This is a RANT and also a pep talk for myself (and maybe for you too?).
I know I talk a lot about “standing out” and just being different and making different decisions than the people around me make. But sometimes it makes me feel so isolated. It drives me up and down with feelings of “I’m different, it’s good” and “I’m different, I wish I could just fit in.”
The right people will always tell me that it’s great being different and will use analogies (comparing me to the stars? a fingerprint? a rock?) and for a second I lift my chin up and I feel, “HAHA YES THIS IS GREAT I AM A ROCK!” and then I easily turn back into wishing I was manufactured.
It’s so weird how it just chases people away. I’m not [that] mean, I’m not dishonest, or crude. Being with a group of people who are so alike makes me feel that awful third wheel feeling that I get when I’m around a couple (“stop talking about things I don’t know a clue about and wasn’t there for!” “stop kissing in front of me!”).
Sometimes I wonder, “what’s it like to not be different?” and it is kind of egocentric because of course everyone is different, so to be more specific: “What’s it like to be a part of something?” Do people who have a group of friends they resonate with ever wish they were more different? That they couldn’t relate to anyone, because that would be a great foundation for individualistically-driven success? When they hear quotes from Robert Frost, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs (all of whom celebrate individuality and leadership) does it offend them? (Also, “leadership” a part from positions in high school clubs and sports teams. Think on a broader scale; someone who is capable of making change and inspiring others to take action to do so, too.)
When they look at you, do they ever think, “I wish I could be like that.”? Maybe that sense of individuality, that sense of positive solitude is something we have and they don’t which scares them and intimidates them.
Maybe there are only two types of people in the world: leaders and followers. When I think of it like that, being a leader sounds so much more appealing.
Quote: “Being different is a revolving door in your life where secure people enter and insecure exit.” – Shannon L. Alder
Photograph: Sarah Blanc