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How Being Different Can Make You A Nihilist

Most people have a point where they start to realize their place in the world. They’ve learned how far they’re likely to go in life, where they actually want to go, and most importantly, they’ve learned that it’s ultimately not all that useful to compare their life trajectory to others’. Especially others who aren’t anything like them.

Everyone’s different inside. Much more than we can see. But some people are fundamentally set apart. Autistics are different by default. But I think that makes us underestimate just how many other people feel alienated from the unsubtle social paradigm of marriage/mortgage/monogamy/9-to-5 industrial complex. (Half of me thinks I’m too creative for that life. The other half uses that as a defense mechanism because I know it would probably be too hard for me anyway.)

Ultimately I don’t think it matters so much whether or not you chose to be this way. If you’re different, you feel it. That’s all that counts.

Society is at least somewhat responsible for its dropouts. It used to be anyway. If you count out the obvious rogues, there was always a church or some farm work available or somebody’s basement for us weird people to sit in. People used to be more communal. Now we’re pretty much on our own.

Social rules are still so rigid. It’s sad, because we don’t even have the benefits of those tight-knit communities we were supposed to conform for anymore. Like hell no, you can’t wear that to work! Still smoke weed? You’re immature. Abstract conversations fade away pretty quickly after college. Practicality takes over. There’s something decadent about sitting in the park and talking about God after 25 that’s just supposed to make us feel guilty. Don’t you talk about the what-ifs of life anymore, babe. You know how things are.

God, if regular people are alienated from this regimented lack of hope, how are we supposed to feel? I’m pretty sure we can be forgiven for not caring that much about the world since it’s systematically failed to care about us.

Problem is: where does that leave us? That’s the point of empathy. We’re designed to feel like we’re part of the world so we’ll have the best incentive to take care of it for future generations. I’m just not feeling that. I love my parents and my boyfriend. But on a wider scale I don’t care that much what happens to the world after I’m gone.

It’s so easy to get into nihilism. It’s so easy to say NOTHING MATTERS and to descend into an abyss of alcoholism and lethargy and death. Trust me. I’ve seen people do it. It takes a lot more strength to just shut the world the fuck out and do what you want. To find people like you.

I know it’s hard. I’m still struggling. I know I’m always going to struggle with being different. But if you’re really not a fan of the matrix, are you going to let it win?


*Nietzche from Wikipedia.

How Being Different Can Make You A Nihilist

Gwendolyn Kansen

Gwen Kansen is a mental health writer in New York. She likes food, karaoke, and smart-but-campy books & TV. She's hoping to capture a little sliver of life on here that might not be the first thing you'd see.

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APA Reference
Kansen, G. (2016). How Being Different Can Make You A Nihilist. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Jul 2016
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