Meet Mila*, who is Muslim and 18.
“..I was too sensitive, too easy to cry, too easy to fall sick, and an unstoppable chatterbox…I struggled a lot at 14…I couldn’t understand why do we exist, what do we want from this short span of life, why should we work hard to earn money when death is inevitable, and why are my friends putting so much effort to make good grades? It is meaningless…I felt like I was about to lose my mind…They don’t really think about life, about the world, about the society…why don’t they search for something more meaningful…? Why don’t they want to understand the learning materials more deeply? Why don’t they care when war is still happening? …I lost my hope in humanity…Don’t you have the urge to be the best version of yourself, to make changes in this world?…”
Existential questions at an early age can turn into existential depression. Concerns about justice issues beyond your self can leave you anxious, hopeless, and lonely.
“…School was really frustrating….I prefer to study on my own, with my own method. I am not academic smart but my unquenchable thirst for learning is not shallow. None of my classmates understood what I was doing, nor my teacher, and it always ended up with ‘just follow the steps that I teach you’…I was seen as arrogant when I asked ‘unanswerable’ questions…My teacher says I am too abstract, when it is so crystal clear to me…”
Love for learning does not necessarily equal love for schooling.
“…it is exhausting to have feelings. Deep feelings…I cried for an hour after finishing a documentary about a politician who was corrupt..it took me a week to recover, to have hope again, for it to be crushed all over again and again…it’s hard to feel the pain of people, literally painful…It’s tiring…It is tiring to see human beings argue for the smallest matter that can be solved with five minutes discussion…It is more tiring when people don’t understand why I am tired…”
Sensitivity. Compassion. Emotion = Exhaustion.
“…I love humanities, art, and science. I still don’t have any idea what to major in but I want to know how technology works, internet AI, security…Mostly I lean more to maths, physics, chemistry, computer science, psychology, philosophy, drawing, and languages. If I have time, I would like to attend a sewing course…”
Multipotentiality is not flakiness, indecisiveness, arrogance, or ADHD.
” I have one best friend, two close friends, and many dead friends, ranging from dead classical composers, mathematicians, philosophers, and psychologists…”
“…I would label myself as a lifelong learner, who wishes to reduce the ignorance in myself, aspire to be the best version of myself, so that I can help other people; to achieve a meaningful life, that is giving positive value to other people no matter how small the number …I need to enrich my knowledge. I need to understand. I need to change something. I need to. I have to.
Is this normal?”
This is normal, Mila. For you. Your rainforest mind. And all of us, with you, around the world. With our very own (very alive!) rainforest-y minds, hearts, souls, and spirits.
To my bloggEEs: Where are you in the world? Can you relate to what Mila is saying? If you would like to share your story in more detail on my blog, send me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m particularly looking for countries I have yet to write about. And thank you to Mila for sharing so much of yourself with us.
Spanish speakers! Lovely Miryam in Spain would like to hear from you. She is creating an opportunity for RFMs around the world who speak Spanish to support each other. You can contact her at email@example.com.
(*Note: Photos on the blog are not of the actual person described and names are changed.)