Generation Y, you are suffocating romance. Intimacy now lies in a string of texts or in the perfectly selected emoji. We um and ah over who sent more messages or who comes across as more interested. It is as if caring less is a triumph. Yet we constantly search to find that Significant Other, define that relationship and then announce it via Facebook. The world according to Generation Y is filled with happy, shiny couples on social media. In this world of social validation and constant comparison, is it a wonder that we often feel insecure, unsettled or unsure?
As children we grew up with television shows and school programs where we were rewarded for our efforts and told that we should always ‘feel good’. Come last in that race? It’s okay, here’s a ribbon for trying. Fast forward years later and Generation Me has become so addicted to instant gratification and social platitudes that we have become blasé. We’re afraid to expose ourselves because we’re so used to someone patting us on the back and saying we’re perfect as we are. We filter our images, define our lives and then parade it for the ‘likes’ to validate how we look, feel and experience life.
We want to ‘find’ ourselves but are incapable of the patience to explore or be vulnerable. We expect so much of the next shiny and happy Facebook couple that we have condoned a culture of half-committing until something better comes along. We have created a ‘dating purgatory’ in the rush towards defining our lives but are still maintaining that foot out the door. Is your dating life now ‘together’, ‘seeing’, ‘just talking’ or ‘friends with benefits’? Can’t define where you’re at in this spectrum? That obviously means that what you feel isn’t measuring up. Obviously, he’s just not that into you and it’s time to exit the picture.
It’s all so confounding that at a recent party, a girlfriend of mine was mopping up my tears and cleaning up my mascara streaks as I became an intoxicated, sobbing mess on her hands after she asked ‘How are guys going?’ According to my girlfriends, if it’s not instantly gratifying move on. Why open yourself up to vulnerability when instant affirmation on your appeal and attractiveness can be found just around the corner?
Well how about we say f*ck that? Let’s stop the pursuit of what feels good immediately and superficially. This shouldn’t be how we date now. We should not be searching for the easiest option or looking for the next option because we are too afraid of being authentic. It’s time we stop justifying to others what we feel, what we’re doing or how much we’re allowed to love. We are all complex individuals who are made up of so many different histories and desires. Be open. Be vulnerable. Be authentic.
The best feeling and the greatest demonstration of an individual’s power is the ability to make oneself defenceless, to be comfortable with that feeling of exposure and vulnerability. Let down your barrier and risk letting someone have access to that full blown and coddled ego. Even if you walk away feeling a little dented, it will feel good. Own that realisation that you are responsible for your own emotions and feelings and no validation is required from the world.
Be authentic: even if my version of it is more like going full throttle or finishing an entire book in one night whilst yours may be to meander slowly. Next time someone asks me ‘How are guys going?’ I’ll smile and remind myself that I haven’t finished the book yet. There is no need for titles or for deciphering what is not meant to be defined. Irrespective of the outcome, we as resilient human beings should learn to let go and experience every aspect of life. From the hurt of rejection to the ecstasy of free falling in love – c’est la vie.
I note that this post is not reflective of all contributors to The Urban Scrapbook
Photo Courtesy: Parentmap