Every once in a while, a song successfully molds me into who I really am, fixes me, and teaches me. I have acquired a hunger for live music. My first concert was very much like the first day of high school, except with students a whole lot older and a whole lot smellier than me. I was the new kid aching to be a social butterfly, while keeping to myself. When I bumped into someone, I would say, “I’m so sorry,” when they didn’t seem to care. The thing about hardcore and punk is that it gives you no choice but to feel free and act without restriction. Unlike the educational institutions I knew, it wouldn’t matter if you were a girl or boy, black or white, loud or quiet, or anywhere in between. We were all one. I saw members of the crowd lift their hands up, or sway, or cry. I saw the older men carry strangers as they crowd-surfed, making sure they made their way to the front without falling. I saw the singer on stage make direct eye contact with someone who really needed to know that he or she mattered. At that very moment, I knew that this is what I would live for. After that day, I found myself needing to feel infinite again. Each show was like someone telling me, “You’re going to be fine” or “You’re welcome here. We love you.” I made wonderful memories and found that I could fit in somewhere. It’s more than just music to me; it’s my life support. I couldn’t handle the dead silence that existed around me or the lifeless answers I was given. At the music venues, I learned more about myself than in therapy. I learned more about what my future would look like than I did at school. I learned what love could really be.
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Selfie. Look at me. This fake smile, It’s all you’ll see. Selfie. Look at me. Tell me please, It looks pretty. Selfie. Look at me. I need those likes, For my self-esteem. Selfie. Look at me. I took so many, Exactly 60. Selfie. Look at me. I tilt my head, Oh so perfectly. Selfie. Look at me. Look at me, I am a selfie.
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Click! “Ew! This photo is ugly!” Click! “This photo won’t get any likes.” These thoughts run through your head before you even take a picture. But is it worth it to appear perfect? What’s the point? History says that in 1839, a Philadelphia photographer named Robert Cornelius was the first person to take a selfie. His method was to remove the lens cap and run into the frame. Mind you, there was no such thing as a social network at that time, so why did he take a selfie if he couldn’t share it with everybody? His purpose was simply photographic innovation. Selfies can be fun until they hit another person’s eyes and someone starts to criticize the flaws in you, not the photo. When people say a photo is ugly, what they really mean is that your hair is not “done” or your facial expression looks “boring,” “stupid,” or “aggy.” Many teen girls are pressured into looking great before they take a selfie. They have to get their hair fixed, moisten their lips, and make sure they have good makeup. It’s all based on looks, but what about her personality? The song “#Selfie” by The Chainsmokers describes what many girls think before and after they take a selfie. “I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes/Do you think I should take it down? Let me take another selfie!” and “That girl is such a fake model/She definitely bought all her Instagram followers.” What caused them to think this way? Judgmental comments that people made about their appearance, of course. It’s a vicious cycle that selfies have caused in the modern day. She calls you ugly, and then you feel ugly, so then you want other people to feel ugly. Yeah, you get the picture. If you want to take a selfie, do it. Don’t let anyone stop you from posting a photo that you want to show the world.
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Lately, I’ve lost sight of who I am. I’m no longer the goofy person who is carefree. I’m no longer the one many come to for help because I no longer have much to say. I am no longer me. I’ve become the person who is no longer strong, but weak and harsh; the person who is too scared to fail, so I don’t try at all. I don’t really laugh enough. I simply don’t care about the results of my actions. I feel like ignorance is bliss. I now put down the body I once worshipped and thought was beautiful, even though it looks pretty much the same. I’m simply a mask. I push people away before they can push me away. I used to make funny faces in the mirror. Now all I see is the darkness surrounding my eyes. I have no idea what has caused this change, but I am no longer me enough.
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I am not smart enough for my chemistry teacher. I would not be beautiful enough if you were to ask the world of social media. I am not a good enough friend if you were to ask the ones who do not stick around anymore. I am not patient enough if you ask those who need me to wait on them. I am not rich enough if you ask the ones with full wallets. I’m not cultured enough because I don’t know the lyrics of that one song by that one artist. B ut take me out of that context and stop comparing me to others. Think of me as an individual. Then, I am smart enough to become anything I want to be. I am beautiful enough to look in the mirror and be pleased with what I see. I am a good enough friend if I am allowed to be and if I am treated like one. I am patient enough to keep living every day to see what awaits me in the future. I am rich enough to stay well fed and content. I am cultured enough because I know the lyrics to that other song by that other artist. I am enough for myself and that is all that matters.
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