Hey y’all, I know it’s been awhile since I provided any content for you to either approvingly nod at or call bullshit on.
I call everyone else out all the time, but I am also not afraid to admit when I have fucked up. And I have really fucked up.
I impulsively fell in love with this guy who said he wanted to build a life with me. He then bailed via text message. He was under pressure from his family after his relative, who had apparently stalked me, took him to a festival in the woods and screamed personal information about me at him until he promised to leave me.
So bottom line, I’m pretty pissed off and bitter right now, and I’m ready to come back at you full force, unless that guy’s family has me murdered.
This all has been really great for my anxiety.
Today we’re going in on 5 lies countless millennials have absorbed from older generations. I know a lot of people who have struggled, or are personally being tortured by these toxic beliefs right now! I know I’ve wrestled with some existential despair because of the belief that I “wasn’t doing it right,” because I couldn’t make these things true, regardless of how hard I tried.
Let’s Get Started!
You Can Be Anything You Want
If you’re like me, you grew up wanting to be a rockstar-ancient-egyptian-magic-practicing-paleontologist-vampire in a polyamorous marriage to Esmeralda, from the animated Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney movie, and Duncan MacLeod from Highlander. Or maybe you just wanted to be a duck. Or be a basketball player. Or a princess. Or a fireman. Or a doctor. Or an artist.
While it’s ok to tell a 5 year old who thinks they’re gonna be the next Van Gogh that they are gonna make it, at some point you have to get real with your kids about managing expectations. You gotta tell them about bills. We all know a tone deaf person verging on middle age still trying to make it on Broadway. If you’re a millennial, there is a chance your parent kinda lowkey raised you to be that guy.
I’m not saying that unless you come from a well-connected wealthy family who will bankroll your soul quest that you have been priced out of having goals bigger than basic survival. But without the right connections and endless capital on hand, you’re gonna face some serious obstacles you might not otherwise.
The fact of the matter is, you often can’t just be whatever you want. There are often complications, extenuating circumstances, and all kinds of real life issues which can get in the way of you attaining your ideal dreams. Real life is often about compromise and surviving sticky situations.
Sometimes your dreams are just dumb. That’s ok. Having some fantasies in you is good. Not enacting all of them at all times doesn’t mean you are an empty husk of a person.
Going To College Is The Only Path To Success
Like I said, I call bullshit on a lot of things. I’ll also be very honest with you about how I have fucked up. I 100% fell prey to this one. More so than probably anything else on this list, this one has fucked up my entire life.
If you, like me, were a scared mentally ill 18 year old kid, looking to escape a toxic family situation, or just trusted your well-meaning parents, or were just basically a kid and didn’t know fuck about anything, you most likely also ended up going tens of thousands of dollars in debt and wasting roughly four years of your life on a degree you didn’t really need and don’t use.
This one is actually the easiest to break down.
There are a ton of well paying secure jobs that you don’t need a college degree for. You, like me, unquestioningly fell in line with the classicism that had been hammered into your parents.
And by classicism, I mean the idea that there are real jobs and fake jobs. There are jobs and pay grades where you deserve to be treated with basic respect, and your humanity gets to be recognized, and jobs and pay grades where you get a little less of both. Then there are jobs and pay grades where you get none. Your salary and prestige give you humanity points.
People want to get Big Macs, but for some reason they want the people making them to be punished. They want them to starve. They want them to die of treatable illnesses. They want them to know they don’t matter. Hell, even the stress of poverty can fucking kill you.
Between being a respected doctor making 6 figures and having your humanity generally accepted, and being a person in a customer service position who makes peanuts and whose humanity is generally denied, there are all kinds of “respectable” jobs that don’t require a college degree.
For example, 60% of federal workers don’t have college degrees. Here are 10 jobs that will land you a stable middle class life and do not require a bachelor’s degree. Here’s a list of dozens of skilled trade jobs, ranging from Welder to Film Editor, many of which have no bachelor’s degree requirement. There is hardly a job on this list that makes less than $20 an hour.
Hell, over the summer I went on a date with a nearly 30 year old guy who went to trade school out of high school and is now the boss of an oil refinery. He has a car and house he owns, kids, and a wife he’s in an open marriage with.
I’m only a few years younger than him and have no kids, own nothing, live in a crumbling roach infested hovel, and am like $50K in debt.
I have that degree tho.
If You Don’t Love Your Job You’re A Failure
It would be great if all of our passions and interests were valued under capitalism, in a way where we could focus on them and still afford to eat.
That’s not the world we live in.
Do not judge yourself for failing to live in some unrealistic dream world where we always get what we want.
Sometimes a job is just a job. And there’s no shame in doing what you have to do so you can stay off your parents’ couch.
