“Everything’s possible”, fuck no!

I am the kind of person that takes 20 minutes on their lunch break to stare at the ready to be cooked meals in the dedicated aisle, wondering if the Chicken curry massala will satisfy me more than the salmon and potatoes casserole. So, no, please, I do not want “everything to be possible” when it comes to life decisions.

«Unfortunately», I am a pretty lucky (as in «privileged») human being. Being born from two parents from two different continents, I am required to enjoy two citizenships. One grants me the access to most European countries as if they were my own, and the other allows me to enjoy Trump’s presidency on his soil as much as I wish. I never had to worry about getting a visa until now, and I studied in a field dedicated to people who wanted to be “able to work in any given industry”. Business school. Cause that’s true, bullshit can be found in any given industry nowadays, and it’s no coincidence that Business School also shortens to “BS”.

© Emilie Fenaughty

Like anyone my age, I was brought up with a Hollywood-owned television along with persistent post-WWII European ideals, and was surrounded by the idea that “anything was possible”. Being half-American, the American dream fantasy and the go-getter attitude were never really far. I, myself, truly believed that if you wanted something and worked hard enough to make your way through life challenges, you could get it. No doubt.

Being 26, I now find myself desperately lost, disillusioned, and most of all, wrongfully guilty. I should have “everything to be happy”, and I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that I am just a worthless piece of shit, unable to chose a direction among the infinite yellow-paved roads facing me. There is a paradox in the way I have been raised. Being told I could become anything I wanted, and at the same time being told what I SHOULD want to become, if not what I WAS to become. Being a good student, a student foreseen to be able to achieve “anything” he desires, I was actually given no choice but to follow a road. Journalism was out of the way. “There ain’t no more jobs there, miss.” Art was out of the way. Philosophy? Pff, hell no, philosophers just end up on the street nowadays. Three options were left to me: Medicine, Law, Business. I chose Business for the job security and for the “infinite possibilities”.

Six years after entering BS, “everything is possible” and is not. I have lost years of my life trying to comply with someone else’s definition of success and found myself intensely bored once I entered corporate life. I listened to scary (and mostly scared) voices that repeated me I was going to end up jobless and unfulfilled if I actually followed my heart. More than that, these voices ruin children’s dreams by making fun of them. “Oh, you want to be a writer really? Well, good luck with that huhuhHUHUHhhuhU.” Dreams are legit until you graduate high school. Dreams are a vain comfort we’ve been provided with, lies they used to rock us with as kids, and then took away when it was time to actually do something about them.

“Everything is possible”. If you find the love of your life on the other side of the planet, and REALLY want to join them, all you gotta do is DO IT. If you want to become an astronaut but none of your parents know how to read, all you gotta do is PUT WORK TO IT.

Hollywood fantasies. Bullshit.

© Emilie Fenaughty (and the guy who created the Nike logo too, I guess, a little)

This is just a very convenient way to put the blame on individual human beings rather than on structures — borders, social reproduction and privileges, poverty, inequalities in health and so on. Not mentioning the fact that everything in the “Everything is possible” theology is asking us to be strong, to be proficient, to be able to make sacrifices, leaving no space for the weaker ones and always putting the blame on those who “did not work hard enough”. Pretty convenient philosophy in a capitalist world where work is intended to be the number one value. The way we were educated, moreover, has taught us to sacrifice the journey for the destination, showing signs of a sick goal-oriented society that has lost out of sight the pleasures of the present moment, the richness of what’s already here. No wonder “Mindful meditation” apps are flourishing.

Take a look at mental illness resurgence amongst young people and it . A mental state that is also triggered by a perpetual sense of competition inherent to the way we use social media and represent our lives to the world, creating myths of success and happiness around ourselves. There are days where everything is so possible it is just painfully overwhelming, to the point where it’s hard doing anything else than lie on my bed imagining great plans for becoming all that I wish I was. A successful writer. A perfect lover. A prolific creator. An adventurous traveler. An immortal. And for combining it to the things I want: social recognition, status, a bit of stability, a nice apartment, time to myself and enough money to raise kids who won’t think they «don’t belong».

Sylvia Plath in front of her fig tree, before she committed suicide at 30. Yay!

I do not want anything to be possible in a world where I wasn’t taught how to chose out of anything other than fear, and I do not want to be solely held responsible for my frustration. If you tried your best and failed anyway, chances are it’s not your fault. And maybe your best is kind of mediocre too according to the big subjective scale of human worth, AND THAT IS FINE TOO. Not everything is possible. Stop believing that, and give yourself some peace. And others too.

Thank you.

French-American writer. Comedian. Traveler. Witch. Featured on VICE (fr) — or how I got paid to write about my life instead of going to therapy. Paris//Chicago

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