A Stranger in a Strange Land

I’ve always thought that the rules only apply to those who are willing to follow them.

I spent much of my childhood staying out after dark to play in cemeteries, breaking into old abandoned buildings and starting fires. As a teenager I was labeled as a “troubled” child by my high school guidance counselor because I wore black lipstick and nail polish, a spiked collar, platform boots and Marilyn Manson shirts.

But the “rules” change as we get older. The expectations are different and more subtle than before.

Instead of rules imposed by our parents or authority figures like those of our childhood, the rules are implied through the cues we receive from our peers, by the media and through corporate advertising. We’re expected to behave in a certain manner, to drive a certain type of car and to wear a certain style of clothing. Knowing who was voted out last night has become a vital piece of information necessary for the conversation we’re about to have…

I’ve never been able to bring myself to care about the cultural expectations of my beloved country of America. My way of thinking about life doesn’t fit with the average American mindset and because of this I’ve spent my entire life with fingers pointed at me as being someone with a “problem.” I’ve been told countless times that I should seek psychological help.

And for a while I bought into it.

Maybe I was the one with the problem. I’m the only person who seems disappointed in our culture and society while everyone else is happily following the herd, never questioning anything. Maybe I need Prozac to make me feel better … that seems like a socially acceptable thing to do; take a drug to make myself feel better (all the while pointing a judgmental finger at people who smoke marijuana. Does anyone else find irony in that?) Maybe a pill will solve all my “problems.”

Maybe it would make sense to seek professional help and talk to someone about my disgust for our culture; someone who will no doubt go home that night to watch the latest episode of Survivor and The Biggest Loser while I’m left believing it’s me who has the problem because I just can’t bring myself to give a fuck about who’s going to be voted off the island.

But I’m not buying it anymore.

I’m not the one with the problem. I just see the world in a different light than do most people. A light in which I refuse to let myself become a zombie, mindlessly following the fabricated trends of the moment. I will not be told who I’m supposed to be or how I’m supposed to feel by a psychologist who can only benefit from my having a “condition.”

The truth is, I’m happy with my life and if there is something “wrong” with me, it’s that I refuse to accept the aspects of our culture which I consider a waste of precious time. If I am depressed, it’s because I’ve been unable to convince other people that they don’t need to buy more shit in order to be happy; that they don’t have to watch five hours of television a day; that they don’t need to see the latest viral video on YouTube.

What our society needs is to unplug; from the media, from the news, from the Internet, from the advertising, and instead focus the attention we’ve been wasting on bullshit on the people and moments that make life worth living.

Happiness doesn’t come from a pill.

And I’m not the one with a problem.

4 thoughts on “A Stranger in a Strange Land

  1. Happiness doesn’t come from a pill? Tell that to a shrink, or postmodernist, and they’ll disagree with you. I agree with you, by the way. Welcome to the land of confusion.

  2. Hi Steven, I am with you on that issue. To be honest I am starting to believe that You and I are enlightened ones in this world. And the average Americans you are talking about, are full of shit. Because they are full of shit and they don’t know how to get out of it, that’s why they need a pill to chill. I still question myself every now and then, why can’t I be ignorant and happy just like them. But I can’t because I wouldn’t be me. I am the minority who gives a shit about dolphin slaughter in Taiji; who gives a shit about where I buy my produce from, and if my chocolate is fair-trade certified and my laundry soap is phosphorus free.. What the f…ck is that? If we are not talking about a 60″ HDTV from Costco, or chicken on sale from WalMart, people don’t have a fucking clue. BTW. sorry for my language it comes out in times of frustration.

    • No worries about the language. Here you’re free to express your thoughts as you feel necessary and I don’t expect you to censor yourself.

      I think it’s an important part of growth to question and doubt, not only yourself but everyone and everything else. Otherwise you’re blindly following the herd. And even deeply held beliefs we hold ought to be wondered about on occassion. Don’t believe everything you think. If the rest of the world is so wrong about so many things, no doubt we’re wrong more often than we might want to admit. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably more full of shit than not, but I’m trying like hell to figure out where I’m screwing up and then trying to do whatever I can to fix it. It’s meant making hard choices, sacrificing comfort and forcing myself into uncomfortable situations. But I know that it’s all going to be worth it in the end, and my life will be one I can look back upon with a great sense of satisfaction because I’ll know I did the best I could to live life the highest of standards.

      • Thank you Steven, as I said before you are a very inspiring person. I wish there were more of you on this planet. My goal in life to inspire my two boys to care for others, be passionate about what the’re doing, Love Nature and Respect every living thing on Earth. I think we are doing a good job.

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