Nowadays, I would say it is much harder to stand out of the crowd. Most people my age and in their twenties are or are on their way to becoming vegetarian/vegan and are fighting for human rights. We are changing our habits to help the environment and/or to help others the best we can. I am no exception. A proclaimed vegan and feminist, I am not an uncommon species. But, when I take the time to think about it, it is actually not a bad thing. It means we, vegans and feminists, have a genuine chance at making the world a better place.
The thing is, as hard as it is for me to admit, I have always wanted to differentiate myself from others. When I was younger, I would always be the opposite of my sister. If she loved something, I hated it. At school too, I wanted to stand out, be different; in any way. This mindset is changing. Although there was ,and still is, a tiny voice in my head that wants me to be different, I am accepting that on some levels of my life, I share similarities with others. Life is no competition, so I should not feel I have to compete and be the opposite of someone and everyone to leave my mark.
During the summer of 2018, I had the incredible opportunity to go to Nepal on a humanitarian project with Projects Abroad. Even though it was an amazing experience that made me grow and see the world through new eyes, it was hard to acknowledge that so many people were like me. With Projects Abroad only, three hotels were completely booked with young volunteers. I had to face the fact that I wasn’t the only 16-year-old trying to help others and make the world a better place. But as I wrote earlier, I am learning to accept these similarities I have to my generation and to suppress the little voice telling me to be different. I should not try to be someone else just to prove to myself, and to others, that I am worthy. Difference does not make you worthier, authenticity does. I love the person I am becoming and all I want is to continue on the path of self-growth I am on.
In today’s society, I feel like we are all trying to leave our mark in the world, but what we have to understand is that we can’t all leave one. What we can do, though, is leave a mark as a community, as a whole generation that is fighting for what it wants: a better world and a better planet for every single human being. We have to stop trying to prove ourselves and start accepting the fact that we do have similarities AND differences. We have to embrace them and hope for the best. We have to take all our amazing initiatives and do good in this world we want better!
Sarah Ève Lemieux