Monday, August 29

Only Human

I've touched on my feelings regarding individuality before, struggling vainly to express myself. I thought about it again while cycling home after taking these shots today and I reckon the only way I can really explain myself is anecdotally. You know me, I am the anecdotal type ;) I understand everything by analysing my own self. It rankles, but I am solipsist like that. Me. Me. Me.
Anyway, here goes my anecdotal evidence..

Last year I read a novel that sounded like my inner voice. If that makes no sense, let me try to explain: I don't know about you but my rhythm of speech, the expressions I use, they are subtly different when I speak or write to the way I sound as I re-read this sentence silently after writing it, here in the back of my head (welcome to my head.. well, almost).

So like I say, it's strange but right away this story sounds like it's been pulled out of the back of my head. The main character is on the dissociative side and as the awkward sod muddles on from page to page dealing with his predicament this fictional guy is quite clearly me.

His mind plays all the same tricks on him as mine on me, he insists on making all the same errors and pretty quick the experience leads him to the same conclusions. As if hearing the story of a rough time in your life retold in the rhythm of your own thinking isn't enough, he keeps tearing down the Fourth wall, addressing the reader directly. Speaking to me.

Sure, I know it's not   r e a l l y   the character speaking but simply a writer's calculated efforts to make this book more engaging. The device also serves to ride home the dissociative theme so central to the novel (no doubt the source of much of my deja vu reading experience), putting all us readers right out of our comfort zones.
Smart ass. Really the author is just talking to himself or maybe to someone that inspired the damn book in the first place but for all intents and purposes: Major mind fuck. This guy speaking to me with my voice, he's laugh out loud cringy, he's got the patent on awkward, that is, I have. Me, in black ink on recycled paper. Only I am an American male. A sorta promiscuous one.

Differences. "See" I soothe myself "You're unique after all - anatomically, geographically, sexually" Evey time the story deviates a little further, every time my inky mirror image becomes a little more warped, it feels like a small victory. I am no duplicate. Not a copy of a fictional character. I kept thinking "this better be at least partially autobiographical". I really didn't like the idea someone so like me could simply be invented. How real is real? When you were little did you ever worry you might just be a character in a book? I know I did. When I wasn't fussing about demonic possession I was always trying to find a way to prove whether I am "really real" or not.

You know, even when the story finally went off on a tangent, when a thread that was unlike my own life unravelled and for a little while it was just a book not a mirror image looking back at me,  those differences, they were so small. So, so small. And that's just what blows me away (and incidentally the main character is totally steam rollered by this one too): It's not our differentness, this fabled uniqueness that is so damn awesome but the real crazy amazing thing about life is just how alike we all are.

No, there are no exact copies but our uniqueness, if you ask me it's little more than a technicality. Negligible. Our body chemistry messes with us in similar ways, we find ourselves in near identical situations, have the same ideas (sometimes at the same time. Just check out simultaneous discovery). People dream the same dreams, aspire to the same ideals, we arrive at the same conclusions all the time.

We are brought up to value individuality and originality so much, when you come to realize everything has been done before and the whole unique little snowflake thing doesn't hold up so well in practice, it is pretty scary. At first.
Thing is, it's actually OK. In a world where we are all leading our separate little lives don't you find it comforting that we are all so similar; That we look, feel, fear alike?

You see, I am all for a world wide Vulcan-style mind meld. It can be scary to let go of "unique" but it is freeing too. All my life I've been striving for the unobtainable. I kind of knew all along, I just couldn't help myself. We are all encouraged to set ourselves apart and that's all good.

Creativity is awesome but creativity is not synonymous with uniqueness. When I was little my Mom used to say "there are as many great artists in this world as there are grains of sand on the beach" The brush strokes are subtly different but we are all painting the same pictures. But just because I think we are not all that unique doesn't mean there is no merit, no value. There is. I am no nihilist. Existentialist yes, but if you ask me life is pretty darn personally meaningful.

What I am trying to say is, even when everything has been done before (and most everything has) it can and should be done again. By you. I am not talking about repeating or copying. It's not copying if you arrive independently (And being inspired by others is not plagiarism). It's not a dupe if it comes from deep down. It's all about the journey. That's right. Soppy maybe, but right. It just has to be right. Right? ;)

Nope, I really don't believe in unique.
I believe in this sentient, messy mass of humanity all quite alike but trapped alone inside their own little minds and the only way to get out of there is to share yourself in some way. Not in order to prove just how different you are, but to celebrate how much we have in common.

Connect. Create something that reflects you, so someone, somewhere can look at you and find themselves. It's pretty scary but: hey, that's OK. It's better than OK. It's good. We're in this together. All 6.94 billion of us. We belong.

hat: tk maxx
earrings: DIY (buttons)
blouse: etsy
skirt: h&m
sky blue tights
trainers: eBay

Odd outfit shot out:
bloues: all-mighty
brooch: etsy

Glasto 2011 appreciation shot - such a long wait until next time :)


  1. SACRAMENTO AmateAugust 29, 2011

    Such a long time...I have misssed you.
    Loving your nails.

  2. oh man, I love your manicures, I am going to copy the last one

  3. i love what you said and how you said it. i'm only beginning to realize that i myself am not 100% unique. there are things and people similar to myself. but that's what makes us relatable. 

    yes. this post. yes.

  4. fashionforgiantsAugust 30, 2011

    Aaarrgh.  I wish I could articulate what this post made me feel even half as well as you wrote this post.  But, I can't, so suffice it to say that I loved this.  You are fab.  I wish I had the words.


  5. Thanks! you are a nail painting fiend! always so so cute! love the lil baby bunny button!

  6. I try not to think too hard about my uniqueness or lack thereof, but mostly because it makes me freaked out. If I thought about it as you have, I might not feel that thanks for sharing this! I can't believe you didn't tell us the name of the book, though! 

  7. Please write a book. You are such a great writer just in reading your descriptions and feelings here about uniqueness!!!

    by the way, My older son thinks you have a twin from your pictures. . .

  8. Emily, Ruby Slipper JourneysSeptember 04, 2011

    I'm catching up on about 8 of your posts (should still be doing my thesis however) ; D  Anyway, I really enjoyed this one.  I don't really believe in uniqueness too much either.  Well, I believe that there are some unique people, but that most people are just variations on one of the seven great themes! 

    One thing that always annoys me though...  if there is nothing new under the sun and we have so many similarities... why don't I have more friends?  And why can't I find more people I have things in common with?  Grrr.  Me me me.

  9. Yes, I really enjoyed reading this! I wholeheartedly agree with your visions on uniqueness. I've never really figured I was unique in anyway and never really bought into the concept of true originality so the idea isn't exactly painful to me, even though I felt like an outsider for the majority of my (very short) life. Finding people similar to you, or even finding people wholly different to you whom you have things in common with is most beautiful in this world <3

  10. beautiful and insightful writing. I like feeling that I am a part of everyone I meet. I find comfort in this. What I do get anxiety over is the idea of being mediocre. But I get over it when I stop trying to place value on what I do, say, express. It’s the act of expressing that is important. You were so right to say that the only way to get out of our minds is to share ourselves in someway. I don't know why but I can't view your photos, so I'll come back for that. xxxx - Crystal Lee

  11. ok, now I can see the photos! such a cute outfit & your nails are off the hook!

  12. bethgodfreyMarch 16, 2012

    I have always worried about what happens when everything has been discovered, created produced. Where do we go? But this makes so much sense :) thank you for sharing