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An essay about the human struggle to belong.
[560 words]
Matt Laubenstein
I'm a 16 year old guy, and I write all the time.
[March 2001]
Creed: A Tribute (Essays) This is an article about the famous band Creed that has sold millions of records. [779 words]
The Price Of Freedom (Essays) An essay on what the price of freedom is to people around the world and what freedom really means. [1,029 words] [Psychology]
Matt Laubenstein

Belonging. It is the universal struggle that will continue for all of time. It is the basis of practically ever teenager's thought process in some way or another, and can be an affective antidote for change as well as a destructive force that can cause an unimaginal amount of pain. Why is it such a big deal? It is a much more simple answer than the sollution will ever be. To me it is just that most everyone wants love and affection in some way. Everyone wants to be cared about by somebody they love, and nobody wants to have a feeling of loneliness in their heart. This is all very basic knowledge that when you get right down to it, pretty much everyone will admit to having these feeling. That still doesn't explain the reason we all go to great lenths to belong in one way or another. Belonging is the reason for fancy clothes, for plastic surgery, for lavish spendings of all sorts. Everyone wants to be popular as well, and that gets back to belonging. If the human race could simply smarten up and realize that belonging doesn't mean doing everything you can to become popular, this would be a better world. It all boils down to priority in most cases. Do you favor being popular and being able to get all the girls or guys you want, or do you just want to have close friends you can share the most intiment secrets with and spend all of your time with those people. Do you want to spend all of your money on things to impress and get you somewhere, or do you want to be modest and only spend what you need and not care what everyone thinks about you. Also, many diseases stem from this need to belong, to fit in. Anorexia and bulemia being two of the most recognized. Girls as a whole care more about their looks than guys, and they go to great lengths, including their self destruction to make themselves into this image of what they should be in their mind.
So, if belonging wasn't as emphysized as it is in our society, would everything be better? No, of course not. That would be such a nieve notion, but yet makes some sense all at the same time. Less self destruction, less lavish spending, less of everything we think of as a necessity, but really dont need at all when you get right down to it.
Once again, priorities. Thats what so much of it is about. Those who don't go to great lengths to fit our snobish view of beauty, are cast out of social groups. If your not beautiful enough, or well dressed enough, you dont deserve to be apart of something you want to be. This is the sad truth of our world. It has gone on for hundreds of years, if not more, and will continue for as long as the sun shines.
Am I suggesting we stop this? That would be nice even though I fall into the category that spends all the money on looks. The problem is that its impossible. If only some control was taken and Earth was a more friendly place, everyone would be better off. Even those who sport AF and every other designer brand of merchandise.



"Hey there Matt, I don't envy the current position your story is in right now since it directly borders that of The Fate Winds. The Guardian has a nasty tendency to invade the stories that border his own, I know this from experience. Anyhow if the ordering isn't moved and soon don't say I didn't warn you if you suddenly find yourself getting sucked through your computer into the land of The Fate Winds, just like three of the other authors around here." -- EC Allen.
"You are quite correct Allen, but invading the psycho-babble which is printed here would be a waste of my time. I need a "story" with a plot, action, and some meat to it, for it to be worthwhile for me to invade, take-over, and consume the souls of the characters within as well as the soul of the writer, just as I did with Hi Light, and her poem about rainbows and friends." -- Guardian.
"If I told you once, I told you a thousand times, no swallowing souls before dinner." -- Tyna Aberdeen.
"This essay doesn't seem to have a purpose, it sounds more like you are shunning people for wanting to belong. This essay is also not very organized and it was quite hard for me to follow. Your conclusion was strong except for the last sentence, I don't understand what you were trying to say there." -- jenn, Chi, IL.
"Very cynical, but also a-matter-of-fact. I see your description said 16yr old who writes a lot. By your essay it shows you think a lot as well. The content shows promise, but you seem to have misjudged your point, because I couldn't find it. As an essay it is solely your duty to express your viewpoint as best you can, and your line of: "If your not beautiful enough, or well dressed enough, you dont deserve to be apart of something you want to be. This is the sad truth of our world" defiles the purpose of your piece, because you have a duty as a writer to envoke empathy, and forced statements such as the abovementioned just doesn't cut it" -- Guyver.
"This essay has two major problems. First, it is quite unoriginal. The need for acceptance and especially among young people, peer pressure, are topics which have been expounded upon by psychologists and behavioral experts in all generations. You have said nothing new nor have you enlightened anyone by re-hashing these concepts. Secondly, You show signs of some knowledge of composition but you've made numerous spelling mistakes and/or typos and got careless with other clumsy grammar and punctuation errors. This essay is only 560 words yet there are SEVEN spelling mistakes and several punctuation omissions. If this were an English composition, you would get an "F" most assuredly. You say you write all the time. One cardinal rule you better learn is this: Before you mail, fax, or post something you've written to anyone, review your work and edit it. Do you think you would be contacted for a job interview if the resume you emailed had seven spelling mistakes and other blips? " -- Richard.


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© 2001 Matt Laubenstein
March 2001

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