The Internet makes me feel smothered by other people, and toppled over by the wave of a monstrosity that information has become.

I see people showing themselves to the world, making a name – a brand – of who they are. Somehow that belittles me. Maybe because I want to be brave like them, but the non-brave parts of me hold back my wrists as I struggle to type the words. The words are supposed to form into sentences, and the sentences into stories, and the stories into narratives about me. The words flowing from the floodgates of my mind and into my hands and into the keyboard of my laptop are stopped. The words that were flowing become a trickle, eventually but all at once they are cut off as my mind sends another message to my body: “you. aren’t. good. enough.”

And sometimes I write, but I write only for my eyes. I tell myself that my experience will not resonate with others. I’m not a special ‘snowflake’ that liberal millennials get called so often by older right-wing, butt-hurt men. But I write, nonetheless, about how I feel and what I think in a journal sort of way.

And then there’s the other part of me that remembers what other people say about the individual self – how no two people are alike. I know this. The concept of individualism, engrained into my generation and the one after mine, haunts me in every action and decision I make. It pushes me to distinguish myself from others, but I am not good enough. I am not like so-and-so, I don’t live up to the ideal individual that North American individualism tells me to be: bold, unapologetic, and tolerant.

So I quietly be me and hope no one notices the failing, the unbold, the oxymoronic girl who is me (and who apparently has an identity crisis). The girl who is uncookie-cutter, but not unique enough.

Published by Eunice Lee