I will not conform.

I have been struggling with a lot recently.
Everyone goes through those hard stages, where you feel down. The waves of sadness, bitterness, confusion. The over thinking, spiralling thoughts going down. The panic. The shortness of breath. All because you don't feel like you can reach your goal, your dream. You don't know what you're exactly doing anymore. The hard work seems wasted and the motivation disappears.
I seemed to have lost myself.
Until I decided that I will not conform.

I listened to people. I listened to opinions. I suddenly found myself staring at my phone. Every picture posted had to be perfection. Everything I wrote should be appropriate. The way I dressed and the people I hung out with had to be cool. Why? Because everyone is suddenly a brand. You have to be a BRAND to get anywhere. When years of learning, dedication and passion just isn't enough anymore. So I suddenly seemed to be impressing people. Questioning my self if it was right.

Yeah, as a reader you can sit there and be like "You don't have to do that, just do whatever init"
How many of you have gone out for a meal or drinks with friends and snapchated/intsgrammed the entire thing? Not just 1 or 2 pictures, like I could tell you what you ate, drank and where you were. How many times have you sat with someone and picked up your phone while they've been talking and your thumb seems to automatically go onto facebook/instgram? Yeah, you're keeping up with the current affairs, the hot gossip, the news. But what about that current person in front of you? Oh, well they're probably on their phones too.
I'm guilty of it. Really guilty. People have been like "Pete, get off your phone" and then something clicked in my head. I stopped. I put my phone down. I suddenly noticed that people were glued to social media. People were on it all the time. If you told them, they'd reply "ERM, so are you!" A lot of people I knew had become unrecognisable. People looking for acceptance. Depression, anxiety, "Social media popularity" are all on the rise and is affecting everyone.

"It's just the millennials!" Nah...It's everyone.
Suddenly your work is not being assessed on its quality, but on the quantity of people following you.
Its terrible to think. It's really fucked up. But, it's the hard hitting truth. Like a slapping sting across the face. You gotta sell yourself. Dependant on how you sell yourself you will fit yourself into a category. This way instagram and facebook will see your interests, things that you click on more often and reprogram your algorithm. Then suddenly you find yourself comparing to people, products, things that are very similar to you and it sends you spiralling in your own mind.

I've been told I'm not good enough, that I haven't got what it takes, and then I realise that maybe I don't have enough people supporting me. All of these things are being told to me, when deep down, its everything I want to do. Its like my escape, something I'm passionate about. I want to create something beautiful and reach out to people. With my writing, my photography, my art work, my education in science. But sometimes it crushes you, sometimes you can't take what people have said to you and think positively like "Yeah, I'm gonna prove them wrong". Sometimes it doesn't work that way. Sometimes it just knocks you down and you just can't get up.

What I'm trying to get across is: Everyone's an individual, but individuality is becoming a skewed meaning due to comparing and contrasting with others. You begin to lose yourself. It affects mental health. It causes tension between friends - "Why didn't you like my insta post?".
And I'm done with it. I started losing passion for MY art because I started copying others and comparing myself. So I stopped writing for a while because I had writers block. I haven't done a photo shoot for a while because I ran dry on ideas.
Then I realised, I'm doing something because I love it and I should only put the trust in myself that I can do it. Staying true to myself is what I can do best.
So I decided; I will not conform.

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