It doesn’t take a life-altering epiphany for most people to become aware of just how “common they are,” to know that you might not be the best at anything.
I grew up in a generation of overachievers, in a world littered with benchmarks for everybody’s self-worth, where people eagerly step on one another to get to the top. Meanwhile, I mastered the knack of being idle on my couch, binge-watching unremarkable TV shows, and gorging myself on cold Chinese food.
In today’s world, being ordinary is almost equivalent to being a nobody.
Some people are the flawless embodiment of perfection. They walk through life as though they owned the world and have all the answers. I am not one of them.
I do not have a defining talent. I am not the prettiest one in class, or the smartest, or the funniest. I don’t even know enough curse words to be an intimidating badass, nor am I charismatic enough to be a girl-next-door.
I see myself oscillating between personas now and then, wearing whichever suits me best in any given situation. I don’t know what people remember me by when they meet me for the first time. I don’t know what I would like them to remember me by. I don’t know whether I say what naturally comes to my mind during interactions or what the other person expects to hear.
Most of my life has been like living in a haze, trying to grasp portions of something tangible and real. My mind is a jumble of jigsaw pieces I can barely piece together, so much so that I am confused as to how I should scale my own value. I don’t know whether it’s jealousy for the ones who are gifted or a plain lack of self-esteem.
Still, I give myself credit where it’s due. I know the world is full of possibilities and that I won’t end up being an unemployed gambler on the run – knock on wood. I may even do pretty well in life.
What are the odds for someone as average as me to, say, star in a movie or climb a mountain? How likely is it that they will name a constellation after me or write a biography for me? But do I even want this? Not really.
The fact that I am aware of my limitations can also mean that I have more clues as to what direction to head in. Before I attempt to strive for anything, I am confronted with a reality check. I amend my bucket list every now and then, convincing myself that I am a pragmatist. It is not even sad. It’s that feeling you get when you have a superior sibling or your friend wins a lottery.
Written by Ananya Pattnaik
Try to take your eyes off Vietnamese artist Nguyen Xua Huy’s disturbing artworks, we dare you.