I have always found myself to become irritated by the most mediocre things and also, by genuine issues that matter a great deal in our society. Some of the less important annoyances being along the lines of people rubbing their hands together, missing socks, getting into bed and forgetting to turn the light switch off, people eating crisps in the cinema, warm weather, not being able to hear the television over the noise of myself chewing, and the list is practically endless. On a more serious note, the subjects which serve to agitate me on an entirely new level include topics such as religion, war, recession, politics, etc. For that reason, I will base this essay around the serious motives that overwhelm me with fury and rage more so than my preoccupation with creased bed sheets and dusty table tops.
For as long as I can remember, homophobia has been a serious issue and an idea that I am outraged by. Particularly in Ireland with our abnormally religious dependent culture, disapproval of homosexuality is annoyingly and unfortunately a very common subject. For me, the word “homophobia” in itself is distressing. First of all, it is not a phobia. Those who claim to be homophobic are not fearful of gay people. You cannot possibly fear the love and emotion between two individuals. If you are apparently “homophobic”, it is not because you are frightened in the face of homosexuals, it is simply because you are a narrow-minded, selfish, and unpleasant human being. I cannot comprehend why these alleged “homophobes” are so preoccupied with the love that two people share together. If it does not involve you, why are you phased by it?
One thing I cannot and will not stand for is seeing two people be degraded for the life they chose to live. It torments me to imagine children around the world being dismissed and vulgarised by their parents and relatives for falling in love with someone who is of the same sex as they are. The debate surrounding “gay marriage” alone truly infuriates me. I see marriage as a personal decision to spend the rest of your life with the one you love. It should not be influenced or disallowed depending on the sex of the couple. The chance for two people to live together, in unity and in happiness until death do them part is a beautiful thing, so why not allow it to take place? What could “homophobes” possibly be afraid of anyway? The possibility of a homosexual couple adopting an orphan and raising it with just as much love and care as any pair of heterosexual lovers? I cannot help but become agitated by these prejudiced people who have the gall to mall and shape the way of life of two individuals simply because they are of the same gender.
A notion which genuinely abrades my nerves is the disapproval and demeaning of the interests held by another person. Since I was a child, I have often been one step ahead of the other kids my age in terms of finding new things to enjoy. I have always been one to find interest in the bizarre or allow my attraction to venture away from what was considered to be “the norm”. I have a tendency to warm to television programmes and films within the genre of science-fiction and fantasy, thus I involuntarily invite unnecessary labels such as “nerd” and “weirdo”. In school, I have caught sight of girls who take interest in playing PlayStation games on a Saturday evening be scorned by the girls who, each weekend, would prefer to dress very inappropriately before attending random house parties and drinking excessively.
The idea of another person being humiliated because they do not find happiness in the same thing as a majority of others is absolutely maddening for me. I cannot see the logic behind excluding another individual based on what makes them happy and what makes their day enjoyable. I constantly come across teenagers claiming that everyone should strive to be original yet it is this same group of adolescents who want to convert the outsiders to conformity and it sets me on edge. Whether we prefer to spend our weekends with our head in our books or going out with friends, we must learn to respect the ways of our neighbours, classmates, and colleagues. No matter what your interests are and how fantastic you perceive them to be, you do not possess the right to attempt to alter what another person admires.
When I was young and even now, my father always prompted me to dream big. But, as I grow older, I have noticed how society almost prohibits ambition and begs of the youth to stay within the boundaries it has selfishly drawn. This gnaws at my very soul. I believe that you should aim to fulfil your biggest dreams in spite of how impractical it is in relation to long-term income or how far-fetched the odds of succeeding may be. But, “No.” says Society as it paints you black with distaste and prompts the youth to follow the traditional road to success- a narrow route where academic failure is unacceptable, considering journeying on “the road less travelled by” is not a valid option, and the typical office-clerk is King. It’s basically their way or no way and I can’t bare it. I bet that if you were to stand before a class of Leaving Certificate students and ask the question “What do you want to be when you leave school?”, a majority would express hopes of becoming an accountant, a nurse, or a technician. Relatively safe options, wouldn’t you agree?
Yet, if you were to stand before the same class and ask “What would you do after school if money didn’t matter?”, more choices along the lines of a painter, a musician, an actor, and a writer would be common. The education system is slowly but surely leading the youth, myself included, to perceive our dreams as irrelevant because money and financial success are more important than pursuing the life you wish to live. So, when I sit in school and my teachers exclaim “This is your Leaving Cert. This is all you have at the end of the day.”, I can’t help but become enraged. My true belief is that as improbable as circumstances may seem, it is not impossible to be who/what you really desire to be.
That brings me on to another very topical matter at the moment and one that does not fail to provoke me at every possible opportunity. The Leaving Certificate. I could take the typical approach here and explain how I believe there is too much work to do and not enough time to do it but personally, this isn’t the case. Firstly, the education system is failing. We are not being educated anymore. The Leaving Certificate has become a test of memory and not intelligence. This method of testing is hyped up to be the factor which defines you for the rest of your life. What a sick, twisted, and false claim to bestow upon a teenager. I have my whole life ahead of me- an estimated sixty years left to live if I’m lucky but the education system is leading me to believe that those sixty years will be filled with failure, regret, and despair if I do not obtain the desirable amount of points when I receive my results in August.
Every weekend of this academic year, I have spent the majority of my days revising and working around a study timetable which is all in aid of something that doesn’t really have any meaning in the end. Some of the most established people on this Earth did not succeed academically and some didn’t even sit their final exams but they succeeded elsewhere nonetheless. Everyday I attend school only to be brainwashed into believing that the Leaving Certificate determines who I am. Out of all of the other planets, stars, and distant solar systems, the education system prompts me to perceive that seven unfair and badly designed tests are what really matter. Instead of being taught valuable information, I am being spoon fed unnecessary statistics and I am prompted to adapt to the idea that I must excel in the prescribed fields or my life will have no worth in the years to follow. It is such a corrupt method of evaluation.
What annoys me most of all is myself. My mannerisms, my way of treating people, my perfectionist attitude, my often introverted personality. I get angry about the fact that I cannot write light-heartedly, or about not being able to fly. After seventeen years in this life, I still cannot draw a symmetrical star and that bothers me to the extent where I don’t even want to draw stars anymore. I am also an ambitious individual. I set goals for myself, envision them in my mind, and trick myself into believing that fulfilling that goal is the only option and then, I procrastinate. Ambition and procrastination do not mix. I have wonderful dreams for the future and am enthusiastic about my life after school but I am not driven enough to put in the sufficient levels of work when they are needed and so I fall short of reaching my potential.
I often remain mute and observe my surroundings instead of joining in my friends’ conversations, leading them to think of me as ignorant and rude which is not the case at all. Like everybody does, I say I will do one thing and I do the opposite. I make promises to myself and I break them. I think of the relief of finishing my homework on time but then I don’t meet the deadlines. Sometimes, I become so troubled by myself that I don’t want to be around me anymore, so I watch television and that annoys me. There is nothing more irritating than the falseness of modern-day television.
All in all, I am an easily bothered girl often set off by the sight of someone wearing trousers that are too short, or by borrowing a sheet of paper from a friend in class only to discover that it does not have a ruled margin down the left-hand side.