Inadequacy, It's Normal
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Politics and Activism

Inadequacy, It's Normal

Life is messy, but it's what you do with that mess.

Inadequacy, It's Normal
Micaela Wilbourn

There is this idea, in our society, planted from when we are seedlings, that in order to be taken seriously you have to look the part. There is this idea, in our society, that if you don’t look the part, then you can’t play the part.

When I look around at the people I know and love, they don’t look the parts they are playing. They don’t dress “career-ready”; they don’t even act like business people. They simply act and behave like themselves, because oddly enough, we are also taught to always be true to ourselves.

This hypocrisy of statements is what leads us to feel inadequate, and I don’t want to say it’s a recent phenomenon, yet it seems as though it is.

Our generation is full of creative individuals that aren’t going for the traditional jobs; we are, instead, creating our own jobs and forging our own paths. We aren’t doing things the way our parents and our grandparents did, because times have changed.

Society has changed.

Gone are the days of dressing the part to get the job; those days have been replaced by Millennial dressing the way they choose and being who they are regardless of the role they intend on playing in our society.

I was raised “white." I spoke “white." I dressed “white." I acted “white," or at least, that’s what I was told growing up. I was told that if I were to act “black” that people wouldn’t give me the normal amount of respect—now part of that issue is an article for a different day, but the other half of it is, why can’t I just be me?

What is so wrong with just being who you are and showing what you can do in order to go places in the world? Why do we have to know people? Why do we have to dress a certain way? Who made these rules and why are these rules still being enforced to this day?

I came across a Facebook post the other night, written by a girl I attended my first semester of college with. This girl is brilliant, she is hard working, and although I didn’t know her on a friendly basis, I saw her around. I saw her interact with people, I saw the way she carried herself.

Not only is she the type of person who would go far if it weren’t for this society and it’s invisible rules, but she’s the type of person who makes you have hope that society isn’t quite doomed.

She has this aura to her that makes you want to work harder, care more about what you wear, and make you want to be her.

And aren’t those the kind of people we want in this society? The kind that make you go, “Shit, I need to get my life together," or “Shiiiiiiit, I need to get on their level!"

So, when I came across this status of hers, I was sad to see that someone as brilliant and beautiful as her was feeling inadequate.

I know we live in a capitalistic society, but when someone as driven and talented as her is feeling inadequate, it made me realize that I’m not the only one fighting this.

This feeling of inadequacy isn’t just in your head—it’s real. It’s something that is around the corner everywhere you go because of the invisible rules that America lives by.

I read her post about ten times before I could finally figure out what I wanted to say to everyone feeling inadequate:

As much as I would love to say the feeling is normal and it will go away, I can’t. I can’t say that because life isn’t like that when it comes to inadequacy. It’s a feeling that starts and once it begins you begin to question every decision you make. It’s like when you wake up in the morning and you’re getting dressed—you can’t decide what to wear because you don’t want to care what people think about you, but at the end of the day it, sadly, does matter what people think about you. That feeling of inadequacy then follows you to the classroom during discussions, conversations with your peers, and then it begins to affect you on a personal level. Once it hits on a personal level, it’s this thing that eats at you because not only are you then questioning every decision you make but you’re going back and second-guessing yourself. BUT WHY. WHY ARE YOU QUESTIONING YOURSELF? You know you’re capable. You know you have the tools to succeed, so why let that little voice of inadequacy ruin you? You already know who you are, what you stand for and what you want to do, so don’t let that voice stop you. Don’t let it sink in, let it motivate you—hell, let it inspire you. Your inadequacy isn’t real; it’s simply the invisible rules playing with you. And if you let it sink in, then it begins to stick to everything. Our generation already has it hard enough with debt, jobs, and this presidential election, don’t let anything, or anyone—including yourself, get in the way of you making a difference somehow.

We have all felt inadequate, and we have all felt like our choices and actions maybe weren’t going to take us anywhere or get us closer to whatever it is we are trying to accomplish, but every action matters. Every mistake matters.

Our journeys aren’t going to be perfect. Our rollercoasters teach us more about who we are with each twist, turn, curve and drop that it gives us.

Each twist you learn more about your character. Every turn you see the road ahead more clearly. The curves give you more footing and all the drops allow you to build yourself anew.

This world isn’t fair as much as we’d like to think it is. The chances we get are a little bit of luck, but a lot of people taking a chance on us. And, yes, it’s sad to think that whether we make it or not is in the hands of someone out there, but if we want it, we’re going to go for it, regardless of the odds stacked against us.

  • I recently was kicked out of my house.
  • My parents never got my car fixed in the three years I’ve been driving it since they gave it to me. So, it still has no power steering because the part has a hole or crack in it or something, the oil burns and hasn’t been changed in months, the windshield wiper fluid reservoir doesn’t hold fluid, my brakes haven’t been changed in years, there is no A/C, and the tires need rotating.
  • I was fired from my job because of a boss so petty and childish.
  • I haven’t spoken to my mother in almost three weeks.
  • I don’t get to see my little brother every day anymore.
  • I didn’t get the internship I wanted with the Tribune.

But, somehow, through all of that and more, I’m still pushing. I’m still being the best me I can because I know I am capable and I know I have skills.

People are going to reject me and people are going to tell me that I don’t look my age, or I speak well for a black girl, or I dress nice for a black girl, but that’s all irrelevant. What matters is who I am and who I plan to become. Regardless of what school I go to, what internships I get, I’m only going to go as far as I’m willing to push myself to and if I let all the feelings of inadequacy get in the way of that, then I’ll never succeed.

I know that this stage of our lives is hard, we’re supposed to know what we want to do and be making plans for our future, but we shouldn’t let anyone’s thoughts of us get in the way of us achieving what we are meant to.

WE are more than our looks.

Inadequacy is just another twist, turn, curve, or drop in our rollercoaster. We can both embrace it and let it speed us up, or let it take over and end our ride.

I have attached Maansi’s original Facebook status so that we are reminded that we are all in this together and we can’t forget that just because someone is put together on the exterior doesn’t mean everything is functioning perfectly in the interior. We are all human beings, and we are growing up a lot faster than we imagined, so let’s help each other and be there for one another. This time in our lives is stressful and messy and we need every ounce of guidance and love as possible.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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