When Windfall was still just an idea, I shared it to anyone who would listen. It was this vague concept of meaningful designs and expunging insecurity. An entrepreneur tore the idea apart (as any legitimate critic should) and told me that insecurity is something people get over. That yes, we all experience it when we’re young, but most people eventually find themselves.
Her response stuck with me. I couldn’t tell if I had issues with her criticisms because of my ego, or if there was something else there I couldn’t pinpoint. It took me a couple years, but I can now say I disagree.
My childhood’s usually pretty relatable. I wasn’t a popular kid. I held tight to my close friends. I couldn’t afford everything I wanted. I tried my best in school and did pretty well. My parents were divorced, but the love was there still. I was a somewhat privileged, lower middle-class kid: the perfect star for an angsty teenage sitcom.
I was unsure how to act, who to associate with, whether to do this or that. I tried to be a prep, skater, punk, and everything in between. It took me years to finally be me.
Needless to say I was insecure. But who isn’t insecure at the ripe old age of 14?
We can all relate to the glorious, prepubescent journey of self-discovery. As we delve into life and try to figure out just what the hell is going on, we wonder.. how do we fit into this world? (Cue /r/im14andthisisdeep) We look towards establishing an identity.
It’s our tendency to associate with that which we’re good at. What we naturally have an aptitude for, what we’ve been blessed with from birth, or what we can push ourselves to be. Because we want to be successful in life. We want to be fulfilled.
Maybe our soulmate never came but hey, we launched our own business! Or I may not be the prettiest daisy in the bunch, but I’m way smarter than everyone my age, who cares what I look like? We find something attainable to establish our identity in. Not just to be happy, but to keep our sanity.
But how grounded is our identity if it’s rooted in anything material?
I’ve been underweight my entire life. I grew up under a barrage of “wow, you are so skinny,” and it got under my skin when I was younger. Most of it wasn’t ill-natured, but it was uncomfortable still; it forced me to think on my failures and insecurities. I tried everything I could, but I just couldn’t put on the weight.
But in college, I had more resources to work with. I worked out regularly and engorged myself at the dining hall, finally seeing some results. I felt more comfortable with how I looked in the mirror. My clothes were fitting better. People were noticing the change. At the time I loved it, but I had to stop. Ironically enough, it was unhealthy. It had become more of an obligation than a decision. I felt like I had to do this for my self-confidence; to be better.
If I had continued to work out 3 times a week. If I kept eating 5 meals a day. If I hit my goal weight and then some, it’d be a success by our world’s standards. I would have conquered my insecurities through my own hard work and efforts. Tangible results just because I wanted it bad enough. But how healthy is that really? Are we solving the core issue if we just succumb to our insecurities?
Our culture thrives off of the idea that, “If you feel bad about yourself, do something about it. Be who you want to be.”
Rather than evaluating why we feel this way, we accept it as fact: this will make us better, how can we get there? We give in to the idea that our worth is contingent. Contingent on our ability to meet our self-defined criteria for success. I’ll feel better about myself if I lose weight.. or succeed at my job.. or meet that special someone.. on and on and on.
This sentiment bleeds into every aspect of our lives. This insecurity penetrates all demographics. It’s masked by success, exposed through failures, and will eventually triumph in time. The obsessed entrepreneurs, middle-aged crises, plastic surgery, fancy cars and new cellphones. All because we follow the world’s path to success.. only to find that it isn’t quite as fulfilling as we thought.
Is this it?
Next collection: Madama.