I once learnt never to begin a piece of writing with the word “I”, but I’m doing it anyway because that’s the kind of rebel I am. The reason you shouldn’t do it is because opening with “I” might come across as you being arrogant and self-centered, but I would never admit to having these characteristics. Not because I have a mental fault that causes me to be oblivious to anything not involving me. No! It’s because today’s society has shaped me and my peers into monsters with whom we ourselves are deeply in love. Criticism cannot be actually true and therefore cannot be accepted. Not unwillingly out of shame or embarrassment, but purely out of misjudgment. “Surely there is nothing wrong with me!” we might say. But there is something wrong with us. It’s just that we were led to believe there’s nothing wrong with you and life could never harm us.
Or at least, that’s what Bret Easton Ellis claims about what he calls ‘Generation Wuss’. Now, normally, out of all the people who find it necessary to vent their opinion every once in a while, I would not consider the American Psycho author as the most trustworthy person for a sane and sound judgment (for all the obvious reasons), but I do think he makes a point in his essay in Vanity Fair. And it strangely hurts and satisfies me at the same time. He writes: “My huge generalities touch on their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity, and, of course, all of this exacerbated by the meds they’ve been fed since childhood by over-protective ‘helicopter’ parents mapping their every move.” I would recommend reading the entire article if you’re interested in this topic: it is well worth your time. Of course, what Ellis claims is exaggerated and it doesn’t apply to everyone, but I do recognize the general trend. Our lives more often than not suck: people don’t always like us, we are slaves of money, we are continuously pushed for results, the world doesn’t care if we exist, people we love suffer and die, we disappoint, and we fail. That is nothing new. But instead of facing it with our heads held high, we drown in streams of sentimentality and hide behind the victim’s role.
Being sad is almost fashionable these days. How often do you hear people exclaiming something along the lines of “oh I’m feeling so depressed today”? Why is it suddenly popular and acceptable to say you feel that way? It marginalizes actual depression, which is not something you feel for only a day. The amount of blogs on Tumblr and such that romanticize depression (and other psychological issues like anxiety eating disorders) is extremely large and confirms to me that it’s trendy to feel sad. I am not saying everyone with sad feelings doesn’t actually experience it. What I am saying is that a lot of it could be the result of overreacting to everything and being over-sensitive, of not being able to accept criticism, and of not knowing how or trying to to face the hardships of life. It’s the result of, really, being a wuss.
I would like to ask anyone who recognizes themselves in this to stop and think about it. What would change for you if you could accept all the hardships mentioned above? What would happen if you stop saying you’re depressed and instead start working on yourself? Would you feel less sad?