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There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between junior high and life as we know it now. Back then we lived our lives according to someone else’s schedule; eating, breaking, and peeing when we were told. You know, just like at the office. In both places, all of your personal possessions are relegated to a metal box – in junior high, it was your locker; at the office, it’s the bottom drawer of your cubicle where you stash your meager belongings. The same cliques that existed in junior high now dominate the office hierarchy. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?
There is one major difference between then and now, though. During those junior high years, we spent all of time trying to fit in, to convince everyone else we were just like them. Being different was the kiss of death, the ticket to a social Siberia that you would likely be trapped in until you went to college and had the opportunity to re-invent yourself. But, oddly enough, in the today’s world, we spend just as much time trying to prove the opposite – how atypical we are. Well, my friends, I’m here to drop a harsh truth on you: you’re not that different than the rest of us.
When I started to write this piece, I was reminded of a line from one of my favorite Amanda Bynes movies, the 2003 classic What A Girl Wants. The dreamy dude trying to pick up Ms. Bynes asks her, “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” And while his question is well-intentioned in relation to the plot, because it got the girl to go all gooey-eyed over his sensitive soul, my question here is the reverse: “Why are you trying so hard to stand out when all you want is to fit in?”
I remember when I was in sixth grade how badly I wanted to fit in. I went to a small Catholic school and I was the only person in my whole class that had divorced parents. Obviously, that was something that was out of my control, but even so, it sucked to be the “only person who” whatever. I just wanted to be the same as everyone else.
But there’s been a weird turnabout since those pre-teen days. Back then all I wanted to do was fit in, and now all I want is to stand out because it would seem that nowadays being different is actually the norm. We all try so hard to stand out, to be unique, that we’ve become a snowstorm of special snowflakes. But you know what the problem is with that special snowflake snowstorm? Unless you look really closely, all of those snowflakes look the same. And that’s because they pretty much are.
Sure, there are things about each of us that make us unique. But given that all of us have those things…it doesn’t make us special. Yet, it seems as though we spend all of our time, particularly on social media, trying to do one of two things. We either mock ourselves for being “basic” (meaning totally normal) or we go to the other extreme of trying to be as out there as possible. Both are an attempt to make ourselves stand out, and the outcome of both is the same – we’re just like everyone else, because we’re all doing it. And what’s necessarily wrong with that? Being just like everyone else, I mean. It worked ok when we were adolescents, didn’t it?
So why don’t we just accept our fate? None of us are special. We are all just your average basic bitches trying to find our way in the world. And you know what? That’ s ok. At least it means we’re not alone..