While I was building my freelance writing jobs up after college, I worked as a dog walker, I lifeguarded at 3 pools, and I worked at a Panera Bread. I didn’t even get a single freelance gig until 9 months after graduation. For the first 5 months I wasn’t even trying to do anything else. I was just on that grind because student loans are real.
I picked up dog shit. A pitbull almost took a chunk out of my leg. I got insulted by shitty rich old women who didn’t want autistic adults to share the pool with them, and got mad at me when I told them that it was a membership based facility, so anyone with a pass could swim there. I scraped bloody tampons off floors. I would bring a huge backpack to work and stuff it full of old bagels and rolls because all my money was going to paying off a parent plus loan. I was sleeping on couches.
Honestly, I’m not really killing it as a freelancer. If I had any real responsibilities, didn’t live in a disgusting row home with two other people, and if the most expensive thing I owned wasn’t a shady third-hand old macbook air, I wouldn’t be selfishly following my dreams either.
Hell, every 3 months I say “fuck this,” and try to learn how to code.
Look, if you are hustling, and you’re surviving even though it’s hard out there, don’t let anyone tell you shit.
We Get What We Deserve
I never believed this, because I grew up believing the universe was actively malevolent, and now I think it’s just indifferent. However, I know a lot of people who seem to be really butthurt by the idea that they deserve better than they have gotten.
I know a lot of people that are deeply angry, because they feel like they are owed a whole bunch of things they haven’t gotten. As if life has handed everyone else a pot of gold, and them, a chamber pot.
The bottom line is, no one innately deserves anything.
You don’t get extra points for being a good person. In fact, shitty people often appear to be rewarded in the cosmic shuffle while good people get untreatable cancer. Look, our president is ridiculously unqualified for his job, a rapist and a Twitter troll. It’s like we are living in some kind of dark propaganda comedy North Korea churned out about the US government. Nothing is real.
No one deserves anything. No one is looking out for you. No one is guaranteed anything. Luck and chance decide most of your life, and put most of its events in motion. If you are like me, even your birth was an accident, and shit has not become any more concrete since. While your birth may not have been accidental, every part naturally born to you is pure chance, and most of your life and personality is incidental.
While you can, and should, fight for what you want, and work smartly toward your goals, that fight and work will not always guarantee the result you intended.
No one owes you anything. Unless you are well connected, no one will hand you anything. Your free spirited friend, that studies Shakespearian literature and lives in a gorgeous loft apartment, and really found themselves in Tamil Nadu last summer on a trip their rich aunt bankrolled, isn’t innately more deserving of happiness and personal growth and exploration than you. They just happened to be born to a family with more money in it. That’s just chance. A lot of things are. There is no deserving in it.
If A Relationship Doesn’t Last Forever It’s A Failure
I promise, this one isn’t just a vehicle for me to vent about my idiot ex-boyfriend. The idiot ex-boyfriend who told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me impulsively; even though he had to know on some level that it would not be possible— who then outed us to his terrifying Indian family impulsively, and then backtracked instantly under family pressure, and wouldn’t acknowledge that it was fucked up of him to put me in any of those positions emotionally, or the one where his relative stalked me.
It’s definitely not.
To be real though, the idea that all relationships are only valid if they end with the death of at least one of the people involved, and anything else is failure, is insane.
People grow. People change. Sometimes they grow together. Sometimes they grow apart. I would argue that staying with someone you hate forever, and steadily growing more miserable by the day is failure.
I would say that leaving a situation that does not suit you, enrich your life, fulfill you, or is not healthy, even if it is not easy, takes a lot of strength, and is ultimately a personal success.
Of course, if you jump ship on a significant other every time they say something you don’t agree with, or do something you don’t like, or things get tough, you are gonna be through a bae a day, but there is a big difference between small issues and relationship-ending mega-problems.
While if your relationship ends because you cheated, or neglected your partner’s needs, or did something cruel, then that is definitely a failure on your part, a relationship ending in itself is not innately a failure. For the person leaving your shitty nonsense, it’s a win.
A breakup can also be two people being honest with themselves and each other about how they’ve changed and what they need, and are now making constructive positive changes by splitting up.
There is a lot of pressure, traditionally specifically put on women, to get a man and to keep him at any costs. To keep the family together. To use him as a symbol of her own worth, because she alone is not worthy. Hell, being a monogamous couple is held at such a high standard that some people choose that shit over and over again, even if they hate it and it doesn’t work for them. Being in a relationship is not inherently a success. And being single or leaving a relationship or getting left is not inherently a failure.
Girl, fuck that shit. Don’t let them do it to you. Any of these 5 things listed. Don’t buy into any of it at your own expense.
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Isadora Teich is a freelance writer and traveler. They’ve written social media copy, tabloids, news, erotica, opinion pieces, quizzes, have worked on film scripts, and do some ghostwriting from time to time. Isadora lives for artistic experimentation and is working on a novel.