Shut Up; Our Generation Actually Doesn’t Suck

I don’t know about any of you fine folks, but I read a handful of articles a day about how narcissistic our generation is, how we can’t stop taking selfies, we ignore each other in favor of looking at our phones, we have no idea what it means to work hard for what we want, the list goes on and on…

That all looks great on paper, especially to the Baby Boomers. But when I finally find the time to glance up from my beloved iPhone, I look around to see my peers doing amazing things. My best friend planned at least 5 events this year that brought in more than 100 people to local bars and businesses. I have friends who write and perform their own music on a daily basis. Another friend just traveled all over Europe. Furthermore, I have a friend who is a producer for ABC News, a friend who has his doctorate in Pharmacy, and a sister who has two master degrees.

I go to an open mic night for underage people at a local coffee shop and these kids are writing amazing poems and creating freestyle raps and just overall killing it – and most of them can’t even drive yet! Tell me that’s not impressive.

People I know are running marathons and competing in Tough Mudders and going to the gym on the regular. I know vegetarians and vegans and people who eat meat but are super healthy.

What do these people have in common? They are all a part of the dreadful millennial generation and yes, they have probably all taken a selfie at least once in their lives.

On top of all of these amazing accomplishments, most of us are buried under overwhelming mounds of student debt – and we still find a way to smile for our profile pictures! Take that, boomers!

In all seriousness, though, our generation gets a bad rep. But I have a social life that is far from sitting around typing on my cellphone. And, me saying that could probably seem narcissistic to people who think it’s better to be modest than talk about your strengths (and my social life is DEFINITELY a strength ;)). Even if my friends and I Instagram the pumpkins we just carved, it doesn’t mean we didn’t just have the most fun carving them with each other. So, we still do things – we just have different tools now to share our lives. We do it online instead of writing letters. We text instead of call. It’s just different.

It’s wonderful that the internet and social media has brought such awareness to mental health, depression, personality disorders, etc. but I do find it a little disheartening how easy it is to throw these labels around. People who post selfies are narcissistic, histrionic, while people who post sad songs are depressed. I have seen so many people wear the I-hardly-post-to-social-media like a badge of honor. As if resisting the impulse to update people on their lives makes them a tad bit less conceited and a tiny bit more of a respectable person. And, I mean, kudos to them. I haven’t researched this, but I just tend to think if people worried less about how people perceive them on the internet – post too much, too whiny, too whatever – and just did what they feel, they’d have more time to focus on their individuality and creativity.

I don’t know, I’m just talking out of my ass here. I guess it comes down to this: every generation is great and shitty all at once – ours is no different. But watch out, the background in our selfies gets a little bit more impressive every time. That’s right, we’re making our way to the top and documenting our successes along the way.

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snot-hanging-out-of-your-nose ugly crying

“I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness.” ― Jack KerouacOn the Road

Do you know what it’s like to be human? I’m talking the straight-up, soul-bearing, snot-hanging-out-of-your-nose ugly crying, scared, sad and real human. None of that I-laugh-all-the-time and life-is-too-short-to-waste-one-moment-of-happiness bullshit. It’s bullshit and it’s fake. People can’t live that way, we weren’t made to. That’s why our favorite television characters cry and get hurt and we relate to it. That’s why it’s so dreadfully damaging that we all post happy shit on Facebook all the damn time and then retreat to our beds alone and cry.

I’m so god awfully beaten down and tired, and I look out the window and know that I can’t feel this way. I’m not entitled to feel this way. Poor Monica, with her car and her social life and her smart phone and her iPad and her ever-growing wardrobe… what a freaking tough life. Complaining about the hurt in her heart… what a bore!

I often wonder why cigarettes can’t be decorated in white paper with light pink flowers and pink nicotine. I wonder why they have to be so awfully terrible for you. Can’t there be one thing in life that is enjoyable and good for you all at once?

I wonder if life would be easier if we were all dumb and we didn’t know what is good for us and what is bad; if we all just worried a little less. If we didn’t all sit on our asses and stare at the internet as it tells us it’s so bad for us to sit on our asses.

I like someone and I feel terribly guilty for it. It strikes me that having admiration for another human being shouldn’t cause so much distress. It makes sense that you may feel for someone who doesn’t feel the same way back, and that’s going to suck, but that’s not what I’m so concerned about. Rejection I can deal with. However, what’s worse is I feel like I’m a moron for even having feelings at all.

Is it too much for me to just be able to make myself as small as possible so as not to disturb anyone?

What right do I have to like someone who doesn’t like me back? I hate the thought of putting a person in the uncomfortable situation of having to deal with a silly girl who won’t get it through her thick, thick skull.

At long last I realize, I can’t make myself any smaller than I already am and goddamn it, I’m sure tired of trying. Still, I am so very, very scared of being big and brave. I’m scared of the idea that life isn’t a Facebook page. I cannot always pick the pieces of me that I want people to see. Maybe worse yet, I can’t pick the pieces of myself that I like the best in my own mind.

It’s true what people are writing about; these almost relationships of our generation. They are enough to drive a person crazy. I don’t want to be a cliché; I want to be stronger. I want to be strong enough to not even want a relationship. I don’t want a heart at all. I want to be the bravest, most independent person I know. I want all of this until it’s 1 a.m. and raining and my teddy bear is being hugged so tight even it wants to run away.

Marriage is dumb, no? I mean, isn’t it really? To be monogamous in 2015 seems almost impossible and even more unnecessary. I have a job, I make money, I’m a feminist. So what is this nagging feeling in my gut when it’s dark and I’m all alone? Is that what they call loneliness? It’s confusing to me because how could I be lonely when I have everything I need in life. I’m not going to die without a hug before bed. If years of evolution are making me feel like I need someone just to make sure the human race doesn’t die off, why does it seem so real?

I don’t know. I don’t have the answers, man. I can’t put into words what it feels like to try to be as genuine as possible in a world where it’s easier to be fake. I’ll keep trying.