and accepted the idea you’re raised in that if you aren’t settled with a husband and kids at 35, you better hurry because your biological clock is running. And also, do you really want to be a social failure? Do like everybody damn else. Of course it’ll be harder and yes, we are applying concepts of an era now dead. Yes, we still expect you to magically get out of your parents’ house by your own means, while still affording your education and building a family.
Too much selfless acts for me in 2016.
I cannot possibly fantom the idea of providing for someone else when I don’t even know how I’ll provide for myself sufficiently. Doesn’t matter how hard I try, it feels like some inexorable fate is going to hinder my efforts because simply I’ve been told it’d be hard and times have changed. It feels like the responsibility of previous generations has been lightened by telling the next ones they were screwed.
To me we’re creating a mass of growing anxiety in younger generations where it becomes easier to escape and pretend than actually be honest and say out loud that no one knows what to do.
I want to be an optimist. I feel like no one in this world will be optimist for me and that I won’t help adding to the constant negativity if I were to decide we were screwed anyway.
I want to think that humans adapt and even though it always seems like it was better before, things are just different and they’re changed. And change isn’t a bad thing because you can be sure that the moment things aren’t changing anymore, it’s because they’re dead and cold.
The world, our world, is constantly evolving and metamorphosing, and so we with it. It requires us to be flexible and ready to adapt in circumstances before unknown. It is hard to change and the idea of difference can be a fearful one. One dreads change and would rather like that things stay the same.
Bullocks, and impossible I’d say. Except if you have the luxury to allow yourself to be outside the bubble of the world, truth is you’ll have to adapt and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
True, sometimes good times end and more dreadful ones are ahead.
But people survive and people adapt. They change their way but you can be sure they’ll continue to live their lives. This is why when I’m constantly hearing around that the world is declining, that France is just going berserk and being destroyed, I don’t want to feed the constant feed of negativity. Damn, which century was boasting about having the best time of their lives? Middle age where Europeans were just sad peasants in their holes? Religion wars where the population were the puppets of bigger things? WW1, WW2? Are we saying those times are better?
According to humans, the world has been going to its loss for a long time and guess what, it is still standing. People have just changed their way of lives and adapted themselves.
And we’ll do the same things. Yes, it will be different and probably less comfortable than what previous generations lived. But we’ll survive with change and flexibility.
So for god’s sake, stop applying concepts and exigences that cannot be applied anymore. A house and a family isn’t the only way to “success” or “personal achievement”. It cannot be done as easily anymore and it’s alright.
Give people some chance and do not be surprised to find them anxious and hidden in a world where paraître (the make-believe) is more important than être (the being). Fake it till you make it, uh?
So let’s accept that we have doubts and that we are worried. It’s fine. We don’t have to pretend that everything is okay, and we don’t have to think that the old way is the way. We’ll have to find what works with our time and with ourselves. We are many individuals and we have different aspirations. One model shouldn’t apply to all, it’s ineffective and counterproductive.
And when I am told I am a little naive brat, “socialist influenced” and that really I haven’t got a shred of reality attached to my brain, the world needs dreamers. It has enough of lipid, stern and radical people. Just take a look to your national news reports and listen at all the people who get a voice: those who use it to communicate a hateful and stigmatizing speech. Don’t you think they’re doing enough, do you need to fuel their energy in their negative discourse? The world needs some dreamers too and while the destination might not be reached, we can at least try to push the wheel in the good direction.
So I’ll say it. I’m anxious about so many things. I’m anxious about never finding a boyfriend (damn, it is forbidden to say that, I should rather be the badass woman sure of myself, ready to walk on the face of the world), I’m anxious about not finding a job that will provide for me or that I’ll find interest in, I’m anxious (and pretty sure) I am not selfless enough to raise another human being. And please, tell me, who wants to create another being in the world we are told we live in? I’ve already been told since I’m 16 that I’m screwed to death and that the world isn’t going to fix itself anytime soon, why would I want to put someone in a seemingly even worse situation? Shall I just adopt this behaviour of saying: “good luck son, it’s your problem now. You didn’t ask to be there, but I’m counting on you to fix all the shit I didn’t take care of”.
When I’m being told of thinking about a boyfriend, children and a house, I cannot get these doubts out of mind. It is not a pretty subject and it isn’t really attractive to be saying around: “I’m gonna have a seizure of uncertainty.” Maybe I’m not helping by sabotaging myself and admitting this out loud. After all, we are in this world of impression and make-believe and it is considered weak to recognize that you’re not sure what the hell is going on.
How many times I’ve read that men prefer women sure of themselves but not too assertive either so they don’t feel threatened? It’s again this paradigm of being either a prude or a bitch.
It’s a game with no winners that everyone puts each other through and I don’t think I want to play this game anymore. I can pretend but I cannot be doubtless and make-believe certainty forever. The anxiety I’m burying isn’t going away and I don’t see how faking it is a sane way to deal with it.
Let’s not build a mass of people crippled and obsessed with what things seem like, but rather encourage people to see what things are and what they could be. And understand that times changes and norms and educations belong to a certain time. This is bound to evolve and this doesn’t mean this is going to decadence. Difference isn’t a punition or a thing we should be afraid of; it’s not even a choice. Deal with it.
Disclaimer: this was written at 4 a.m. at 2645 m. of altitude while waiting for a timelapse. Read and corrected several days later, you get there the essence of what’s been bothering me lately. Concentrated and explicit.