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  • The Midnight Library written by Matt Haig
    By: Destiny Breniser   What if you had the chance to live another life instead of the one you are currently living? This story turns the idea of a multiverse on its head centered on what happens when you die.  This book was published in 2020 with its genre being science fiction. The place you go when […]
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It’s impossible to be a real nonconformist

Last week, I came to an all-too simple revelation that took me almost five years to achieve, when it should have only taken me but a few months: True individuality is nearly impossible to attain.

How do I know this to be true? I don’t. Other people’s definitions of true individuality may differ greatly from my own understanding of it. However, based on the things I’ve learned in the past five years, I can safely say that my conclusion makes sense when applied in the correct context.

For example: It’s impossible for me to be genuinely and wholly unique in any way, shape or form. If I do it, chances are that someone else has done it before, or has done something similar to it.

No matter how original or fresh a batch of my ideas may be, they are always, in one form or another, influenced by, based on or modeled after ideas created by other people.

And the way I dress, the things I eat, the things I believe and don’t believe and the way I act are not really exclusive to me. I’m not blazing new trails; I’m just subscribing to previously established lifestyles and such!

How would I possibly disguise such an action as originality? Well, to be honest, I could not.

Besides, with mass-consumerism as ubiquitous as it is in modern U.S. society, it’s terribly difficult to even go about trying to be a one-of-a-kind individual.

Why? Because almost every culture and counter-culture movement and its associated music, clothes, lifestyle and products are distributed in one way or another by mega corporations which mass-market such goods to the people who buy them.

Is it just me, or does that sound pretty inane to you too? Unfortunately, it’s true in a great deal of instances (but not all of them; I doubt that the NYC crust punkers do a lot of shopping at Hollister).

It’s pretty much impossible to be a true individual by strictly adhering to one lifestyle and its associated goods because many companies thrive on such activity.

In short, letting lifestyle politics dictate what I think, eat, wear, do, see and believe would not make me a distinctively unique person; it would turn me into a mindless mass consumption zombie!

However, I guess that one of the sources of sentiments of individuality is, put bluntly, human pride. We humans like to think we’re all hot stuff sometimes and this can lead to arrogance and some rather egotistical thinking. I have experienced this stuff firsthand; I’ve been through high school too, like everyone. I know what being a jerk feels like.

After experiencing the obligatory 13-year-old kid self-esteem crisis in eighth grade, I went through the obligatory period of self-fabricated heightened personal importance and individuality, otherwise known as high school.

During this time, my self-esteem skyrocketed back to normal standards (and beyond) while I began to think of myself as a one-of-a-kind nonconformist amongst a sea of mindless, materialistic, popularity-concerned, teenage morons.

I thought I was unique because I wore combat boots with punk rock duds to class and because I was the only kid not on the football team to have a mohawk.

Did that make me unique? No, but it did make me the only kid in my school who would wear jungle boots and ugly suit jackets on a regular basis.

Did my habitual goofiness make me a unique person? Not really. As far as I know, there are plenty of dopey goofballs like myself out there.

Did my mainstream culture-eschewing tendencies make me unique? Of course not! Why? Because I would follow counter-culture just as fervently as I was hating supposedly mainstream culture.

Either way, it’s conforming and adapting to the rules and values of another culture, and individuality is not about conformity; it’s practically the polar opposite of conformity.

Looking back on my just-expired freshman year here at the University, college has proven to be a huge eye-opener for me in terms of the issue at hand. It was easy for me to think of myself as edgy back in high school, but when I see people here in BG with neck tattoos, leopard-print boots, padlock earrings and party-hard personalities, I realize just how ” wholesome ” I truly am on the inside. I’m a boy scout, for Charles Bronson’s sake (no, seriously; I AM a boy scout).

In short, real individuality is difficult to achieve. Besides, if it was easy to be unique in the first place, we would all be born with bizarre genetic mutations and superpowers.

I would be a flying grizzly bear wearing an exoskeleton who could shoot shuriken from his paws.

And lasers, too. Can’t do it justice without the lasers.

I can dream, can’t I?

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