Stepford City Nearly Killed Me.


We are treated as a perfect little miracle when we are born.

10 little fingers and 10 little toes are enough to render us magnificent in the eyes of the world. It’s ironic, then, that later in life we are informed through various means that we need to change ourselves and fit into a mold if we’re ever going to amount to anything.

This conditioning begins as soon as we start to show a personality.

Parenting books say we’re supposed to sleep like this and eat like that, and roll over and crawl at specific stages. We’re weighed and measured, our parents worried that we’ll be found wanting (and gifting that worry to us as we grow). As the years go by, we get prepared for standardized tests, normalized projects, and conventional jobs.

We are conditioned into a one-size-fits-all way of doing things. Graduate high school, go to college, get married, buy a house, have kids, send them to college, and retire to bingo and rocking chairs.

We’ve been given a perfect blueprint of our lives; all we need to do is just follow through. This is what everyone else does, so why rock the boat by doing it differently?

But one must wonder: if this blueprint is so perfect, why are there so many people who are depressed and ‘lost’ within their lives?

That was me.

I was doing everything right.

I was succeeding.

Thriving, even, by their standards.

But I was desperately unfulfilled.

To make matters worse, society is obsessed with finding failure in these individuals, rather than in the blueprint.

Elders ask why we can’t just find our footing instead of changing careers every few years.

Schools question why students don’t produce quality work anymore.

Bosses wonder why their employees are unmotivated and unproductive.

Everywhere we turn, experts and amateurs alike are tossing around a veritable buffet of potential reasons behind this lack of passion and dedication. But the answer is so simple that it’s a pity to say it out loud: our world has become a collection of Stepford Cities where we are cultured and prepared to be automatons.

And if we should step out of line? We are duly reprimanded — grounded, sent to the office, written up, or shunned.

But life isn’t meant to be lived Stepford-style: we can never live up to such mindless ‘perfection,’ because we are ‘so much more’ than that.

When I was following the blueprint years ago, I was also pursuing the Stepford Ideal, and — on the outside — I had it all! I was a Type A overachiever, excelling in school and at work. I strategically ticked off this invisible list of things I had to do and have so that I could be considered an ideal member of society. I made more money than I could spend.

I broke all records in my circle: the youngest X; the only X to achieve X; the first X to do X.

But in the midst of all these accomplishments, I was bored to death, no longer able to find that spark of excitement and ambition.

It took a suicidal thought for me to wake up and realize my life couldn’t go on this way, squeezing into the Stepford mold. I didn’t fit; I couldn’t breathe; I was lost. I was already dying — slowly, bit by bit — so it was apparent that something needed to change. I had to remember who I was before I jumped on the train out of Stepford City, and it was a long journey back home.

Back home to Me.

It took some time, but I did it: I remembered.

I peeled away the belief systems that society had layered over the real me.

I stepped out of the mold and stretched — my arms reached and my lungs filled.

And I came back to who I was all along: Me.

I’ve since diverted my focus from material pursuits to spiritual pursuits.

I now serve my world through encouraging and supporting others who are headed back home to themselves. I hold space for the ones who simply want to live as their most authentic expression. I help them navigate and deflect the relentless efforts of outside influences to replace our true identity with a perfectly put-together persona.

The unique individual in us will always rebel against the blueprint and make itself known.

We will start realizing that there is no substitute for self-actualization and fulfillment.

We will slowly recognize that there is a void inside us which continuously widens as the Self demands acknowledgment.

And we will probe into the million-dollar question: “Who am I, and what do I want?”

This voice that shouts from our soul makes us want to either confront it or hide from it.

But we can never truly hide from ourselves. We can only stick our heads in the sand until we are ready to confront the uncomfortable. Some quit jobs, pack up, go backpacking, travel. Some hire coaches, go back to their roots, take a break from the hustle and bustle.

Ultimately, we have to unlearn everything we’ve been taught about happiness and success.

We will understand then that, had we anchored more deeply into our unique gifts and vigorously pursued them, we wouldn’t have reached a state where a nervous breakdown was just around the corner. You see, in Stepford City, stress is just the status quo, and overload and overwhelm are commendable. It’s all about the do more, have more, be more.

But society has really gotten it all backward.

We don’t need to do, have, or achieve more in order to be somebody.

We need to be ourselves if we want to do, have, and achieve more!

This is how we set down roots.

This is how we regain our motivation.

This is how we find work that we want to excel in.

This is our ticket out of Stepford City.

All aboard?


A transformation catalyst, Maria Kathlyn Tan (aka Miracle Maria) shakes grounds wherever she goes with her uncanny ability to speak her truth and tap into her intuition. She’s been relentless in advocating for self-sourcing to create miracles in life and business, and is hosting Master Classes, Group Programs, and 1:1 VIP Programs all year round. Today, she has found a way to integrate all of what she is into being a transformation catalyst, holding space for individuals in their evolution and helping them make miracles in their life and business. You can connect with her on Facebook or via her website.


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