american society in the twenty-first century is a cocktail of conflicting impulses so strong that we're all a little drunk, stumbling around trying to make sense of it. i mean, there are so many possibilities in the world these days, but we're all still hamstrung by nineteenth- and twentieth-century conceptions of social interactions. it's a wonder there's not more outright rebellion against these strictures.
the new york times had a long, drawn-out article about growing up today. apparently, people are just now realizing that modern young adults are taking a look around and outwardly questioning the way things are. the article, though it does strive to be objective, has a tinge of disapproval running through it. i mean, every large-scale social change we've ever had has come with a large dose of opprobrium from the old-school standard bearers in the world, and what's more old-school than the old gray lady? but towards the end of the article, there's a passing mention of how we can alter our conception of young adulthood. the author floats the idea of a season of release from the strictures of traditional maturity, allowing people to explore options and just... live... without worrying about judgment or criticism.
yeah. like that'll ever happen as long as someone keeps giving sarah palin and her ilk camera time or access to twitter. there's a billion-dollar industry devoted to pearl-clutching over societal evolution, and it's way too wedded to the powers that be to ever have hope of real change. sigh.
so those of us who seek something better, something truer, something more realistic than the old way of life are forced to exist in the shadow of this judgment. i've decided that i don't need a social revolution to start a personal revolution. i choose to live for myself in ways that most people who subscribe to a standard system of beliefs, ideology, etc. probably wouldn't enjoy. i was told once by one of the few people who know the full truth about my life that i am brave for doing this. i don't find it to be bravery, exactly. i find it to be perhaps the purest form of authenticity i can achieve. i have to do what i see fit.
there is collateral damage in my new way of life; for that, i'm sorry. i really am. i wish there was a way to be true to myself without hurting people. but there's always destruction in a revolution. i choose to leave my old life, my old slavery to things that please others, and pursue a route that pleases me. perhaps someday i'll come back to the fold, as many youth set free on rumspringa do. but there's an excellent chance that being true to myself is a permanent development. if that's the case, so be it. there's a freedom in total self-devotion that, frankly, i relish beyond all belief. it's going to be hard as hell to go back now that i've tasted it...
Letter 70: Be Louder
4 weeks ago