I don’t know how many of you really remember what it was like to be in high school, but I’m sure most of you can relate to this: Remember the times in school when kids used to want to be a part of the popular group? I bet the popular kids themselves had their own insecurities to deal with. Now that I sit back and think of it, I’m realizing how influenced we were by our self-image and the labels that were attributed to us. I remember being different labels at different points in time. I believe I transitioned between the loner, the nerd, the sweet kid, the popular one, the distant one, the friendly/charming, all at different times. And I’m comfortable with all of them; Because, of course, I felt like that at different points in time. There were kids that were popular- kids that I liked very much because, irrespective of the status quo, they were nice people! I remember not caring as much about wanting to be a part of the label- I had issues of my own. Depression and anxiety are exhausting to deal with! But I remember struggles around the same issues of self-esteem while I yearned for a sense of acceptance and belonging as well.
Adolescence is the time children need the most amount of validation in their life. They are most vulnerable, everything’s changing, that their need for acceptance is the highest at this point. I remember destructive labels such as ‘desperate’, ‘wannabe’, ‘lame’, ‘easy’, ‘slutty’, ‘bitchy’, ‘creepy’, ‘needy’ being used to describe people. I kinda feel bad for being a part of it 😬 Anyhow! Those days are long gone behind us! We are all mature adults now. Right? Or, are we? 😅 As I and my roommate got into a spirited discussion about what being a wannabe means, we uncovered a very amusing trail of thoughts! Her point of view was: “But everybody is a wanna be right?”
“Wut?!” I blinked confused. This woman clearly had no concept of what a wannabe was or what it meant to be called one.
“Dude! A WANNABE is Someone who wants to be something they are not. Like they try to act famous when they’re not or they try to be cool when they’re not.”
Then she says:
“But nobody’s famous until they are. And how do you know they are not cool? In their minds they are! So how can you be the judge of that?!”
I blinked some more. This was getting ridiculous.
“Dude… You’re not getting it!! A wannabe is someone who does something because it is trendy. They are only into it because it is popular. They don’t know anything or know very little, about what the trend is. At the same time, they will talk a big game and make it sound like they know what they are talking about. That’s lame right?”
She casts me an annoyed look as if wondering why I’m this shallow while I frantically rammed my brains to understand what I was getting wrong. Then she slowly says “Dude. Everybody’s a wannabe, right? You may think that that person has no fashion sense, but in their mind, they’re doing their best to learn about makeup and explore their own style, and there’s no rule against that. Is there? And that kid who’s trying to be a social media influencer- maybe at this point he doesn’t seem to be gaining publicity, but he has his own ideas and innovation. How can you propagate individualism and creativity when you cannot accept that fact that there are going to be people better than you or worse than you at the task that you are trying to achieve. And till the time that you don’t achieve it – that title, position, career break, whatever – you will be a wannabe, right? A wannabe athlete, a wannabe model, a wannabe film star, a wannabe artist. You’re also a wannabe writer, aren’t you?”
I stared at her open-mouthed as words refused to escape my wannabe face.
So I slowly clapped at her instead!