Sunday, November 28, 2010

Individualism and Being Yourself

Sometimes I think we all try too hard to be individual. Everyone feels the need to stand out, make a statement, or somehow differ from the general population, and I think it's addictive. This is the reason we have hipsters. Individualism to the extreme, so extreme as to be competitive. Who can be the most individually outrageous?

But at the same time, the search for individualism makes us all blend in. We try to be individual by becoming like others. You become identifiable in your individualism. This is why you can recognize a hipster, someone preppy, or a wannabe gangster when you see them on the street. They've tried to proclaim who they are by the way they dress, but they really end up mimicking someone else. Is there really such a thing as being individual? Sure, you can grow a mohawk and dye it blue, but then you'll probably be labeled as a punk. If you wear skinny jeans, suspenders, and a pudding bowl haircut, you're a hipster. If you wear jeans and a leather fringe jacket, you're a cowboy or a hippie, depending on how skinny your jeans are. Instant labeling.

The whole individualism thing confuses me sometimes. For example, I wear a black leather jacket and red Doc Martens. I got both of them so I could look different. It worked, but now I feel like when people look at me they see only the props and think "punk" or "skinhead", of which I am neither. Similarly, when I wear leggings, Converse, and a long sweater, people think "hipster" or "wannabe", of which I am neither. I'm kind of a mix of a lot of things, and I know what I like to wear. I mimic other people's styles, but because I like what they're wearing, not because of what kind of a person they are (most of the time).

When people get to know me, I 'd like to think they get past all the props (specifically the boots), but most of the time I think there's a subtle judgment going on. I've become known as the girl with the boots and the dyed hair (last year it was red- I'm really brunette). Or the girl with the horses. Or the girl who knits. Or the weird one. The one with the tye-dyed jeans. The artsy one. The quiet one. The one who's a little off. All of these things are me, but they're not me entirely. I'm an individual, but at the same time I can't really say that if I'm labeling others and others are labeling me. Going around in circles is no fun (unless you're in a boat).

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