By Kiera Roux, TIWP Student
Globalization of society has muted our souls, pushing us into a box with few tools to escape. How can we have faith in ourselves when we never had the opportunity to find that self? School, social media, and television all imagine other people and how we can strive to become them. But in doing so, they silence us. In school, we are encouraged to get the grades that will get you a job that will make money – and that’s where it ends. Social media romanticizes friendships, lifestyles, and appearances – setting a standard everyone is struggling so hard to reach in order to get to that peak, that they never look back down at what they already have. In movies, the most independent, smart, successful, above-all-else woman ends up with a guy. Feminism has moved us from the tight box of the domestic sphere to another where we simply strive to match the Protestant work ethic that defines success in the patriarchy. And so now female influencers and movie characters have a seemingly infinite amount of economic, physical, and charismatic control.
We are encouraged, in this new age, to become. It’s not okay to simply be.
On this never-ending journey to fulfill a profile the world has told us is the only way to bring happiness, we can’t help but lose faith in ourselves, with the sincere belief that our true selves are these social ideals: the commanding, long-legged, big-eyed female at the top of her profession with a ceaselessly-dynamic personality that always draws positive attention. From the moment we are born, we are shaped to one day become this success story. All we know is this glowing figure we have to mold ourselves into before we leave our peak years. And so our intrinsic selves are silenced before we know how to speak.
It gets worse as we grow older. There is more to uphold, so much so, that we have to completely discard our true passions, ideas, and personalities in order to not have the crippling depression of not “living life to the fullest” – a narrow ideal that no one can feel they have met because they try to achieve it in comparison to the compilation of other peoples’ perfections. There will always be some part of you missing once you silence yourself in order to live your life through the general view of society. Over time, the lines will blur and we will forget what part of us is true and what has been crafted by the constant input of social information we’ve been fed since birth. The happiest people we see in the media are the ones with a strong sense of identity, relentlessly sure of every action, retort and idea. We naturally want to become that person, not realizing that simply being ourselves will give us that true fulfillment. At the end of the day, every human is striving to achieve that unconditional happiness. Social standards make us silence ourselves, thinking we will be happier once we achieve them. And thus, we relentlessly climb an infinite ladder, never sure if we are high enough up, and with each step, a piece of ourselves exhausts, crumbling away into a lost oblivion.