First of all I would like to declare that I am well aware of my privileges whilst writing this. I am a 21 year old woman, born and bred in a world capital city, living a life that I could have never dreamed of 5 years ago. I barely graduated high school when I was 17, not knowing why I should work harder for a degree that will be handed out to me by men who have been staring at my breasts for the last 3 years. Internalised racism and sexism that has been thought to us since kindergarten starts crawling up my spine and I start to feel mad about myself for not realising and speaking up earlier. I am 17 and I reminisce about all the moments in the past years that I´ve just swallowed and accepted, getting mad about the fact that even the grownups that I thought were „different“ didn’t speak up for us kids.
Why are grown women asking minor girls to cover up in PE rather than teaching the boys and male teachers to behave?
Why did all of us get light pink crayons when we asked for skin color?
Why did we learn that Christoph Columbus discovered the world and natives passed on their land with a blowing kiss?
The day I got my degree I swore to myself that I would not end up as someone who remains silent just to avoid uncomfortable situations. 20 seconds later I asked myself how many of my teachers did the same thing 20 years ago. What happened to the ones that wanted to shape generations for the better? I left my school with ambition to strive and prosper only to find myself working two jobs at the same time a few weeks later because I was scared I would lose my newly gained independence. My friends and classmates traveled the world together and here I am sacrificing my freedom because a little voice in my head keeps screaming threats at me.
„You gotta hustle now or you will end up like them.“
„It doesnt matter if its fun or not; if you really wanna make a difference you cant stop now.“
„Keep looking, dont stop, keep working, dont stop.“
„You dont need a vacation, you need peace of mind.“
Materialistically, we have everything we need and way more. And still; with every day you dive deeper into the ocean of uncertainty. Which pill will you take? Exploit someone else for money or be exploited? Additionally, growing up equals slowly understanding more what’s happening around you. Which for me ultimately meant catching up with educating myself because I felt like the information I have had consumed up until this point in my life was biased; I listened to grownups who just found their ways of living with the way things are. To be honest, if you recognize that something is wrong with the things you learned along your way in life and still don’t change your narrative in it you are the main problem. But how are young people supposed to stay motivated and driven knowing that things won’t change in due time? And how do you put up with the accountability? How do you regain energy in a system that benefits from racism and sexism, in a world where profit still matters more than life in any form? In conversation with older friends I often come across a specific argument: „Why do you worry so much about what you are doing at the moment? You are too young to take your current situation so seriously.“ One thing I have learned since I have started working full time jobs is how easy it is to get used to the money and the „possibilities“ of drowning your sorrows in attempts of compensation. So what’s our destination in life?