I admit to the fact that my life is easy. I never experienced any significant trauma in my childhood. I always had a roof over my head and a fully stocked kitchen. I got to go to pursue a higher education. I didn’t have any physical disabilities, but I couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of how privileged I was. I always complained about how someone else’s life was better, how their parents could afford to buy more things or what cars my friends were driving.
The saddest thing about it all was that I grew up in the 1% in the United States and Canada. A 35K salary in the US would already be the 1% of the world. However, I kept on comparing myself to other people who were better and forgot how privilege I am. I kept on pushing myself and telling myself that I wanted more. The society I grew up in brainwashed me to believe that in order to be happy, I had to make more than my parents or in the bare minimum just as much as my parents. I lived with the expectation that I had to be great.
My parents spent a significant amount of money and resources to groom me into becoming the perfect Ivy League candidate. They paid for tutors so that I would always be ahead of my class. They paid for coaches for sports and when I was not playing a sport, I was attending classes to master an instrument or a language. These lessons that should have been taken as privileges were burdens. I hated every moment of it.
My parents groomed me to excel at everything because they believed (and for the longest time I believed) that it would make my life the happiest. Going to the best schools meant that at the end of the day you would have an amazing salary: and monetary wealth is to the key to happiness right?
When the Ivy’s first rejected me, my whole world came crashing down because I thought I was never going to be happy. I was never going to be able to achieve the salary that would make me happy.
I got accepted to some of the most renowned programs in Canada, but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t going to get the dream salary when I graduated. I was bred with the notion that I had to hit the ground. I spent my undergraduate years hating myself or pushing myself to excel even further so that I could get accepted to a “better” grad school. Eventually it went I mentally and physically exhausted myself, I developed anorexia nervosa because I could use my disease as an excuse for why I couldn’t do it anymore.
People always feel sorry for me when I tell them I was anorexic, but to be honest. It was the best thing that happened to me. It made me realize what was important. I realized that I was chasing a salary or a lifestyle that wasn’t healthy. Yes, I was used to that lifestyle, but it never made me happy. Having luxury items and going on bourgeois vacations never made a better person. I just got so desensitized that I forgot how privileged I was. I realized how toxic the world was because everyone always compared themselves to one another and they too forgot about privileged they were themselves. I have missed out on so many opportunities because I was always chasing “the best,” but what is the best?
Does a shirt that has Hermes label make you a better person than wearing a free t-shirt they hand out on the street?
And to be completely honest with you, today I would prefer to wear that free t-shirt because there is no expectation of you are supposed to be. It is also far more comfortable because you don’t have to worry about staining your shirt.