Floating through Individualism

Allison - Magnolia, Arkansas
Entered on May 6, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in swimming against the current. When all the fish migrate one way, I dare to swim the opposite. Even though the current’s tug is continuous, I swim as hard as my body will endure against it, opposite from the majority.

Going against the grain, breaking out from the normal, and showing individualism all represent a certain personality. To be an individual, one has to show some sort of uniqueness, though it is not necessary to die one’s hair purple or get multiple tattoos. However, in reality those spirited people are showing their individuality just as much as when I choose not to conform to the current fashion trend. Showing personality through hair and fashion is an example of swimming against the current.

Some may call it goofy, some may call it weird, some may call it extreme; but individuality in any form is not goofy, weird, or extreme. Being an individual improves self-confidence by learning to accept that others may find my or someone else’s actions different. Being confident does not depend on a nose up in the air or a negative opinion of all others; instead, all self-confidence depends on is the self-assurance I alone provide myself. I choose to be the black and white fish in an aquarium full of purple and yellow striped fish, and one day all the other individuals of our world will wake up on the other side of the tank and decide to not let the other fish in the sea control them either.

Imagine a timid girl at lunch at school choosing where to eat. The jaw-crunching piranhas, the nasty sharks, the calm koi, the friendly goldfish – all are examples of those with whom she might choose to enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The decision all depends on the individuality of the teen. Many people would choose the most socially accepted group even if it means rubbing gills next to the jaw-crunching piranhas. However, if it were me, the choice would be simple. I choose to surround myself with fins of fish I feel most comfortable around. Many decisions, whether we realize it or not, depend on other people’s opinions, but in reality a good decision-maker thinks of his or her preferences first and what others think later. The constant pull of the current may seem to be unending, but it is containable unlike the waves of the ocean.

I believe in swimming against the current. I believe in choosing to ride a different wave than all the other organisms in the ocean, even when that route may appear less conventional. When deciding which way to go, it does not matter where others are going; all that matters is where I am going.