Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are those of the author’s and don’t necessarily represent or reflect the views of MangoBaaz.
I’m a twenty-first century signature cool girl. I have multiple groups of friends who meet up every other day just to chat and catch-up, always at one cafe or the other. I travel at my convenience, sometimes alone, often abroad. My social media presence is on-point, all my Instagram follow requests get accepted. I order pizza at night to serve my binge cravings, guys send me “good morning, pretty” texts and I’m wearing a MAC lipstick right now. I’m doing well for myself, the money is good, much more than what many used to hope for.
I’m young, wild and free and very, very unhappy.
I’m unhappy because I’m not earning a six-figure income, prince charming is stuck in the bad Karachi traffic, my parents don’t spoil me silly with Manolo Blahnicks, I’m not spoiled for choice in my bag collection, I look in the mirror and cringe sometimes: I need an Instagram body and I need it now. My Facebook timeline shows Sabrina is partying it up in Las Vegas with her perfect husband and Fahad is Euro-tripping with his best friends and here I am with my singular short-lived Dubai vacation. Who goes to Dubai, anyway?
I’m a twenty-first century signature cool girl.
People look at all my friends beaming in Instagram posts, they tap a “heart”. My Snapchat stories get seen by hundreds of people, they tell me my life is worth their envy. What they don’t know is that my skin often hosts breakouts, I smudge my face with layers of foundation. My relationships fizzled out, the fire just wasn’t there anymore. Guys who showed interest don’t shower me with flowers on the first date, they don’t swoop me off my feet. They aren’t perfect. I’m young, wild and free and very, very, unhappy.
The incessant need for social validation nags at me.
It cuddles with me as I try to fall asleep, refresh refresh refresh, did I get another like on my profile picture? Maybe if I tag myself, more people will notice, maybe they’ll tell me I look smoking hot. Maybe then I can swallow my insecurities. My attention span has dramatically shrunk, while once putting the book down was a struggle, now, continuing to read one gives birth to a tiresome internal dialogue, “…but maybe I should watch Amanda Cerny’s vines if I’m bored?”
There is no room for breathers, no place for second-best.
This girl I know invented a shoe that recharges your cellphone battery while you go out for a run, she got accepted to Harvard and recently tied the knot. Her life is pretty-much set. All my cousins are either engaged or married to the world’s best husbands ever. This guy I know from high school moved to the middle east for a swanky job, while cooking up ideas and fishing for investors for his very own business ventures in Pakistan. He’s working on two start-ups, super cool stuff. He also plays the guitar and has more Facebook friends than I do.
I’m a twenty-first century cool girl for many but I’m not “enough”.
I’m not pretty enough, I’m not intellectual enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not rich enough, I’m just not “enough”. I make plans just for the sake of making plans after a tough week of belting numbers and updating spreadsheets because one must strive to remain socially relevant, hold on to the semblance of fun, even if it’s fake. I can’t eat my lunch without taking a perfect picture for Instagram. Thank God for Snapchat filters, I can now hide my ugly with some animation. I have a roof over my head, a warm meal more than three times a day, an incredible support system and yet, I’m mostly anxious. I take laps in the anxiety pool, there’s always something lurking on the back of my head. This isn’t good enough.
Nobody acknowledges this is real. The elders dismiss this as being ungrateful and the peers are too busy thinking you have it better than them to discuss it.
Everybody is busy putting on a show, the best flipping show there ever was. If you’re planning your honeymoon in Turkey, someone else went scuba diving with their better half in the great barrier reef.
There is no room to breathe, to just be.
I never stop for a second to think…”Hey, this isn’t so bad. I’m doing okay, my head’s above the water, I’m doing just fine”. Instead, I’m hard on myself. I cross-question myself for not being able to have achieved what my sister has achieved. I look at the perfect guy from high school who’s got his life figured out and cry myself to sleep sometimes. If he can manage a full-time job and two start-ups on the side, I must be lazy. I’m falling behind. After all, every man for himself in this dog eat dog world.
Truth is, no one told me it’s okay to be myself, to give myself a break. That the futile attempts at being perfect would remain futile because perfection is subjective and very, very rare.
No one told me I’m doing okay at this adult gig, the world won’t fall apart if my perfect photograph isn’t shot from my sunshine side, making me look ten pounds lighter. It’s only just a photograph, after all – and it will lay in the crevices of my social media existence, forever forgotten in two month’s time. No one tells you it’s okay to live in the moment, to take in the sunset every once in the while instead of bobbing your head to the loud music at a party you took two hours to get ready for (you must look on fleek). No one tells you it’s okay to not turn in an assignment, an A- won’t mess up your GPA – that it’s okay to be single.
I’m young, wild and free and very, very unhappy. Aren’t you?
Cover image via: timepass.com.pk