The Grey Area

December 13, 2007
Right or wrong. Good or bad. Black or white. The world is supposed to be that way, right? Then why do people make bad choices when the good ones are known? It is because of the grey area, the grey area that traps us in and holds us, keeping us from getting away and escaping. The grey area encompasses the insecurities, the expectations, and the fears that we face every day, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. It consists of the things that make us feel incapable of exercising moral strength and wisdom when we need to most. But why do we, the human race, succumb to this grey area? Why do we become content with living in this zone of guilt, unease, and self doubt? Why?
As a teenage girl, gossiping seems like a pastime that is just sort of fun with no consequences. By putting others down, I lift myself up. The insecurities I face fog my judgment making me feel incompetent of exercising my moral strength and making good choices. The lack of self-confidence I experience allows me to succumb to peer pressure. People want to be accepted as part of the crowd. So when everyone gossips, including me, most will ignore their morals and join. The insecurities we experience and the need for acceptance allows us to pretend we don’t know what’s right or wrong. We abandon our principles to do what everyone else is doing. In Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, all the citizens of San Lorenzo kill themselves with the ice-nine because Bokonon tells them they should (Vonnegut 272-273). The citizens abandoned their moral wisdom to do what everyone else is doing. Their insecurities in their knowledge and believing that Bokonon knew more than themselves leads to their deaths. The citizens of San Lorenzo exhibit the same similarities as the teen girls who gossip. Lack of confidence in ourselves causes us to abandon our ethics and wisdom.
“Aren’t you a leader? You’re supposed to be number 1! Why didn’t you get an A on that test?” Expectations. They overwhelm me like a wave crashing down all around. I don’t only expect a ton from myself, but I also feel the weight of what others expect. As if I don’t feel enough pressure on my own, “people suggest things” non-stop (Vonnegut 42). I can never get a break. People always think they know best. Well, wake up!! YOU DON’T!! I feel the pressure. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, trying to make me fall, but guess what, I won’t. I have to be the best. Period. The need to be the greatest, strongest, smartest, best can cause me to abandon my knowledge of right and wrong. The way that I find being numero uno a necessity has sometimes caused me to desert my judgment and make bad and immoral choices like taking shortcuts to get what I want. Judgment just flies out the window when you feel as though you might die if you don’t win. You feel as though you don’t have a choice.
Fear of spiders, snakes, thunderstorms, and regret control the choices I make. Fears can overwhelm me to the point where I’ll make immoral decisions just to avoid facing my fears. In my head I escalate my fear of spiders to a phobia which fills me with dread and apprehension to the point where I become incapable of exercising my moral strength and wisdom. I will lie to get someone else to do my job which would put me in the path of spiders, or manipulate the situation as to not have to deal with any fears I have. These dishonest actions are fueled by a fire full of concerns, fears, and phobias.
The grey area of everyday life causes us to have to fight to be honest, fight to be moral, and fight to be honorable. It is a hard task, but if we, the human race are able to overcome our insecurities, expectations, and fears, it is completely possible for us to exercise our moral strength and wisdom.

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