You wake up with your heart pounding in your chest as you gasp for air. You’re suffocating under the covers and struggling to force your way out. You think you’re about to die.
Your mind replays the endless stream of past events that still paralyze you today – rejection letters, words from people who broke your heart, your boss reprimanding you for not working fast enough, your friends for giving you the cold shoulder when you needed them the most, and your parents’ condescending words and threats of kicking you out of the house if you don’t do as they say.
Or just grow up.
But you tried. You played the world’s game with all that you got and still lost. You spent endless nights pouring over things you could care less about, but you soldiered through it, battered, bruised, but alive. You did make an effort to make yourself more competitive and climb up the ladder that the previous generation promised would lead to a “good life,” but you still came crashing down, with people stepping all over you as they ascend to the next rung, all without even glancing your way.
You want to lash out, pound your fists hard onto a slab of concrete, and cry out, “It’s never enough, it’s never enough, it’s never enough.”
You ran the race, you sweated out blood, and you still lost. You never got what you wanted – only it wasn’t what you wanted, it was what you thought the world wanted you to earn by yourself just to prove that you are worthy of existence and sufficient enough to be called a good human.
You know, deep down inside, that you’re trying too hard to please everyone at the cost of your own happiness, at the cost of your energy, at the cost of your emotions, and at the cost of the time which you can never get back.
I feel your pain. I’ve been there. Wait, no, I am still here. Out here in the bone-chilling cold but with a lake of fire burning in my chest.
I know what it’s like to have a perfect yet mass-produced timeline given to you and the pressure that comes with reaching those deadlines, being crushed by others trying to achieve the same thing, and trying (but failing) to please the world with their brutally cold and callous hands as they took the prize and left nothing left over with you.
You know you can never be perfect. You don’t want to be perfect. You want to scream into the void and actually have those in the void hear you. You don’t care if you’re flawed, but you still feel the pain of rejections and the countless “not good enough’s” that you’ve heard all your life. You want to paint the world as you envision it, instead of stare bleakly at the manufactured photograph of the world as it is now and accept it as an unmovable reality that you have no power to change, even in a little way.
I understand. I know what it’s like to trade your desire to thrive for the sake of a measly and unsatisfactory lifestyle just to appease others and show off how much you’re worth just to cover up your insecurity within. I know what it’s like to shout but never be heard or noticed. I know what it’s like to be unwanted, to be treated as worthless, and to be frozen as fear leads you to a path that you don’t even want to be on.
I know it’s taken a toll on your mind, body, and spirit.
It’s crushing your spirit, and you bitterly weep that nobody cares.
But I’m here to tell you that I weep with you.
I hear your cries as I lie down here in the void. I hear the true longings of your heart – of freedom, of excellence beyond worldly measure, of authenticity, of the fighting spirit that still holds onto hope that someday, the void will no longer envelope you, nor will you have to be locked in a golden prison by golden tyrants that are perfect on the surface but merciless and soulless as they beat you down with their always disapproving and condescending gazes and demand that you stand up without flinching or even breathing in the face of their whippings.
You don’t have to live their way. You don’t have to perfect yourself or deny that you’re an imperfect but whole and wonderful human being with a lot of spirit that will empower people just like you along with those that wish to be free from this life of toil, anguish, and bitterness.
You’re allowed to feel what you’re feeling. Being sad doesn’t make you any less worthy than someone who’s always smiling. Crumbling under the weight of the world doesn’t make you worse off than someone who seems to never crack under pressure and demands you to do the same, which is impossible and downright condescending of them to say to you.
In fact, it’s what makes you beautiful. Soulful. Sensitive. Inspired to change. To morph the world into a softer and more enriching place to be. To bleed your heart out and turn it into a masterpiece for lost souls that are desperately wanting to be understood.
You are a rarity and a voice for this generation. I know that you can fight your way out of whatever you’re experiencing or whatever is making you lose hope in yourself.
You will overcome this, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely someday that is sooner than you think.
You’re worth more than what they say about you. You’re worthy of existence and worthy of creating what is going to help the world for this generation and for the next. Your value doesn’t depend on fitting into a perfect mold that wasn’t made for you. You’re not the plastic person that they force you to be – you’re real, vibrant, and wholeheartedly you.
So please don’t leave yet. We all need you.
I need you.