I had been in Spain for three days, and had not ventured out of the house except to go to class, and when my host family showed me around the city. I’ve had a horrible sense of direction all my life, and by this time I’d been lost so many times it didn’t really scare me anymore – in America. But there was something about the narrow, twisty streets, the lack of street signs, and the lack of people who spoke my language, that made getting lost in Spain different. I was less inclined to wander out on my own.
But on this third evening, I had to meet the other American students in the center of the city for a cultural excursion. My host mom drew the route on the map, and walked me there, pointing out landmarks as we went. It was about a half hour walk from their apartment. When we found my group, she left me with this advice, “If you get lost, just keep walking downhill. You’ll find us eventually.” Right, so no worries.
Of course, I did get lost walking home. It took me a while to even realize I was completely off track. At first all the cobbled streets tight with tiny shops and scattered with beautiful churches and cathedrals all looked the same to me. By the time I realized I was lost, I could hardly even find my way back to the beginning, and just as if I was in the movies, the sky turned dark and it began to pour. It took me almost two hours to get home, by which time I was soaking wet. But after that, I had a much better understanding of the layout of the city, and I knew they were right – I would find my way home eventually. I wasn’t afraid of getting lost in Spain anymore.
Getting lost has always been part of my life, and always will be. Getting lost can even be fun sometimes. I met one of my best friends when we got lost together at fifth grade camp. I got lost many more times in Spain, and sometimes it was horrible. Once I got lost with a good friend when we were visiting a city far away, and she was dehydrated and vomiting and we needed to get back to the hotel – it was not a good time to be lost. Once I led another friend an hours walk out of the way because she trusted me to know where I was going, and I didn’t.
We are almost constantly subjected to the judgement of the world around us. We are molded to fit the ideas that manifest within the minds of other people, and shoved in to small boxes, categorized by how we are expected to fit in society. As modern society mandates, we focus on the unattainable and anyone that does not measure up is forced further into the dark corners of their neatly-labeled box. It’s a tough world that we live and we have to strive to protect ourselves and to keep from being stifled and stamped out. This is why there will always be a band of rebels with each new generation. This is the reason feminism has been revitalized. Art, music, writing, etc. exists for this purpose. And this is why one of our greatest fall-backs will always be anonymity.
We are enabled when we can disguise ourselves with aliases or remain unknown. Anonymity lessens the fear and embarrassment that comes with putting yourself out there. To some, it’s the invisibility cloak that we’ve all dreamed of having since the first Harry Potter book, where others are actually liberated and empowered by such inconspicuousness. The blessing of anonymity only takes a turn for the worse when combined with the harassment of others. In that instance, your empowering invisibility now becomes this huge, neon-colored, blinking arrow that points straight to your weak mind and immaturity.
We are ADULTS. Why, then, do we choose to entertain ourselves in this way? We are suppressed enough by society without having you open up your secret texting app to spit your words of idiocy using a fake number. Grow up. Take my hand and let’s progress together as individuals. There’s still time if we
operate start now. Any longer and I’m afraid you might not make it out alive which in that case…
*puts on 40 gold neck chains* I pity the fool.
I know you’ll say you don’t remember, but for me, it was like looking at my reflection in a mirror. There was so much that I wanted to say to you, but I couldn’t figure out how to open my mouth and give you my words because I’ve never known how to express myself to others. I stared at you like a deer in headlights while my head drowned in all of the things I wanted to say to you. Sad thing is, I still can’t work up the nerve because I don’t particularly enjoy my own vulnerability. As they’re still floating around in my skull, I still feel the need to tell you, not necessarily to help you, but to give you support and let you know that although our situations may have been different, I’ve been through the same things that you’ve been enduring. And I’m still working through them just as you are.
I know what it feels like to feel like nothing, like you have no purpose, like there’s nothing holding you down to Earth, like no one would care if you were gone. I know how it Is to feel so dead inside that it seems to seep out onto your skin. There were times when these feeling were so strong that I questioned my very existence. I felt nothing— no emotion, not some vast emptiness, but feelings so strong that I felt nothing at all. I’ve wandered outside in negative degree weather unable to feel the cold at all. I’ve nearly stepped out in front of traffic because I felt so unreal that I thought maybe they’d just pass right through me. I’ve wanted to slice my neck open to see if my body was actually filled with blood. I’ve questioned my sanity because I’m never able to figure out what triggers this state of mind. Continue reading