Sunday, 7 October 2012

Mainstreaming the Individual

Indie’ and ‘hipster are terms that have been increasingly popular amongst the teenagers of today. I myself have often caught myself calling someone a hipster. Mostly because he didn’t smoke but carried cigarettes and had a business card that called him a ‘visionary’. So I maintain this was a justified assessment. But why is it that being different is suddenly so cool?
Years ago, I was labelled a freak and cast out of the majority of social circles at my high school. They didn’t like my oddly coloured hair, dry sense of humour and the fact that I refused to be exactly like them. When I was a little girl, I was pretty conformist. I didn’t like that my mum had bright pink hair (she was in her early twenties when she had me so it was cool, not creepy). Though the individual in me kept popping up in random places. Rolling down muddy hills with boys, ruining my pretty pink dress, shirking off my friends for picking on the tall Turkish girl in class and choosing to be with her instead. As a small child, my imaginary friend was a seven foot one eyed, one armed, one legged pirate named Fred. By the time I was eight I was very much the weird girl. I was suddenly picked on and rejected, and after a while I developed a thick skin. I stopped caring what people thought because I was finally comfortable with who I was. Something hard to find in school age children. 
When I couldn’t find a place in the cliques in high school, I literally made my own, attracting like-minded people who actually liked my sarcasm, my book propensity, they liked ME. I worked hard to accept who I was and then people accepted me. So when I see people being different so they can be cooler, it irritates me. I dyed my hair purple because it was my favourite colour (and I wanted to irritate my uniform-obsessed teachers) and I see girls doing the same years later because they saw someone on Tumblr with purple hair. They wear hand-me-downs and vintage clothesfor the bragging rights, I wore them because I liked them and could never afford fancy things.I wore glasses because I needed them, I see people wearing them because it’s cool to be uncool. Am I ridiculous in thinking that this mainstreamed individuality is robbing the truly unique? 
I got called a hipster a lot over the past year and I resent it. I’m not wearing what I wear, reading what I read or listening to the music I listen to to slap consumerism in the face or to be hip, I do it because I like it, it’s what makes me feel comfortable. I’m not saying that I hate hipsters or think that this is a great injustice or anything so dramatic. I just wonder why it is that people strive to be overtly different, when being yourself is the most unique thing you could do. Because it seems nobody is who they are anymore.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The beginning of a random story (so far)

I moved all the time as a kid. It was hard, never staying in the same place. My dad used to say that we were lucky, not everyone experienced new things so frequently. But there is a loneliness to what is new. The faint trace of the old lingers on in your mine like a ghost and taints your perspective. Will it be just as good as where I was before? Will it be better? Will I be happier here?
There is that loneliness from what was lost.
But I remember one place we moved to, when I was fifteen. Of course, I will never forget. There are things you can never forget. Like riding a bike, or your first broken heart. You like to think only the good will stay with you but just as every cloud has a silver lining, so does every silver lining have with it a big, fat storm cloud. The positive and the negative are never too far apart.
Anyway, I remember every detail of the rickety old house we moved into, with the faded blue window panes and the swing set that screamed like a banshee whenever my sister or I used it. I remember the comforting smell of age and wisdom that clung to the place like a woman's perfume. I remember the high ceiling in my bedroom, the thick cobwebs and layered dust. But it isn't the place that held any importance to me, it was the people. And it is the people I encountered that make the story I am about to share. A story not even I would have believed.


"I hate this place already," Cassie grumbled, shrinking back from the car window as the scenery slithered by. In her hand she held her phone, gripping it like Van Helsing would a crucifix. I wondered just how many contacts my sister had collected over the years. I wondered if she even spoke to them all. Probably not. I wouldn't speak to Cassie if I were finally free of her. Though that isn't the most PC thing to say about my thirteen-year-old sister.

"You haven't given it a fair go," Dad sighed, rubbing a hand over his prematurely graying hair. Salt and pepper, I think it's called. He was always telling us to give things a 'fair go'. I maintain the opinion that he had had his teenage years wiped from his mind, otherwise he wouldn't have subjected us to countless 'first day of school' experiences.