I am a human.
I breath, I eat, I think, I love, I care, I feel, and I exist.
I have dreams, aspirations, and hopes.
Sometimes I am angry, and sometimes I am sad.
I am a human.
You too are a human.
You breath, you eat, you think, you love, you feel, and you exist.
You have dreams, aspirations, and hopes.
You have moods too.
You are a human; you exist.
However, what is an existence? Can you picture it? Feel it? Taste it? Is an existence a life? Or, is it the exact opposite? Go ahead, think about it. I’ll give you a few seconds. ( Pause ) Done? Alright, let’s move on.
Each and every one of you in this room has been brought up in a society that expects a lot of you. You are expected to excel in school, fight your way into an Ivy-League college, and live out the remainder of your life in a vinyl-sided home surrounded by a white picket fence and scores of children. That is the American dream. That is our expectation.
However, we are all plagued by a peculiar sense of individualism. A want to be different; a need to be acknowledged. Yet, the fact remains: you are not different from anyone else. You are just as intelligent as everyone else. You are just as pulchritudinous as everyone else. You can think, feel, and act- just like everyone else. The fact being, expectations are but vain quotas set forth by the human mind. Yes, we all strive to be an individual. But, do we ever become one?
The answer is no.
Although we hunger for individualism, conformity always manages to work its way into our mindset. Self-conscious of our own pseudo-individualism, we become fearful of those who are different. We ostracize them, and make them aware of their own uniqueness. We hate them for manifesting the courage to sever the bonds of conformity, when we could not do the same for ourselves. We do this because we are human, and we exist.
As we grow old in our vinyl-sided homes, we become distanced and segregated from the rest of the world. Our children are long gone, having successfully tamed their expectations and settled in a vinyl-sided house of their own. We sit idly, seldom moving unless it is to turn on the light, fetch a book, or snatch the remote to the television. We don’t have any company. No, if we’re lucky, we have a spouse who is just as vacant. We try to make conversation, but none comes.
“Think Susie ever got that Volkswagen she was talking about?”
We count the days by the sways of our rocking-chair. The off-white wall becomes a magnificent work of art to behold and worship. At this point, we aren’t living. We are just withering shells of what once was a human. Our life has become a mere existence. And this, my peers; this is the inevitable fate that we all must suffer.
Right now, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “That’s not true” or, “She’s crazy, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” Or perhaps, you’re pondering about what you’re going to have for lunch today. Although you might not want to admit it, we are all doomed to a lifetime of conformity.
How does one become different, then? Well, you cannot. You will never be different. There will always be someone else who thinks like you, dresses like you, and acts like you. It’s impossible to acquire a unique identity. It is impossible to escape from the Vinyl-sided house. Try as you might, your efforts will forever remain futile.
Are you upset with my words, class? Do you agree with me? Go on, do express yourselves. Speak up! ( *Most likely no one will respond because they’re all tight-knickered buffoons.* )
See? I know you have thoughts and opinions. Why do you refuse to express yourselves? Don’t you want to be an individual? Well, I suppose not. I’m sure none of you care, anyway. This is but a silly monologue in a class that many of you don’t care for. So, why bother listening?
I’m sure that a few of you have found this to be quite interesting, if not something to learn from. However, the rest of you are undoubtedly confused, if not frightened, from what you have just witnessed. I didn’t read this today to bash you, and/or scare you. Believe it or not, my intentions were to teach you a lesson.
How can this possibly be a lesson, you ask? Well, it’s simple really. Let me ask you- at any one time during this essay, did you become flustered or aggravated with what I was saying? Did that little pit in the depths of your stomach constrict in protest? Did you find yourself subconsciously clenching your fists, refusing to accept the fact that you were but a speck of dust on this planet?
There. That’s your lesson. Your opinion is what makes you an individual. I want you to remember that forever, class. Do not allow anyone to take that away from you. I don’t care if you forget me, but please, I beg of you; never forget your voice.
Conformity is human nature; conformity is the way of society. Opinion, however, is the way of the individual.
Opinion is what separates a life from an existence.