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Don’t call me a “snowflake”

As a millennial, I’ve been called many things including, but not limited to: lazy, irresponsible, and mindless. I’ve never been bothered by these comments because there isn’t much I can do to curb another’s opinion. But there is one undeserved title I need to stop hearing:

“Snowflake”

First, being called a snowflake has a checkered past as described in a 2017 USA Today article, which says of the modern iteration as a term for, “a person perceived as overly sensitive and fragile, often in a mocking way.”

Typically, I’ve encountered this when scrolling through social media sites and I’ve seen many people from various age groups and backgrounds spewing negativity toward those of us who want to spread awareness. Frankly, it’s exhausting to see others want to put someone like me into a uniform box when all I want is to show how we can better ourselves for the sake of humanity. But alas, I am apparently a frosty speck.

Does this make me a snowflake?

Standing up for a person with a disability who is being made the butt of a joke? Snowflake.

Vowing to never marry until everyone is able? Snowflake.

‘Cancelling’ someone over racially charged statements? Snowflake.

Boosting people who want to open up about mental illness? Snowflake.

I’m not a snowflake; I’m a decent human being. There is a difference.

Quit putting others in a box

For too long we’ve lived in a world where being ‘other’ means being silent or risking being ostracized. I’ve often been in situations where I’ve felt patronized and have been seen as a “pesky millennial” because of my “overly sensitive way of life.” I understand there is difficulty in connecting with people who lead a different life or even comprehending there difference experiences others have; it’s one of the reasons I strive to learn about other people.

That being said, it’s important to not make a generalization about one group or another because of how you were raised or how you think people should be. Go back to your history class and see why that is a major problem. We, as humans, have done terrible things to each other because we lack to understand our fellow citizens. For example, I’ve been in rooms where an older generation has said, “In my day…” and proceeded to explain trans people didn’t exist, children were raised to respect authority, and teens moved out once they graduated from high school. This is where things start getting dangerous. No one wants to be put into a box. When we start doing this, all we do is cause pain, instead of finding ways to hear each other better.

The benefit of being able to look back is that we can see how we’ve handled issues in the past and learn from those mistakes in order to be more aware and prevent them moving forward. We are more aware of the issues people face every day.  Social media can be a hell-scape, to put it kindly, but it can also allow others to have a voice and connect with those who are willing to listen. I have a friend who is an ocean away and two decades older whom I would never have met if not for modern technology.

Time to melt

The best way I can explain to those who want to call me a snowflake is this: I don’t have to have cancer in order to help raise money for cancer research, I don’t have to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community in order to wear a pin with my pronouns and I don’t have to live with mental illness in order to encourage others to be open about their struggles.

Because guess what? Everyone has their struggles and it’s just a matter of figuring out if it will control you in silence or if you’ll fight it to help yourself and others. There is no “normal” way to be. If we’re being honest, I don’t know what normal means anymore. I read enough news to see the terrible things we do to each other for the sake of being powerful, I see the tragic stories of “normal” people spiraling because they struggle to keep up a persona and I regret taking so long to figure out that “normal” doesn’t truly exist.

In the words of the great Max Evans from the (cheesy, but well-loved by childhood me) television show, Roswell: “What’s so great about normal?”

Emily Ridener

A few words about me

There are quite a few mottos I like to sling around including but not limited to, “Life is short, eat the cupcake,” “What would Wednesday do?” and perhaps most importantly, “What’s so great about normal?” I don’t approve of people who put others down because society has taught us they are “less” and I choose to use my words to share truth, do no harm, and combat ignorance.