What we see is not always true. In this essay I’ll portray how everyone has their own story even if we all put on the same masks, in order to appear as if we have it all figured out.

First off, I used to be the quiet one and I adored this group of teenagers who seemed to be on top of the world and all. They’d post pictures of themselves eating at fancy restaurants, going to cool parties, using iPhones, riding motor bikes and all and I would think to myself was “Wow if I could only be friends with them.” Their lives looked so lavish on social media and in person too. Everything about them looked so clean and cool. All I could think of was that those teenagers must have been rich.

Then, due to family financial issues, I had to go to a cheaper school, which was a Christian school. It was okay with me since all I wanted was to finish my Form 4. It was my first day of school and every Wednesday the students and staff had prayers in the chapel. I sat quietly near to a window waiting for the service to start since I was new. There was none much to do than to watch the other students share stories.

In the middle of the service, I saw one of the teenagers whom I thought highly of come in the chapel wearing the school uniform. Was I surprised? Very much so! After the service, I went to my class and noticed that another one from the group was in the same class as me. I had many questions in my head, and soon they were answered.

I later learnt that the so-called ‘cool kids’ weren’t as cool as I thought they were. Being in the same school with the two girls got me closer to the group and I discovered some were drop-outs who couldn’t even read or write. They just spoke good English to cover it all. Some of them had to go to Mozambique to buy bikes and sometimes struggled to sell them. Sometimes the bikes were illegal and the police would get involved, and some didn’t have families. The two at my school also had their own stories and yes they didn’t turn out as I expected. That kind of opened up my eyes, like a wakeup call, to focus on myself.

Therefore, this was my ‘aha’ moment because I realised that I shouldn’t get side tracked by the lifestyle that people portray in public because I have no idea what they do to get what they have. So yes, what glitters isn’t always gold. The thing about us humans is that we have a habit of comparing our lives to other people’s, which also leads to insecurity in some cases. I realise that everyone has their own story.


Tell us: Why is it wrong for people to compare their lives to other people’s lifestyles?