What Are We?

Cartoon by Ryan Jurik

Cartoon by Ryan Jurik


Sometimes instead of getting to know people, we create who they are in our heads. We take a person and flatter them in our minds so much to the point of no flaws. Or, on the contrary, we create a person composed of negativity with no good. When this happens, it not only makes us miss out on getting to know the real side of them, but it also jeopardizes future relationships because you’ve deemed them as someone they’re not. People we’ve never even talked to become an idol or an enemy to us.



In order to prevent this destructive judgement, you must truly know somebody before you establish a finalized conclusion of who that person is. Even after the rest of your peers have formed their opinions on someone, do not adopt these preconceived opinions based solely on what others have said. Actually get to know the person yourself so that you can have better judgement with your understanding of the type of person they are. Another measure to take is thinking of the person as who they are and not who you want them to be.Try to avoid focusing on all of their flaws or all of their achievements and look at them as a whole. Assumptions are arguably the worst factor in this mess. Stereotypes, probably the greatest form of social assumption, are so detrimental to societal structure. By taking what someone is wearing or the rumors that have been spread about them or what kind of music they listen to or anything else that is only one small factor in their complex entirety, and basing your opinion only off of a small detail is so harmful. Not only can this judgement keep you from getting to know an outstanding person, but it could also prevent others to do the same, leaving them unjustly pushed to the side.


mel3As damaging as this can be, there is perhaps an even greater social flaw that’s occurring. In the age of media, we have derived who we are and what we want to be from fiction. Gillian Flynn, proclaimed author,
wrote, “I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the jock, the nerd or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.”

This quote summed up almost all of my thought on this issue. With the media at the touch of our fingertips, we subject ourselves (and without even realizing that we’re doing so) to be completely and utterly unoriginal. We speak words that we are not sure are ours and we recall memories that may have once happened to us, but may also just be another Disney channel favorite. Mixing reality with a fixed alternate realm that the media provides, we are grasping at everything we can in order to try and be ourselves. But who am I? Which character do I want to be today? Should I be the defiant girl from that one movie that I can’t even remember the title of or her mysterious best friend?


Well, what is there to do about this? It starts with differentiating admiration and imitation. Having role models is normal and good, but when it gets to the point where you are mimicking somebody who doesn’t even exist, it becomes unhealthy and damaging. We have to remind ourselves that TV and movie characters are just enhanced versions of real people. Your sister may be similar to the sister in your favorite show, but they’re not identical. Saying that, you can’t possibly try to compete with people who were created by very talented screenwriters. There is absolutely no way you can keep up with someone who: firstly, never existed to begin with; and secondly, was actually created to near perfection– physically and mentally– in order to please viewers. If you watch television or movies, you know what people like to see, a graceful easiness with a very slight touch of reality. If your life may not seem as easy as a characters, it’s because that’s exactly the point. Screenwriters write to please audiences, not to create the authentic, organic lives of people. If you’re changing the way you act or dress based upon that of a fictitious person, you shouldn’t be. Conforming to this false reality will bring you farther away from yourself comfort– pretending to be something you’re not will do no good.


So, who are you? Not who your acquaintances think you are or which character you’re modeling yourself after, who are you? Are you passionate but bite your tongue out of fear of others opinions? Do you have some secret, amazing talent that you think is too weird to show the world? Whatever it may be that you’re worried about, don’t hold back. Release you– the real you– to whoever is around. Don’t worry about disrupting the robotic social construct. We live too short of a life to bend ourselves based on those around us. Accept people for who they are and not for what you assume. Don’t construct a person like their body and brain are your personal Legos® project. Leave it up to people to show you what they’re capable of with as little room for judgement as possible. Embrace your natural self and not the impostor hiding under the influence of the media.