Thursday, July 7, 2016

I Am A Millennial. And I Am Not Alone.

I've been sitting on this a long time.

I mean, not physically sitting on it.

Metaphorically sitting.

As most of you who've been around here probably know, a vast majority of my life revolves around the internet.

I am a part of the Millennial Generation, the generation of kids that have grown up to be known as lazy, irresponsible, and who take things for granted.

But for those of us who are a part of this generation, we know differently. When we were kids, we still went outside and played in the street. We still had sleepovers with friends where we put on makeup and talked about boys all night. We went to elementary and probably most of middle school without a cell phone, and once we did have one, it was only to call mom and dad when they forgot to pick you up after rehearsals. When we were in high school, we still knew how to hold a conversation with our peers, and notes were passed not via text, but via pencil and crumbled up piece of paper.

More than anything, though, we were told that we could and would do anything we wanted, so long as we worked hard enough.

And then we went to college and were faced with the harsh reality of living in this generation. Colleges were overcrowded, and we were underfunded. In our youth, we thought we would never have to go to college for more than 4 years, but when we actually got there, we realized that classes over overcrowded and that class that we NEED to take Senior year is only offered Fall semester and it was full before you even had the chance to sign up for classes. And that one bleep meant you couldn't take 2 required classes your last semester because it was a prerequisite and now you've added an extra year and an extra $50,000 to your debt to get a piece of paper.

And then comes the glorious day when you finally do get your diploma. And you have speeches from scholars of a different era, telling you how blessed you are to grow up in the America of today. How we will go far in life with some hard work. The problem is, you just spent the past 4-6 years of college being told from your professors that you will never amount to anything because it doesn't matter that you go to college anymore, it only matters if you get a job that leads immediately into a career. But you brush them off and still have high hopes.

And when you graduate, you realize how truly fucked you are.

Because the generations ahead of you are all still in the workforce. People are working into their 60's and 70's, and refusing to hire anyone without a Masters degree in an irrelevant subject and 17 years of experience for an entry level position. And you were too busy in college to get an unpaid internship because you were on your own, and you needed to pay rent and feed yourself and pay the $200,000 worth of student debt you had accumulated and you sacrificed a social life to do such. You needed the money to survive. But you had been told you could do anything as long as you worked hard enough.

But no one should have to work for free.

Some of us got lucky and entered the workforce. Were lucky enough, perhaps, to have parents who were able to pay for housing, or schooling, or food, and in turn, they were rewarded with an internship and the opportunity to pursue something they actually wanted to do. But then the rest of us were stuck, still struggling to pay rent and put food on the table and anti-depressants and have completely blown off the student debt because you can't afford all four. And you work a dead end job because 4-6 years of college and a degree and 4-6 years of working a paying job mean nothing in this day and age when you're applying for jobs, and the managers of those companies expect you to have the experience of someone twice your age, but to only pay you half your worth.

And so we escape, however we can, trying to be social in this day and age where anything in the world is just a click away. You really can be anything you want to be, even though it's just an avatar on a screen. And then we are called lazy, and stupid, and irresponsible, and worthless, because we truly KNOW we are worth more than what we are appraised as.

We may be lazy, but we work 2 jobs just to have our bank accounts break even at the end of the day.

We may be stupid, but we know more about history, politics, and the people around us because rather than watch one news source on tv, we are surrounded by so many opinions and ideas, and articles from everywhere around the world.

We may be irresponsible, but we still strive for perfection in everything we do, and we still work our asses off in order to get a millimeter ahead in life.

And we may be worthless, but we know what we are truly made up of. More than any other generation before us, we have learned who we are, and what we want in life. And we will not take no for an answer.

And sometimes its hard. And we fall. And most of us go around silently protesting in our heads, knowing we are right. But outside, we try to act normal. Try to push back the fact that this pressure we have had placed on our shoulders has left a terrible scar, the scar of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and many other things. But those things aren't normal in everyday life.

Which is why we flock to the internet. To be seen and to be heard for who we truly are. To realize that maybe, just maybe, we are not alone in this world. But maybe so many people that surround us are experiencing the same issues.

I was with a couple of friends of mine from college a few of weeks ago, and I was amazed at how much we talked. We hadn't seen each other, or spent much quality time together, since we graduated a couple of years ago. But we spent the whole day together and did nothing but talk. Not even about petty subjects, but about the problems in our heart, things we fear in the world, what our true desires are, what we really truly want to be in life, and our crippling anxiety. And as we each talked, the others would listen. Not just listen, but LISTEN, truly listen. And try to place ourselves into the other's shoes, and ask questions until we understood. And for the first time in what seems like forever, I felt truly understood, like what I thought and said mattered.

For the first time in forever, I didn't feel so alone.

I've been watching a lot of YouTube at work lately because it's nice to have something on in the background. When I was younger, I would watch videos about silly things. But the deeper I got into the sphere, the more I realized how much I loved vlogs about people's daily lives. And so often in these videos, these people, who I feel are my friends despite the fact none of them have any idea who I am, they would apologize for their lives being so "boring" and that "nothing was really happening".

But I'm still fascinated by the way that so many humans live their lives all around the world. The internet has really opened my eyes to the world around me, and truly makes me understand the fact that I am not alone in my struggles, but that hundreds, if not thousands, or maybe even millions, of other humans feel exactly like I do, and go through the same things I do.

And in that way, we are not alone.

And part of me has the desire to spread myself through the internet in much the same way.

As you all know, I try and be extremely open about myself and my mental health issues and the goings on of my heart. And I do that because I simply can't be anything except myself, so why would I even want to hide the only thing I am? A large part of me is considering taking these blogs to the next level, and sharing myself, and all the things that I am in video form. Expanding my reach, and maybe helping someone like me in another stretch of the globe. Reminding others that they are not alone.

I've always said that I want to make a difference in the world, even if it is in just one person. And I was taught growing up that I could do anything I set my heart to.

What if this is my chance?

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