Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Alienation


One of the paradoxes of life is the desire to fit in yet at the same time be different. This internal struggle seems to be at its height when we are teenagers. We experiment with extremes under the pretext of expressing our individualism, yet we do so to get attention and be accepted.

Part of the irony of the struggle to be an individual is that it so often fosters fads that are embraced by the masses. Hair length, hair color, piercings, tattoos, baggy clothing, tight clothing, black clothing, torn clothing and old clothing all have been popular ways of expressing how different and the same we are.

Generally, whatever annoys us as adults is adopted by the younger generation. And what we adopted that annoyed our parents is scoffed at by our children. It is a cycle that repeats itself over and over, yet none of use seem to be aware of it when were are swept up in it. This explains why we allowed things like disco to cloud our judgement in the 70s.

I've come to the conclusion that more often than not, marching to the beat of a different drummer just means you don't have any rhythm. If we truly want to be different, we have to stop being the same. And not being the same requires either courage or the ability to be oblivious. You also have to enjoy being alone. Because unless you are different in the same way as other people, no one really wants to hang with you.

How do we resolve the paradox? I think the answer is a cliche: just be yourself. If you truly are unique, you can't hide it. And if you aren't, no one will notice you anyway.

Not really much comfort, is it?

11 comments:

Lights in the wake said...

I've always wanted to be different like everyone else but I could never get the hang of it. But, you know, being the same isn't so bad, at least no one else is doing it.

Tim ID said...

Lights,
Same old, same old.

Miss Bliss said...

I have always been different, but no one has ever noticed. I recall talking to someone I went to high school with and we got on the topic of race and he confessed that he had never thought of me as Mexican. In fact, he didn't even realize I was non-white...I just seemed to blend in and the odd thing was that my school was probably about 95% white. I believe I went to school with two black kids and then there was me. This particular guy friend seemed to think it was because I was a cheerleader that my being different was not an issue (so to speak)...he said something like, "The popular girls could be whatever they wanted to be." Odd.

Being different can oftentimes not be as noticeable as we think. I do remember that when I was younger and I tried to conform I seemed to disappear, so being that my true nature was to be noticed, I just did what came naturally.

I loved this blog post....it really got me thinking and since it's only 9:39am EST and I have had no coffee - you are really challenging that blob I call a brain.

Anonymous said...

Thought provoking indeed. I always wanted to fit in so that I blended in. I didn't want to be noticed. I wanted to be left alone. Well, other than the ocassional tease or insult, they left me alone.

Being alone got lonely.

Now I seem to have two personalities. There is the unique person who celebrates my differences by exagerating them and putting them on display (say... in a blog perhaps). But, that person still likes to be alone ocassionally and will pull back to a place of quite solitude. This person takes care of my emotional needs. Then there's the person that fits in and gets along and conforms. That person gets a check in the mail every two weeks.

Tim ID said...

Miss Bliss, When Picasso was asked to design camoflage uniforms for Spain's paratroopers, he said, "Dress them like harlequins." Nothing makes us blend in like standing out.

Shandi,
Good points. It is the check that comes ever other week that keeps me in check as well.

Miss Bliss said...

Shandi always has the best responses to your blog posts. She is honest and knows herself better than most people. I think that makes her unique, not different. We all strive to be unique. Some are just better than others.

Anonymous said...

Awwwww how incredibly kind of Miss Bliss to say. Yes, I know myself very well... well enough to know that most people think I'm weird, not unique.

"Unique" is a one of kind, hand-made work of art that you come across in a pawn shop. The owner doesn't know what he has and you manage to buy the piece at a great price. You show it off to all your friends.

"Weird"... now that's something a crack addict made with a soldering iron in his garage while he was high.

Miss Bliss said...

Can I bid on that crack addict's piece of art? Oh wait, this isn't eBay....sorry, wrong website.

R. said...

Indulging in one's differences and being alone too long is... painful.

Hayden said...

it seems to me that the fad thing - being different so that you can be just the same - has a tribal component. It does separate you from many people - your parents, people who follow other trends - but more importantly it enables you to easily find other people who are like you. There are typically multiple trends happening at any one time, and different groups following them. We tend to see only one because we are dissing the others.

so the differentiation serves to bring together people who think alike....

maybe?

Tim ID said...

HELLO...Hey, Miss Bliss...Shandi...whose blog is this anyway? I need to be the center of attention here.

R. True. And I think indulgence is the operative word.

Hayden, Good point. I didn't even touch on the clique factor. In high school it was the freaks, the geeks and the jocks.