Tyler Vendetti
June 21, 2013 4:00 pm

In a recent interview, Miley Cyrus made the stunning revelation that she supports the use of marijuana over alcohol. “I think alcohol is way more dangerous than marijuana,” she explained, “I’ve seen a lot of people spiral down with alcohol, but I’ve never seen that happen with weed… people can be mad at me for saying that, but I don’t care.” Why this is particularly “stunning,” I’m not exactly sure. Marijuana is (medically) legal in California and statistically, what Miley said is correct: alcohol is exponentially more dangerous compared to weed.

To be honest, I don’t really care. I’m more interested in her defense of marijuana, not her relationship to the drug itself. From the moment she accepted the lead role on Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus was cast into the spotlight as a role model for young women. Despite leaving the show in 2011, Cyrus has still been expected to maintain a certain reputation. And yet, when questioned about one of the country’s most debated topics, she defended her viewpoint, one which half the country might deem conventionally wrong.

This is one of the hardest things to learn in life, I think, to learn how to stand behind your beliefs in spite of what other people may say about it, and it’s something that I personally have had to deal with on multiple occasions. As an English major, I have the “Are you sure you don’t want to be a doctor or something…” conversation on a bi-weekly basis. Don’t I know that that won’t take me anywhere in life? Yes. Haven’t I considered other, more prudent options like Poli-Sci? Yes. Are you prepared to end up unemployed immediately after college? No, but according to the news, we’re all going to be unemployed after school anyway so it doesn’t really bother me as much as it should.

You reach a point in these conversations, whether it be about defending your choice of major or defending your music selection, where you stop caring what other people think. Getting there may require a few months of self-doubt (“maybe they’re right”), self-pity (“I can’t believe how wrong this decision was”), and self-loathing (“I hate myself for not making a different choice”), but once you’ve passed all of those phases, you emerge from the land of self-reflection into a green pasture completely deprived of those negative feelings everyone was balancing on your shoulders like sort of cruel Jenga game. You smell the fresh air and immediately realize that it’s not their life. They do not have to deal with the decisions that you will be making. They will not suffer the consequences or rewards of whatever you decide to do.

Try to think of it this way, if it’s not too depressing for you: every single person on this planet will eventually die. (Already too depressing? I’ve included a picture of a kitten below that you can glance at periodically throughout this paragraph if you need some adorable relief.) Someday, when you’re frail and hobbling around with a cane, you may have a heart attack and expire on the spot. By that time, it’s likely everyone that ever questioned your decisions has died too. In fact, eventually, humans will cease to exist as a species. Every newspaper, Internet article, Twitter status, etc. will be obliterated. Every record of our existence, of your existence, will be wiped out. So why does it matter what people say about you or what they tell you is wrong or right? That is a decision that is up to you because in the end, you’ll die with whatever choices you make, and they won’t, and eventually no one will know what choice that was because no one will be around to care.

What I’m trying to say, in probably way too many words, is that you are the only person who has to live with your choices. Miley Cyrus was absolutely in the right for admitting her stance on this issue and anyone that thinks otherwise has likely not entered the pasture of enlightenment (feeling so Zen right now, you guys). So go, go out on the town wearing striped pants and a polka-dotted turtleneck. Go major in “The Art of Fluffing Couch Cushions.” Go eat an Australian Kangaroo Burger at a PETA convention (also probably bring a suit of armor with you, for safety purposes). Make whatever choices you want to make and if you think it’s right, don’t listen to anyone else. In my case, that means re-watching old Hannah Montana episodes to bring this article full circle.

But before I go: have you ever made a choice or defended an opinion that everyone else disagreed with? How did you handle it?

Image via . Kitten picture via Good-Wallpapers.com.

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