There are often pressures placed upon teenagers and young adults to conform to common expectations within our society today. From first-hand experience, I understand how damaging this can be to an individual, and how it can influence thoughts and feelings about personality and individuality. I believe that this is why so many teenagers and young adults today decide to adopt trends, follow stereotypes and do as they are told. In other terms, this is why I feel that most of society have turned into sheep: following the leader in a line, determined to have identical characteristics and looks as the person in front and behind them.
By no means am I implying that I’ve never been a sheep: despite my ideas of individuality and anti-stereotypical behaviour, I’ve done my fair share of following, in fear primarily. I was too scared to step out of line and speak up, so I continued to shuffle along, head down, shoulders hunched, hoping that no one would notice me, hoping that I looked no different to the person three places in front of me, or the person nine places behind me. Maybe I got bored, or maybe it was for some other reason, but recently, I’ve been fed up with looking like everyone else, acting like everyone else, hiding like everyone else.
Why should I repress my individuality because it’s not what everyone expects to see?
What is stopping me from straightening up, holding my head high and being me?
Being a teenager is hard – of course it is. Growing up is one of the most difficult things in life, and so added pressure and expectations are not just bad; they’re unhealthy.
I’ve got to believe. There are so many people out there who are desperate to release their individuality, personality and style, but are too frightened of judgement. Some have taken steps to be themselves, and I give my total respect to those people. Sadly, even those people have returned to life as a follower, because they got laughed at, labelled.
I won’t let that happen to me, though. Labels fly around our society, and I can hardly help but think that as there are so many, what significance do they really have any more? Once something has happened several times over, it’s initial impact begins to fade; it’s the same with labels. If I can combine this logic with self-belief, what is there to stop me from being me? If I believe in what I do, say and think, is there anything that makes it wrong?
People laugh at you because they don’t know anything different. They’re all the same: stuck to conform with society, because they’re too afraid to break away. Society teaches them to ridicule those who aren’t like them, who don’t abide by the unwritten rules, and so they do. The trick is not to let that affect you. They laugh, label, point and ridicule because they don’t understand why you’re different, why you’re fed up with following the rules.
Please, guys, believe in yourselves. whatever you decide to do: campaign, dress differently, care less about what people think. Believe in what you do: it’s you, after all. Believe in what you feel is right, in what you want to do, so long as it doesn’t harm others. You’re all perfect, even if yu don’t see that right now; I do see it, and I’m telling you. Believe.