I Am Not Alex
To name something is to claim it, or so the saying goes. We name our stuffed animals, our pets, our children. Sometimes we even name our cars. I know I did. My beloved childhood toy I named Misha, my first pet I named Mystic, and my first car I named Fabio (to the delight of my friends and disgust of my parents). In school we are taught to write our name on everything, first and last, to ensure the teacher knows who the work belongs to. Sometimes when I was young I would leave my name off on purpose in hopes of claiming something better when the pile of nameless assignments went around the next day. On the internet, however, this is not possible. To participate in an online community you need a username (AlexWho), a full name (Alex Who), and e-mail (email@example.com). Three names already and I haven’t said a word. Just like that I have claimed this account.
I’m not ready to claim the truths I hope to speak here, though I do wish to speak them. Alex can claim them. I, however, am not Alex.
I am just a girl, 20-something and predictably lost. In high school I made the honor role, in college the dean’s list. I played sports and joined clubs and sometimes when the sun came out I skipped class and spent the whole day drinking on the front lawn of a frat or in the backyard of a friend. I spent my weekend days working and volunteering and, occasionally, studying. My weekend nights were devoted to friends, and music, and, frequently, boys.
I spent the first 20 or so years of my life the way 90’s kids were taught. If I worked hard and had fun along the way I would be successful, and someday I would have a steady job and a white picket fence. I would have the American Dream. The American Dream, as it turns out, is not all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of a white picket fence I have student debt. Debt I’ll finish paying off around the time my children, should I decide to have them, will be heading off to college. I have a meidocre savings account because instead of summer jobs I took unpaid internships. According to legend they look good on a resume, though at this point I’m not even sure anyone is looking.
I also, unfortunately, have a fear of speaking out against these apparent systematic shortcomings. It seems any time we 20-somethings speak out about the obvious discrepancies between the way we were told things would be (the way things were for older generations) and the way things truly are we are shot down. We are lazy and spoiled. We want the world at our feet and we don’t want to lift a single finger for it. (A subject for another time, I suppose).
As it turns out, it’s not just the backlash of those above me I fear but the opinions of my peers. I wish to be honest, not only with my writing but with myself. I frequently struggle to form opinions of my own. I am the type to placate, to lessen myself so those around me can shine. Perhaps someday I will learn to accept my opinions, to stand by them. Hopefully by writing them down I can find a way to state them coherently and concisely. For now, though, I plan to hide behind the thin curtain of the internet while I work through my early twenties.
I am not Alex, but this is my journey.
I intend to use this account to document my journey, rocky as it may be, through the earliest stages of “adulthood”. While it’s mostly for my own benefit (I frequently have trouble sorting my own thoughts inside my head) I hope to help anyone else who feels lost in their life the way I do. I know I take comfort in hearing I’m not alone in my confusion, so hopefully someone else can too.