EMBRACE YOUR INDIVIDUALITY
Why Be Normal? Weird is Good!
Variety truly is the spice of life, and we all know this. However sometimes we can be swayed by peer attitudes as well as by the mainstream media, whose opinions are shoved down our throats by massive corporations whose best interest is that everyone on earth likes Lady Gaga. The problem is, everyone doesn’t like Lady Gaga, just as everyone doesn’t like their spaghetti sauce chunky or their shoes laced tight. We all have different needs and desires, and that is a beautiful thing.
Having smaller, niche communities based in common interests and locality makes the power players in this world far less money than everyone tuning in on Sunday night to watch one particular show. Rampant individuality is not going to make anyone much money, but it will make you a more fulfilled and confident human being.
DON'T FAKE IT
You may feel like a freak sometimes - everyone does - if you don’t “get” whatever is being heralded as the next big thing. You may wonder, “Am I out of it? Did I miss the bandwagon? Am I getting old?" No. You are just weird. And you should wear your uniqueness like a badge of honor, for there is high pride in being original in a world where authenticity is harder and harder to find. And don’t worry; people who seem completely normal are often in actuality freaks- they just don’t have the confidence to live it. They are faking normalcy, and ‘freak’ is better than ‘fake’ any day of the week.
Being weird and unique takes confidence in yourself and your opinions. You must trust your perspective over that of the car commercial or iTunes top ten. You must believe that your opinions have merit, as least as much as the big dogs at the top of the culture-chain who can afford to paint their opinions on giant billboards and buy expensive ads with the product-of-the-moment shilling a certain perspective.
FIND YOUR NICHE
What are your interests? Communities today are no longer defined by the traditional elements of location, family or religion as they once were. Modern communities are people who share common interests. Knowing what you like and what you don’t is an integral factor of knowing who you are; if your favorite musicians are the top ten on the radio at any given moment, you are throwing yourself in with the mass majority of Americans who don’t really care what the art they surround themselves with says about who they are. It takes time and effort to discover your true interests; you often have to dig for them as opposed to them being crammed in your face every time you turn on the TV.
Finding a community may be harder for you if you live in a small town where everyone stares at you like you have five heads if you wear bright green sunglasses into the grocery store, as opposed to Los Angeles for example where you really could walk around with five heads and no one would bat an eyelash. For those of you in places where flying the freak flag is difficult and draws unwanted attention, you have two choices. Buck up and decide to revel in your uniqueness and ignore the ogling, or move to a big city or more welcoming place where creative self-expression is encouraged, not snuffed out with a snarly stare.
By being yourself and expressing your uniqueness, you give others the permission to do the same. Your unabashed originality will inspire others to reveal their special attributes, and pretty soon you will be surrounded with friends with fresh perspectives on life and unusual ways of looking at things. And before long, weird won’t be a dirty word, but one you are proud of because although anyone can be normal, only you can be you.
Shilo Urban is a freelance writer who has just relocated to Los Angeles after her previous homes of Seattle, New Zealand, Paris, Maine, and Austin. She is an active member of the West Coast electronic music community and lives to promote the art that she loves and the people who create it.