Embracing the Effects of Individuality

Aaron - Des Moines, Iowa
Entered on September 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Famous author, Oscar Wilde, once said, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” I have come to realize the truth of this statement as I, being a high school student, have become more so immersed with the lives of other young people around me on an everyday basis. So many potentially great minds, especially those of my generation, have slowly become polluted by the obsession with pop culture, news media, politics, the large desire to emulate the supposed lifestyles of the “rich and the famous”, or simply the desire to just “fit in”.

I believe in individuality. Non-conformity. The ability of expression that is unique to each and every individual. However hippie-esque the idea may seem when thought out loud, I believe that the world is in desperate need of not just one, but constant revolutions. It is in need of fresh, new ideas, and I believe that many people’s dreams, ideas, and ambitions are stifled either by their own personal fear or hesitance of bringing those dreams to life or by the close-minded skepticism of those who may happen to disagree with or not believe in those dreams.

As a high school student, I am given the opportunity everyday to walk the halls with hundreds of other teenagers who, in many ways are just like me, and in many ways are completely the opposite. I love the diverse blend of individuality, and I believe that that blend is what makes life interesting and worth living, though many times I have also seen the effects that close-minded or cynical beings can have on the creativity of other individuals. The consuming fear of negative judgment often stops people from acting on their beliefs or ideas and consequently disables them from being the person that they truly are. In cases like these, or when I myself am tempted to abandon my own creativity and settle for the seemingly popular style of mediocrity that so many unfortunately choose to follow, I choose to look at different people who have gone before me and so boldly chosen to pave their own path of individuality. For instance, Icelandic musician, Bjork Gudmundsdottir who has proved a huge success over the years and has made quite a unique name for herself, has forever changed the way the world looks at music. Bjork brought tastes, styles, and sounds to the table in a way that no other musician before her had done. With her matchless voice that often omits macabre yet beautiful singing, hollers, and sometimes unidentifiable noises, and with her music, which, in itself tells the story of her songs, Bjork has brought undeniable innovation and individuality to the musical world. Her career has further proven what artist Marilyn Manson once said, “Art is a question mark. It should never be an answer.”

The idea of individuality does not stop there. To me, individuality is the open expression of personal beliefs, ideas, cultures, and so much more, and it does not apply only to the realm of art or music, but also to every single aspect of life, no matter how infinitesimal or colossal. World leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Mother Theresa, and artists including Bjork, Matthew Barney, Beethoven, or van Gogh, and even many everyday people have brilliantly fashioned the world in numerous different ways because they have learned to embrace who they truly are and to proudly display their unique personalities and ideas. Concerning me, I believe that the world is in great need of more individuals who will choose to break away from ephemeral fads and fleeting trends and who will decide to acknowledge their own creativity and begin to show the world something new through their own individuality.