Walking back to my dorm tonight, my thoughts were as follows: “Ugh, God, I wish it was Thursday already. No, I don’t want to go back to the dorm and just sit there alone with myself and my thoughts. Kinda wish I was getting drunk tonight. Yeah…I really wish I was. I need to go to a party. I can’t just sit there…what am I going to do, lie around and listen to Taylor Swift? I can’t do that. I need a party. And alcohol. And a frat. And dancing. And really, really loud music. And “Kanye” by the Chainsmokers. And then I want to eat massive amounts of goldfish without even realizing it and regret it the next morning. Ugh, I wish it was Thursday.” And now here I am, having decided to do something productive with myself because I have come to plainly conclude to myself that college students, teenagers, our generation as whole – doesn’t really like to feel.
We’re not okay being alone with our thoughts in the middle of the night thinking about that boy who won’t text us back, or the boy we really loved but left at home from high school. We don’t like thinking about the past, our biggest regrets, or the friend we have come to grow apart from. We don’t like addressing the people who hurt us and opening the wound. We block out the significant other who broke our hearts. We pretend not to care when we’re hurt. Our whole lives are centered around avoiding the pain, the emotion, that big blob of darkness that follows us around everywhere we go- we all have one.
Instead, we take seven shots of Svedka at the pregame, fill up on beer at the disgusting, overcrowded frat party, we hook up with random people who mean nothing and therefore could not possibly bring any pain upon us. We fill the void with hollow hand-holding back to the room of that frat-star from Sig-Pi. We dance to and scream the lyrics of “Rather Be” at the top of our lungs to block out any song lyric of meaning that we may have listened to that day in our moment of weakness. There is no meaning, no emotion, no pain to be found at a college frat party… But at the end of the night what are we drunkenly crying about? The broken hearts, the empty feelings, the lost lovers, the worries, the concerns, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness- they leak in. The feelings are there, but we sure have figured out a painless way of avoiding them.
Our entire generation is all about not caring. It’s about who cares the least? It’s about who’s the most successful at not feeling anything? It’s about how do we avoid the pain? We don’t like to feel. We would much rather spend our nights dancing shamelessly with a random person we will never see again than feeling the pain that may be concerning us that day. Maybe that’s why we’re caught up in the hook up culture. Heartbreak and relationships are too hard. Pain is too much. We don’t want to admit to caring about something, we don’t want to admit to feeling. My friend looked at my notes on this blog post pre-writing it and her immediate response was “gay.” All of this is “gay.” Yeah, feeling is “gay.” Yeah heartbreak is “gay.” If we keep calling it “gay” then we won’t have to open up to the suffering.
On the other hand, the suffering, the anger, the sadness – that’s what living really is. That is what makes us human, what makes us stronger. The more open we are to the disillusionment of life- the disappointment, the low points, the times we find out things aren’t really what they seem, the times our hearts our broken, the times we feel like we are caught in catastrophe- the richer the life we will live. When will we ever look back on life and recall growing stronger at that one college party where we drank too much and ended up hauled over a toilet? No, we will look back on the time that we found ourselves overcoming the pain of heartache and defeat and depression.
We need to FEEL, if we really want to LIVE. We can’t hide from the aches that keep us awake at night, or the misfortune and unfairness of our lives- we have to embrace it, feel it, be open to the fact that we will feel pain. We have to care!! How sad it is to live in a world where nobody cares about anything. Admit it- you care about the boy who loved you with a knife behind his back and you care about the friend you lost and you care about your parent’s divorce, or the 52 you got on your test, or the fact that you lay awake at night with the worries and concerns running through your head non-stop! Suffering is the key to becoming greater, stronger, richer in character.
We can’t drink it away. We have to take the risks in life regardless of the consequence of pain, do the small things that make us happy, accept the wounds and sorrow- feel it, and grow.