These past two years have been nothing short of terrifying with a global pandemic, online schooling, global turmoil – to name a few. But they have also been great for getting to know ourselves again. While we were left with a lot of time to be with ourselves (again, another terrifying thing), I noticed some of us had an overarching spiritual awakening during these times.
This was when I was first introduced to the infamous ‘that girl’ (or ‘that boy’).
For those who don’t know “that girl” is an idea purported by a TikTok trend where people (especially girls) suggest cutting off toxic people and instead do time-efficient activities like waking up early, going to the gym, eating and drinking clean, reading, being super-organized, etc.
‘That girl’ shines from within as she has focused a lot to achieve that.
‘That girl’ hands out her work in time as she had planned everything.
‘That girl’ doesn’t need anyone.
‘That girl’ is the one that you take a double look at while passing the street, or secretly watch from far, wondering what is going on in the pretty, glowing head of theirs.
While I like this whole ‘focus on yourself’ motto, my new year resolution is to screw becoming ‘that girl’ and instead be ‘this girl called Maya’. Let me elaborate.
First of all, this year made me realise how unattainable my high school self’s schedule was. It was all about rushing. Rushing to do everything that can get me to university while trying to have fun. Everything was super organized, step-by-step. Then, came the sharp changes that now dictate our life starting with online learning, political turmoil, a global pandemic, etc.
Unfortunately, only these drastic measures made me realize that I was burning out: fatally. I was obsessively trying to make myself a schedule or a program of everything. I remember feeling miserable while the internships, holiday plans and everything I had planned were being cancelled. The ‘successful Maya’ I was to become had miserably failed.
To replace this feeling of failure, I thought to myself, “Okay, now I should use this time ‘effectively’, perhaps learning a new instrument or creating a new business might suffice.”
For context, my attention span is low or, as an indecisive person, I tend to start lots of mini hobbies and projects but never pursue them to a professional level. So, eventually, I had tried everything from playing the guitar to ukulele to painting, to online courses, creative writing and basically a bunch of other hobbies. The pattern was the same: I would eagerly start, become obsessed with it, have a phase, then get bored, feel like a failure, and leave it before I can monetise it (or brag about it in my CV).
This led me to the realisation that we, as new-generation teenagers, try to monetise everything we do, which leads us to feel incompetent. For instance, I love drawing as a hobby. But whenever I do, I am quashed by comments for “selling it”, “sharing it” or “showing it”. I thought to myself: “Why can’t I just do it because I enjoy it?”
This obsession also manifests itself in another way. Nowadays, after talking with so many of my friends, I’ve noticed that we are scared – indeed terrified – of starting something out of our pure curiosity or passion. Like becoming an influencer. Yes, you might have haters. Yes, people may judge you. But so what? Is it worth living for others’ judgement? Does everything, including you, must be perfect for it to be worthwhile?
Or even, let’s take starting a diet as an example while I return to my irritation about ‘that girl’. Do you really have to go all the way out to dramatically change the way you eat, suddenly start eating pastel looking, pretty meals to be healthy starting from Monday? Can’t you just slowly try to do the best you can?
What I am trying to say here, dear readers, is yes, we should focus on ourselves. But let’s not forget that we are humans, not machines. Notice how the older generation purports this idea of ‘having faith in us because they have failed’ trope. Isn’t it ironic how they expect us to do so great, yet still become anxious when we talk about taking risks, doing things just because we like doing them? Perhaps because the only life they’ve grown accustomed to was survival.
It is for these reasons that I believe we should not repeat the generational mistakes of forcing ourselves to become this perfect image of other people. We don’t have to be perfect at everything we do. We don’t have to have a degree in physics to wonder about space. Or, you can have an opinion about art without having a PhD in Art during Post World War II era. Isn’t it interesting that Edgar Allan Poe (one of the greatest poets of English literature) has also aided in the discovery of one of the greatest astrophysics phenomena about the nature of the universe as well? All because he was not afraid to make basic comments on it.
In my opinion, this fear of doing something out of our boundaries, out of impulse or routine is grown out of the idea of being this independent superhuman perhaps ‘that girl’ might encapsulate.
Well, goodbye to ‘That Girl’ who has a perfect routine and life sorted out. I am ‘This Girl’.
This girl occasionally pulls an all-nighter. ‘This girl’ sometimes misses trains, eats dessert as a meal, tries to look put together but fails some days and ends up in a messy bun.
‘This girl’ likes to read when her head is empty, but often likes to go out to empty her head instead.
Dear readers, it is up to you if you want to strive for becoming ‘that girl” or “that boy” who everybody strives to be. It is up to you if you want to force yourself to adhere to certain standards that are deemed ‘perfect’ and not join that sports society that you’ve been afraid to join, fearing you’ll be inexperienced or check the Instagram pages of people you crave to be friends with but are scared of being rejected by.
Or join me in embracing the unembraceable as a New Year’s Resolution. Embracing our beautiful nature that, like the planet itself, consists of chaos and change.