Required context: The Stanford Marshmallow Prison Experiment.
People should appreciate just how radical "you're amazing and special, just the way you are" is. Acceptance from others, and self-acceptance. These are strange times, and we all want to navigate them well. But it's not a contest, there's no ranking, there's no persistence of success, and it's fundamentally a cooperative task.
I think America has been anxious for a long time. Maybe much longer than my entire life – when I see the grunge aesthetic, I see the culture created when people are exhausted by these issues. So much of the irony and detachment and Fight Club-esque rejection of society is a first-draft attempt at coming to terms with a society where this is inescapable, placing the rise of these problems somewhere around 1970?
I don't think it's a coincidence that this is when America started getting physically sick from the way we are treating ourselves:
I'm not out here judging and testing people, even if I did, I'm sure you'd do great, and if not by my metric, by some other community's. You don't need to do much more than try to be kind – and even that doesn't seem to be required by some groups, odd as it may sound. Whatever is important to you is important to others, and they'll likely appreciate your aesthetic, even if no one else can.
But acceptance is a strange target. It ought to be easy, but we're not satisfied inside ourselves, so how would we even integrate the acceptance of others?
Building a healthy community is one where people are sheparded into being their best self, and always accepted. It used to be exile was the worst punishment people could imagine, short of enslavery or death, but it seems we've invented a default-exile society. I didn't grow up in a community, so how could I be pushed out?
All I can say is, I won't ever push anyone out of that circle of trust. The internet is a strange place, but I'd like to invite you into my circle, if that's a place you'd like to be.