Dear Alexis, I'm not sorry.
By now, there is a chance you have seen the viral YouTube video that has all generations backed into their designated corners. The video titled, “Dear Elders, I’m sorry,” is of twenty something, Alexis Bloomer, apologizing on behalf of the entire millennial generation.
As I hit play, I was in high hopes that I would be sitting at my computer thinking PREACH GIRL but by the end of the video I had the exact opposite reaction and was shaking my head in disagreement. Truth is, I originally blew the video off as just another generalized rant splashed across social media and went about my day but when scrolling through twitter last night I fell upon her FOX News interview and nearly fell off my couch with the realization that this video had gained national attention. Like rapid fire I headed back to YouTube and watched the video again while simultaneously jotting down notes like a mad man. Although intrigued by her views I wasn't, as a millennial, going to walk away waving a white flag.
During Alexis's rant there are 4 specific topics that stood out to me. I wanted to take the time to express a different insight into each of them.
Social Media: Alexis was quick to hit the subject of millennials and our BFF - social media. She throws us to the wolves by suggesting that all we care about in life is how many likes a picture gets. Now before we go any further – keep in mind that Alexis publicly posted a video on, arguably, the largest social media platform to date. Let’s stop and think about that for a quick second. Could there be AMO behind this video to jumpstart her TV journalism career? Possibly. (Side note: smart move girl, touche) Could she have shot this video with fresh lipstick on a whim in hopes to ‘change’ our generation from self destruction? Possibly.
Social media, for better or worse, is where millennials have the opportunity to build a platform and potentially reach the minds, hearts and souls of people around the world. Can those in theirs 40s relate to posting every move, outfit or mood of the day on Instagram? Hell no. I hate to be a jerk but it isn’t their position too. Whether social media is “right” or “wrong” is a dead end argument. It is a tool that is vastly taking over business and brand relationships and if you choose to ridicule it than by all means do so but don't shame us because of it.
People We Idolize: Look I get it, we should spend more time reading the news than tracking Kim Kardashians post baby weight but where is the fun in that? KIDDING. I will stand by Alexis’s side that those we raise on a pedestal today is pretty twisted but who are we to tell our peers who they should / should not look up to. I guarantee you that my dad idolized someone that made my grandfathers eyes roll into the back of his head.
Alexis makes a comment on how the lyrics we listen to glorify the use of drugs and degrades women. No disagreement there however let's please not act like this is the first time the world has heard provocative music. I am well aware that the music blasting through our speakers is in fact raunchy, nonetheless, I will not apologize for playing Fetty Wap with my windows down on the way to the farmers market. If that is offensive to you then please write me a ticket and I’ll make sure to file it under all the other things people are so easily offended by today.
Manners: Let me start off by saying that it is of utter importance to examine your surroundings and understand the respect that is expected within a particular space.
I spent 4 years of my life living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama while attending college - ROLL TIDE! Before even settling into my Freshman year dorm I learned very quickly that “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” were expected to roll off my tongue. I was immersed in an extremely Southern culture that would not stand for anything but their form of respect and kindness.
Fast forward years later and here I am living in Los Angeles, California. I have never once heard someone say “Thank you ma’am” after placing their juice order. Is that viewed as disrespectful? I would venture to say, no. I wouldn’t be surprised if a women in LA was caught off guard by her man attempting to open the car door for her. It probably would become a laughable moment - boy I can do this myself #IndependentWoman. Reverse back to Alabama and I vividly remember my sorority sisters knocking their dates for not opening the door for them. Point being, if we do not address our elders with "yes sir" and "no sir" that does not by any means translate into us not having instilled manners. In fact, it may simply mean that we were raised in a different culture or region so please do not confuse the two.
Entitlement: OF COURSE there are going to be those that walk around with their heads held so high that they literally believe their sh!t smells like fresh cut roses. Do those people suck? Yes. Were they raised that way? I don't know, talk to their parents. Are they a product of today’s society? That's also a possibility. Want to know something real? This world will always be full of ‘those’ humans. Whether it be 1916 ,2016 or 3016 I would bet my bottom dollar that there will always be a sense of entitlement flowing through someone’s veins.
During my 6th grade dance recital I didn’t ask for a participation trophy but I did happily accept it in front of an audience with a big Chelsea smile on my face. Did my parents stand up and clap and take 50 pictures of me prancing across the stage in my tutu? Of course they did. So, where do we point fingers? At us, the participants, who grew up being handed the blue ribbon? Or do we point the finger at the ones handing it to us?
I was born in 1989 and I will not apologize for being brought up in a world where I didn’t have to walk 15 miles through the snow to the grocery store after working in a sweat shop for 10 hours. Does that make me entitled? No, no it does not. Do I know many millennials who hustle every single day of the year? I am proud to say that I do. On the flip side, do I know twenty-somethings that swipe their daddies credit card and couldn’t wrap their brain around having a J-O-B? Yes, I know that ‘kind’ too.
Whether you like it or not this mixed salad of people makes the world go around and who are YOU to define hard work vs. laziness?
The sky will always be a darker shade of blue to some people, always. Call me Beyonce #Lemonade crazy but millennials are not the ones to blame for all of the worlds problems. Do we contribute? Hell yeah, we do. We, like those of past generations, are not perfect human beings. We mess up and if we could put our phones down for .2 seconds there’s a possibility we would see the world through different eyes. However, do not point fingers unless yours are clear.
To Alexis: I applaud you for speaking your mind and wish you the best of luck with your career. Remember, aim for the stars and if you miss well, at least you'll have a participation ribbon to show for it. I am in hopes that next time you are quick to criticize that you do so clearly. There are over 80 million Millennials in the US today and every single one of us has been dealt a different set of cards. So please, don't throw all us together in one pan to grill.
To my fellows millennials: it couldn’t hurt to open our eyes to the points made in this viral video. Whether you agree or not - do yourself a favor and take the time to think about it. Make it a point to learn something new every day. Take a moment to be grateful and realize how fragile life is. Evaluate your decisions and always think before speaking.
To my elders: if I or anyone with the tag “Gen Y” has ever personally offended you – I’m sorry. We are following in your footsteps and if you took a moment out of your day to realize that the path laid in front of us is quite different from the one that was laid in front of you then you may begin to understand why our legs get wobbly. We may never see eye to eye but guess what? That's ok, it really is. Plus, could you imagine how weird and calm the world would be if generations across the board saw eye to eye with each other? ;)
This post is written by me, Chelsea Briche, a 26 year-old woman becoming who was raised by an upper middle class family. These words are coming from a millennial who bust her ass to make a difference for her generation and to conquer her wildest dreams. These words flowed from the fingertips of someone who will not support being categorized as lazy, disrespectful, or “just existing.”