We Determine Our Future, No One Else

June 12, 2017
By Anonymous

The validation of others is not what pushes us to our destined future. On the contrary, it only delays and restrains us from pursuing what we are passionate about. Should a teen’s fate be determined by the opinions of others? It will only tie down the change we can make in life. Our voice should not be silenced because it is seen as different or because it is not what the world accepts or agrees with. “The world” are those who are accepted by those with power, the ones who refuse to let anyone else surpass their level of power, and the ones who deem themselves superior to designate who has that power. We as teens need to come together and understand that ignorance is the enemy not each other. It is ignorant to believe that we are superior to anyone. It is ignorant to believe we have any right to deny anyone’s talents, and it is ignorant to believe that we are all measured solely by a number. Everyday there is a challenge for who will receive a higher honor than another. We strive to accomplish anything and everything because we believe that achievement and success will bring us positive acceptance from those around us.

Yet, what happens to those who don’t accomplish that and are denied the approval of the people? What happens if we continue to abide by their standards and wishes? My wish is to live in a world where we are not rejected and alienated for choosing a talent that makes us happy, where we ignore the negativity spread by haters and critics. My wish is to someday have everyone say that the only person we need to accept who we are and want to be is ourselves.

Your mentality and morals determine who you are. Then, your determination urges you to be the best you can be. Yet, can one get far without support, with constant torment from those who seek to knock one down, and the denial of following our dreams because it is not what society and the world sees fit for us? I, a young Mexican-American teen, know what it’s like to have someone set your plan of action for your future without even asking what you have to say. Growing up, acceptance was always crucial to me. Being the pinnacle of perfection is all I wanted to be. To be ridiculed and denied by the “world” was an absolute tragedy. My “world” consists of my family and my fake and real friends. I don’t mean fake as in you couldn’t hear or see them. However, it could easily mean just that since they would be there only with needs of their own. I wanted to be accepted by the people in my world. That couldn’t happen at least not yet. The people in my world manipulated and twisted my image to fit their requirements, even though it wasn’t directly. Their ideas were not compatible with mine, their dreams and wishes were not my own. Therefore, something had to be done. I began to look for a compromise between the three components: my social life, my family and, of course, myself. One of the three were not accepted as a part of the equation by the other two components, both disagreed with my own choices ideals and morals.

As a result of being denied the ability to be my own person, I choose to be like someone who is socially and/or morally accepted. Anything to stop the external conflict. However, little did I know it was only the beginning of and internal conflict. I wanted to be someone who was loved by the people and had their acceptance. The image that would make everyone proud to say they knew who I was. The facade that was put into place gave me confidence and assurance that I would fit in where I tried to be. Yet, there was no guarantee that I will be happy.

The author's comments:

This article was a part of a teen activism project at my school, The Academy of Urban Planning in Brooklyn. I hope teens will think carefully about how they choose to live their lives. 

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