A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT: Why, WHO you are is not WHO I see

Dear strangers of the world,

Hi.

I had a miscellaneous conversation/fight with a stranger today. Over a bathroom at the train station.

We both thought we were in the right however, after walking away from the other in a huff we both realised we were rather explosive over nothing.

We were really angry that the other person didn’t think the same way we did.

And so we found each other and apologised for our angry outburst and ended up smiling and walking away.

This got me thinking…

You never really know a person or the insides of their mind no matter how close you are to them. So why not just ask?

 

When you look in the mirror at the same person, over the years- yourself.  The same eyes, the same skin.Similar body shape and features; who do you see that I don’t?

I asked 20 of my closest friends to answer this question anonymously through a survey online.

Females and males aged between 19-27.

10 answered and the results truly ruined my day.

 

I started casually reading them, and then casually swearing louder and louder as I felt like I was reading individual diary entries of people I had never met.

Faces popped into my head, confusion, cue more swearing.

The truth was, this social experiment taught me I had no idea who these people were. And more scarier than that- was that these people were some of my favourites. My closest, kindest souls that had stuck with me over the years while others fell away. I thought I knew them.

But I guess this side of them was reserved, just for them.

 

“… I still am a scared child. At times i grieve the person i was before my memory loss kicked in, i really don’t know who i was.” – Female, 19

 

” … I think I have this fear of just being this kind of asshole of a human being with bad intentions that’s scared of the possibility that anyone could view me as anything other than a good person. I think right now I am very confused and insecure about who I am.”  – Female, 19

 

” I also cut people off really quickly if I feel wronged. I don’t necessarily like that aspect of myself.”  –  Male, 20

 

 “At night I often stay awake wondering who is going to bury me after I die.” – Male, 24

 

“… I still feel empty on the inside. I decided to take my life into my own hands this year, tryna stop running on auto pilot , I’m tryin experience as much as I can in terms of relationships, emotions, sex.” – Female, 24

 

“I went through a very bad breakup, and I lost my childlike innocence and freedom of trust. My now partner helps me through this every day without realising. He’s complete magic.” – Female, 22

 

“I live for creating something from nothing, giving life and meaning to a shapeless piece of fabric, watching my effort physically manifest right before my eyes…. if it weren’t for my discovery of sewing at the time my depression was at its worst, i would have killed myself. sewing saved me from myself…” – Female, 19

After this survey, I get why we are the lonely generation.

I can’t help but think that our age-bracket’s co-dependence on technology has something to do with it.

Our performance-driven societies teach us from school that open comparison is part of life. Tinder and assigning people’s worth based on their attractiveness is just one example.

Open-comparison preaches that we will never be the best at anything. That there will always be someone better, popular, smarter than you.  So of course we can’t help but think, why bother? Why try when we won’t succeed?

Social media increases our anxiety, our lust for status and validation and constantly needing more.  Pressure to  #liveourbestlife every minute of every fucking day.

It’s exhausting. It’s fake. And it makes us all feel isolated, like hey, everyone else is hustling all the time and I’m burnt out. Like is something wrong with me?

Humanity is about failure. It’s about not being perfect but constantly learning from our mistakes.

I think today’s ‘Global Village’ (McLuhan, 1964) where we are all connected, encourages us to participate in an online and offline game where we are built to lose.

The pressure to be perfect crumples us. No two lives look the same so why do we prescribe to this torture?

Is our need to fit in and feel special or successful, worth the damage we inflict upon ourselves?

I don’t think so.

( To read the full entries, find it on home page!! )

 

 

 

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