At the beginning of senior year in The Unencrypted Truth, I listed the top three qualities that I felt made me really different from the average Colby student and were causing the most problems for me at school. But when I actually came up with this list in college, there was a fourth item on the list, one that I didn't mention in my essay. That item was: "Not believing that anything worth doing is worth doing well."I eliminated this item from that list in my essay because it didn't seem as big as the other three issues. From what I remembered, the only time this issue really came up was sophomore year, when I went to the gym and felt pressure to be more athletic. It didn't seem worth discussing side-by-side with the issues that had affected me every waking moment at Colby.
But recent events have made me remember why issue #4 made its way to my list. The pressure I felt to care so much and work hard at everything also related to topics of conversation. I mentioned in my essay that Colby students are very judgmental against people not knowing things. When I was at Colby, I never felt like it was okay to have a casual interest in a topic that wasn't my focus. I never felt like I could enter a conversation about something unless that topic was my passion, unless I had done hours of research on it and was basically thinking about it all the time.
I am that passionate about social pressure and invalidation - I notice instances everywhere. I feel like an expert in these areas because of what I've experienced. Part of my comfort level comes from the fact that no one else seems to be talking about pressure and validation the way I am. Most discussions about peer pressure still focus on pressure to do "negative" things. I do wish there were more people doing what I'm doing. But I also think that being one of the few people doing this, not being part of a bigger social movement, eliminates the pressure to live up to any kind of standards. I don't need to reject every form of media that involves pressure or invalidation, even when I recognize that those things are bad. I can care more about what I'm doing this weekend than what I'm writing on my blog this week. I can choose where these issues fall on my priority list.
I'm now working on a new project, in addition to this blog, and I'm starting to get that feeling I had at Colby, that what I'm doing is not okay. I feel like it's not okay to have a casual interest in something. I feel like anything worth discussing has to be worth devoting my life to. I feel like I have to put at least the same effort into this as everyone else who's doing the same thing. I feel like I can't put my weekend plans ahead of this project, like I can't spend my free time entertaining myself instead of educating myself on what I'm about to, like I have to reject things that I like if they clash with what I'm doing. This is how I always felt at Colby and I am so fucking sick of it. I'm always the happiest when I feel obsessed and passionate about something because that feeling comes from within. And when I feel like my level of passionate has to live up to someone else's expectations, I honestly don't want to do the thing at all.