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I Am 22 And Not Okay!

22 is the age when a lot of us start feeling the pressure to have everything together. The truth is that you are simply too young and it's overwhelming.

22 is the age when a lot of us start feeling the pressure to have everything together. Be it on social media or by looking at people around us, the pressure is immense.

Three months into the year, I realized that I was simply not flourishing at the age of 22 (at the cusp of 23)

If the constant crying, heavy breathing, knot in the stomach, weight on the chest and numbness of spirit is any indicator, we are, quite frankly, currently lower than the standards for dating men.

Brown kids have always sought external validation

I am one of the many middle-class brown children, who have been raised as performing monkeys. We have danced to Bollywood songs for nameless uncles at family gatherings and recited our mark sheet for neighbour aunties, things we did to make our parents happy.

Our worth has always been so closely tied to being able to perform. Many parents boast about their children doing well solely because “they are so quiet” or “they get good marks” or they “have their own business.”

There is little room for asking if we are truly okay, aside from appearing like we are.

There is no scope for seeking professional help

The truth is that there’s no room for reassessing, breaking down or burning out.

If you feel any of the things, you will most likely not receive the support you need. Indian homes are dismissive of the concept of external help or help of any sort. In fact, it is more often seen as asking for too much.

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In a performative daze, we interpret any hitches in our perfect façade as an inconvenience to others. We conceal, use spit and rusty pins to hold ourselves together or wait out our worst mental states. Using terms like depression or anxiety is lightly laughed at.

In our parents’ wise words, “I was once a child too, I never needed all that therapy stuff.”

We blame ourselves for not being sorted

Through self-flagellation, we hold ourselves accountable for being human. It’s never valued in so much we have achieved, as much is what is left to achieve. Nothing is ever enough and the whole, flaming, imperfect world slowly weighs down on our shoulders like a heavy school backpack.

Parents talk of our education, getting into the right college, choosing the right degree, the right life partner. Everybody keeps talking about the right path as if they have it all figured out.

The truth is that elders can only speak from the narrow experiences they have had, and how they reasonably survived in a world that doesn’t exist any more because it keeps changing.

How am I, at 22, supposed to know every right thing? How do I be the perfect performing monkey and keep everyone happy without compromising on my own?

I am old enough to be settled and married off as my parents would like and yet, I am young enough to be still studying for a degree, one I am not all sure I need.

All you need is to be enough for yourself

Allow me to put things more in perspective for you. We are part of an infinite universe, alive for but a nanosecond, our existence is purely by chance with a dubitable creator in question. YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING. In fact, you know nothing and probably won’t till the day you die.

You are not a person under construction, and neither is your life. What you are now and what you have has to be enough, no matter what anyone says. You don’t have to have it all together, be sorted, look and talk in stereotypes for others’ sake all the time.

If you feel ailed by mental or physical conditions, you are entitled to receive help from professionals who know better. Because guess what, you don’t and that’s okay.

Our parents may have suffered through neglect and rough times alone, but you, my friend, are not obligated to follow in their footsteps.

The world is ending soon, don’t let your last days be spent worrying about being good enough for others. You are enough and will always be.

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About the Author

Ria Tirkey

I am Ria from New Delhi. I'm a student of political science and law and I have a lot to say apparently. read more...

36 Posts | 11,380 Views

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