Sonia Hadj Said
If you could ever meet Hannah Horvath for an interview, she would probably show up late, wearing unflattering clothes while ordering the biggest dish from the menu. If you were meeting Hannah Horvath for an interview and did your research well, you would also probably pick a simple coffee shop with max three beverage choices. Unfortunately, you won’t be meeting her because Hannah is gone. Well, one could argue if a fictional character from a tv show could ever be alive in the first place, but look at the change this ‘Girls’ protagonist made in our world and you might be tempted to read her biography – if there ever was one.
Haven’t we all started pretending not to need happiness when it seems so unattainable in a messy world of social media and virtual acceptance?
Born on 15 of April 2012 as a twenty-something New Yorker in the HBO series created by Lena Dunham, Hannah Horvath is equally loved and despised by her fellow millennials. Some perceive her as self-important, ignorant and privileged, while to others this overweight and over-sincere personality is a symbol of millennials and their struggles. Her life is a never-ending and badly planned trip to adulthood – a destination that seems to be so unreachable, it might be a legend. If this is not what entire generation Y is going through, someone is lying. “Please don’t tell anyone this, but I want to be happy,” Hannah states boldly. Because haven’t we all started pretending not to need happiness when it seems so unattainable in a messy world of social media and virtual acceptance? This is why Hannah has as many followers as haters – she just loves to spit the truth in your face.
Hannah is an aspiring writer who thinks she is “the voice of her generation.” She is also cut off from her parents’ money as it’s time for her to get an actual job that pays for things that matter. Her response to parents is: “I could be a drug addict. Do you realise how lucky you are?” which I swear I thought and said multiple times in my twenties when faced with a harsh reality where you need to start treating your life purpose as a hobby and accept the fact that these things take time. Meanwhile, rent must be paid, but not by your parents.
She will go on optimistically, telling her boss at the publishing house where she’s been interning for a year: “My circumstances have changed and I can no longer afford to work for free.” Sounds sweet and professional. But as her boss and everyone else’s boss will explain, there are 50 other people dying to do it instead so when you get really hungry, you will find the way. Usually straight out from an office to a coffee shop, learning about different kinds of coffee beans just when you thought useless information was done with you forever.
But why is Hannah’s honesty and straightforward nature so controversial if it’s only supposed to mirror our own lives as we navigate through the messy twenties? One could think that the truth hurts or this isn’t the truth at all. Surely, we don’t walk around the house naked if we don’t look like models. We’re not selfish a bit. We are good, understanding friends. Always on time, pursuing our career. Or maybe in reality “It’s like everyone’s so busy chasing success and defining themselves they can’t even experience pleasure.” Hannah doesn’t give us any space for reflection or defence. She suffocates with nude body and nude thoughts – unapologetic each step of the way while trying to handle relationships and family.
The journey she takes as a millennial woman is one of acceptance and understanding that we are grown up at some point even if we don’t act like it. “You know when you’re young and you drop a glass, and your dad says, like, ‘Get out of the way!’ so you can be safe while he cleans it up? Well, now, no one really cares if I clean it up myself. No one really cares if I get cut with glass. If I break something, no one says, ‘Let me take care of that,’ you know?”
Everything you might be afraid of in your life as a millennial is there
Everyone knows. You know it working for free. You know it when you have to go for a part-time job even though you just know you “have three or four really great folk albums” in you. You know you just want love, but are not ready for all the pain, heartache and disappointment. As Hannah would say: “I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time and thinks I’m the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me.”
That self-acceptance of every little doubt and feeling is proof that she might be the best portrayal of a millennial woman yet. It’s almost like asking everyone to stop fighting and to embrace our faults and imperfections. Hannah goes through everything we’re afraid of, for us. A mental illness, drug usage for ‘an experience’ to get published in a magazine, STDs, break-ups, money problems, bad jobs, good jobs that make us feel like we sold our soul to the devil. Everything you might be afraid of in your life as a millennial is there. And if you don’t want to say it, she will do that for you as well: “I’m scared, okay? I’m really scared all the time.”
Hannah Horvath decided to cut us off on 16 April 2017 after a long lecture on what it meant to be a millennial and how to embrace it. So go ahead, make notes. And next time someone is trying to push you into the millennial game of pretending just say: “You know what? I don’t want to do it. And it’s really liberating to say no to shit you hate. So you go ahead – you live your truth; I’ll be here, living my truth.” And honestly, it doesn’t matter if she is talking about hiking and you’re making one of the biggest decisions in your life – just know that there are plenty of millennials struggling with something and they have someone very real to be inspired by.
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