The Underground, ep. 7: on Being labeled as “Average”

Our guest writer today, Farishta Shahel. Dhaka, Bangladesh. September 2020.

I used to be a very confident kid in school- Now that I’ve brought up the topic of “the school”, I’m sure we all have a pretty common set of memories rushing back to us. That so-called best friend picking on you for your looks and the teachers deciding you’re not a “good enough a student” to be paid attention to. So taking all of that school experiences together, by 7th grade a part of me had comfortably settled down into the word that will repeatedly be used to describe me: Average.

Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah on

I have a very twisted relationship with the word, please allow me to explain. On one hand, when it comes to my looks or my body, i’m completely fine with being average (I say this now but ask me on days I’m having an existential crisis and you’re in for a whole different rant). I don’t need to be the prettiest girl in the room or the one with the perfect body as long as I am happy with it (I’m almost there). But the problem arises when it comes to my thoughts, my opinions, achievements or the life I want to build for myself. You know when we were kids and we had these wild dreams and wanted to achieve great things in life? I still want those but a part of me holds back thinking I’m too average for that. Not good enough, not smart enough. Definitely not smart enough.

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It took me a very long time to realize that these feelings came from years of people looking down on me, constantly telling me my voice didn’t matter for their own ego boost. It had nothing to do with my intellect or abilities but their own insecurities. Doesn’t mean I don’t overthink everything or go out of my way to prove myself. Doesn’t mean the constant fear of “What if I end up with an average life?” doesn’t scare the shit out of me but that’s definitely a work in progress.

And here’s the thing, what’s so wrong about being average anyway? And what do you mean by an average life? By greatness I never meant famous so who judges this greatness I’m aiming for? Myself. That’s the answer. And this is what I’m trying to convince myself, that I’m not average if I don’t think I am. As long as I am learning the things I want to learn and working on things I believe in, that’s me not being average anymore.

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About Guest

Farishta Shahel
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Content Rights: Notes From The Underground/The Underground Collective

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