From Austin to A&M: Don’t you know you’re not special?

I, for one, am afraid of the world that is currently being run by adults who were spanked, who spank others, and who hoard all the trophies for themselves and their kids.

Those who liked my Open Letter and Millennial Problems posts will really like this one from Courtney Stoker: From Austin to A&M: Don’t you know you aren’t special?

An excerpt:

I was told, proudly, that I was a per­fec­tion­ist, and no one even noticed that my per­fec­tion­ism was a gen­er­a­tional symp­tom of a pro­foundly dys­func­tional way of liv­ing. Most peo­ple I was friends with were “per­fec­tion­ists,” because we knew that work­ing hard didn’t guar­an­tee us any­thing. Per­fec­tion didn’t guar­an­tee us any­thing. We knew that at 17. So we obsessed, and we com­pared notes, and we deprived our­selves of sleep. We accrued a fig­u­ra­tive wall of tro­phies, not because we thought they were worth any­thing, or because we were proud of them. Because we needed a wall of tro­phies to get into col­lege, to get schol­ar­ship money. Per­fec­tion­ism, we were told, was a virtue. And it made us worn out, anx­ious, depressed, and ter­ri­fied to fail.

When I grad­u­ated from high school, my favorite teacher wrote in a card to me that she was impressed with how I did it all, that I was a super­woman. And when I read it, I lit­er­ally cried with relief, because I thought, I don’t have to do it any­more. I don’t have to sur­vive on 4–5 hours of sleep and con­stant exhaus­tion.  I don’t have to hear peo­ple crow, “I don’t know how you do it!” and bite back the bit­ter “I do it by not sleep­ing and hav­ing weekly panic attacks.”

  • Anonymous

    I experienced a horrifyingly driven HS experience as well. In many ways, I’m still recovering. I did give up (as I think a lot of people need to) the idea that I was going to get a job that I love, and I’ve settled for a career that I’m good at, that pays well, and that will continue to exist for the forseeable future.

    On an unrelated note, I came across this post by a conservative Catholic woman that made me laugh, and it made me think of you. It’s fun when you can find common cause with someone very different from you.

  • Anonymous
  • Scott Fenwick

    From a Gen X-er…

    Love the e-card. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, which I think you’ll appreciate:

    “Thanks to the sophisticated institutions they contain, modern societies can be operated by dummies, and strikingly often they are.” – Erik Ringmar

    I also read your “Open Letter” piece. Powerful stuff. Voices like yours need to be heard. Keep it up.


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