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Little Black Book

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Throughout my tenure here at west I have learned many things, but the most important thing I’ve learned is also the most obvious: we are all very different and yet we are all very much alike. We all have different dreams, talents, and aspirations and each of us have opportunities laying dormant, just waiting to exalt us in whichever endeavor our hearts scream for us to lead. But our minds never hear them. In my theory, “greatness” should simply be a microcosm of the world in which we live, where everyone’s divine hidden talents exude from our core’s and intertwine with the intricate fabrics of the world to unite and work in conjunction with each other. In “theory”, each of us is special, and we should be living in a perfect land where one man’s talent is the nation’s treasure. But all too sadly we live in the reality that is society. The irony of this assessment is that so many of us live a false reality, hiding the person we really are in order to act the role that we’re expected to play in the theatrics that is life. Through the form of parents, adults, and friends, societal influences are relentlessly pushing their idealistic norms upon us in an attempt to conform and control the minds of all. We are told how to act, what to like, who to talk to, and how to live our lives. “Cool” is how many substances you happened to consume the previous weekend, “successful” is what law school, med school, or senate seat you are going to pursue, and “tolerance” is gladly interacting with one or two of ‘those guys’ as long as the majority of them stay away from you. But most disturbing of all is the travesty that has become of ‘attractiveness’. Being pretty has turned into a contest of who can waste the most money on designer clothing, purses, and Ugg-ly (he-he, I crack myself up) boots, while simultaneously maintaining perky breasts held up by some sort of padding device, faces layered with more gunk than the bottom of Big Foot’s… well, foot, and the almost constant change of chemically damaged strands that once had the makings of hair. Our parents and schools are putting more pressure than ever on us to excel, our friends are constantly telling us what actions are considered normal, and everyone is guilty of talking badly about someone behind their backs. As a result we’re not only forgetting how to be ourselves, but are scared to show the world who we really are.
I full-heartedly believe that a major reason for our society’s problems derive from our unwillingness to understand other people. We are ceaselessly talking about other people yet are too scared to venture off and try to actually get to know the people we are slandering. Sure we all participate in the friendly chit chat with those outside of our self-assigned social classes, but the moment the bell rings we race back to our cliques exclaiming about how horrible the dress ‘Susie’ had on made her look, or how much of a loser ‘Bobby’ is- despite the fact that we were buds with them a mere ten minutes ago. I circulated in and out of the whole clique thing for the first 17 years of my life and it wasn’t until this year, when, in making an effort to get to know people on a more personal level, that I ended up learning more about myself than I could’ve ever dreamed. I learned that each new person I met brought something new to the table, engaging me with their personality. I saw that almost everyone I encountered had some special gift they were born to share with the world, but were holding back because of a mixture of insecurities and fear of being looked down upon. I enhanced my mind with a new definition of weird- different. Different in thoughts, ideas, opinions, and outlooks on life. I learned the many different ways in which you could assimilate upon your own understanding of the world through a lone intellectual conversation. I learned that the most ‘different’ people I’ve talked to have also been the most fascinating, inspirational, and ironically, ‘cool’, people I’ve ever interacted with. I’ve learned that I love everybody, absolutely everybody and anybody that crosses my path and even the rest who don’t. Most importantly I’ve learned that I want to do all that I can to in some way make life a little easier for everybody, even for those cynical of my attempts. There’s absolutely no ill will towards my old ‘crew’ they’re all great guys and really tight to chill with, but I never would have had the opportunity to explore outside of my own arena and connect with those that I have. Even if I don’t make a huge impact, as long as I make a dent I’m happy.
I wish I could go ahead and blame all of these problems on society and everyone else, but sadly as a male I am much to blame for the inequities of our social culture. We encourage the superficial obsessions of females by fawning over the girls who spend hours in front of the mirror each morning and ignoring the ones who don’t. We rate celebrities based on appearance, drool when we walk past Victoria’s secret, and yet somehow expect girls to compare to that. We laugh at the Ugg boots, then make fun of the ones who can’t afford them or don’t want to succumb to the pressures of the female frontier. Male executives spend billions of dollars a year exploiting women to sell products, souls, and sex. At the end of the day, the cleavage, and promiscuous behavior is just a propensity brought on by ourselves. Next time we feel the need to complain about “dumb b****es” realize that it’s spawned by the need to seek male acceptance. We are the ones constantly judging and comparing and making the final approvals. Everything that we guys hate about the female world has been directly caused by us. Males have stopped reducing woman to pieces of meat because we have made it possible for them to do it themselves.
These fallacies that make up the rise of our generation are also going to make up the downfall of our generation. Is this really the world you wish to live in? Do we honestly want to subject ourselves to the justified hatred prevalent throughout the country? Most people probably aren’t thinking of anything further than the next bong hit, but if we are on a down-world spiral now do we really want to raise our own children in an inevitably worse environment? We have all made mistakes and have all contributed to our lack of moral authority, but take solace in the face that it doesn’t have to end this way. All we need to do is search down deep within our roots and beg for forgiveness from the higher truth. We have to learn to stand up when we are told to sit down. We all have to be exemplary leaders in our classrooms, and homes; at parties and on the phone -- in every aspect of life. We have to walk outside of our comfort zones and take pride in the rich diversity that Iowa City brings. Eleanor Roosevelt once said that “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I believe that we as a generation can rise up and change the world. I believe we can erase the hatred, trump the violence, and topple the soaring towers of our insecurities. I believe that we can defeat the vices that are poisoning our society. I believe, do you?





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