Human Beings or Puppets of Society? A Take on Individual Identity by a Struggling Teen
The looming sense of existential dread that follows us around when you’re at the prime of your life. 18 years old. The age that affects us the most. The age where each of our decisions decide the course of our life. The age filled with important decisions.
We are all so young, so frazzled, so confused. Yet we are being pushed by everyone around us to keep ourselves together. Decide the course of your life, today, right now, this very instant. What college do you want to go to? What profession do you see yourself in? How much money do you want to make? It is always about the things that await us, the decisions we make that will decide our monetary success. What house we’ll be able to afford and the level of luxurious decadent food we’ll be able to put in our system. Will our office hours be the regular nine to five, eating the same bland avocado toast each morning with a cup of coffee stuck in a cubicle wondering how we got here? Or will we be buzzed about starting a new day doing what we love, surrounded by people that push us to do better?
So many decisions.
Why does no one ever ask us the activities we look forward to? Why does no one push us to be our best, most healthy self, and not be put under time constraints and pressure to fit into a mould that we know will stifle us? All we want to hear is that we’re going to be okay. But my mind is filled with voices that are telling me that I can’t stop. I can’t rest. I need to always work, I need to keep up my grades, I need to get into a good college, I need to know what I’m going to be for the rest of my life, I need to figure it out. I need to fit into the mould crafted by the brutal hands of a society that will only ever care about my future financial status and the measurements of my house. I will never be successful if i am not financially stable. But am I mentally stable?
Why can’t my success be put on a scale that measures my own comfort with the person that I am? Why can’t I focus more on the person that I am and strive for my well-being and do what I want to do without caring about what people will say about who I am? Why can’t I love without being condemned? Why can’t I travel without being questioned? Why can’t I put off college without being looked down upon? Why can’t I choose a career without being judged for what i do? I don’t want to be moulded. I just want to be free.
I am just a child. Yet I am being suffocated. Some of us don’t want to follow the status quo. Maybe we don’t want to do as we’re told. Why can’t our elders accept we know our comfort zone better than they do? I don’t want to be told where to go, what to study, who to be. I want to have the liberty to experiment with my identity, with the art that I want to create, with the people that I want to go out of my way for. I want to be able to choose to create my own path with the comfort of the hands that I call my own, with my own voice dictating the direction the gleaming river of life takes. If I stumble, I stumble on my own accord. If I fall, it is with my own sheer strength that i stand back up. If i make a mistaken decision, it is mine to make. Not yours. Not society’s. It is my own.
It is tiring to follow a list of rules handed to us without us having a say in it. It is exhausting to be told what to do without our own happiness being factored in. It is taxing on our mind and our body to be told we should build a life out of dirt simply for monetary satisfaction. I am not a drone to be controlled by all-knowing puppet masters who dictate every course of action I take. My speech is my own, and it is time i take it back from the controllers. My mind is filled with their voices, and it is disturbing.
We need to stand up for our own selves, and take back the control we’ve given to the people around us. The minute we stop giving them power over us, they lose. We are our own people, and we can decide who to love, what to wear, what to do with our lives. It is no one’s show but our own. No one has influence over our being but us. We have spent our entire lives giving up a piece of ourselves to the people around us, so much so that we have fed into their hunger for power and control. They grew into a looming darkness, a shadow that we couldn’t shake off. They got into our heads, telling us we will never be enough, telling us we don’t know what’s best for us, making sure they tore us down so they could reign domination over every broken shard of glass. They made us think we’re powerless and helpless. But we’re not. There is no one that can tell us who to be. There is no mold built by society that we cannot break. Our differences, in looks, in identity, in personalities, in choice, is what empowers us. That is what pushes us to break the status quo. That is what they’re afraid of. That one day we’ll wake up and believe in our own choices, and there will be no cryo-chamber left in the world that we could fit in.
Take it from a distressed teenager with time-limits and immense pressure on her shoulders, from someone who has always felt out of place, from someone who had never been too fond of being put in a category: we are our most empowered self when we let go of people’s expectations and societal pressure. We are our most empowered self when we realize we can’t be controlled. This is the age that is the most important for me, and my first big decision that would alter the course of my life is acceptance that I will never please everyone around me and I will not do as I’m told every single time. This will shape the course of my life, and hopefully pave the way to a more open, healthier, happier version of myself.