Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can't sleep so might as well write

(Not that I expect to make much sense).

This is what I worry about when I'm trying to fall asleep. No first draft. No editing. No spell check.

I'm sometimes so unabashedly unoriginal I'm afraid I'll disappear in the bottomless sea of average mediocrity.

Being just average and ordinary really scares me. I used to think that everyone strove to be original and stand out in a crowd, but I realize more and more that a lot of people are completely satisfied living a quiet, uncomplicated, uneventful, safe and smooth life. I used to think I'd have to fight my whole life through trying to be different than everybody else. Now I find that everybody else is trying to be exactly the same.

I can understand that always knowing what's coming up ahead must be very comforting. I sometimes envy those who have their whole future carefully planned out. But then I remember how suffocating I feel when I have just a couple of days all booked and thank my stars that I still allow myself to wake up in the morning not knowing what lays ahead.

I'm not saying I wish to become famous, come up with a revolutionary invention that will change the world forever, dazzle people with my (yet undiscovered) amazing skills or even become an undeserving local celebrity. Being known holds no appeal to me. I just refuse to become just like everybody else and blindingly accept a set of values, morals, political views, aspirations and other traits of personality just because they're considered normal.

Someone once asked one of my best friends in high school what kind of music they liked. Her answer was "Whatever Gabrielle's into." That scared me more than it annoyed me. Why would anyone want to be a mindless idiot who goes for everything the medias tell them to?

And I'm not a snob either. Hell, I like Garth Brooks. And the Bloodhound Gang, Ann Rice, Jacqueline Susann and Supernatural.

But I'm also pretty sure I know more about music, literature and cinema that 90% of the people I went to school with because I was never one to be satisfied with whatever was on heavy rotation on the radio or on the best sellers lists.

I always loved discovering new artists by looking up their influences, and then their influences' influences and so on all the way back to the source. I'll often pick up a book or a record only because I like the name or the cover (sometimes it does pay to judge a book by its cover) and find myself a new favorite band or author that way. But it always repels me to hear someone willingly admit that what they like is whatever's playing on the radio or being written about in Oprah Magazine. How can anyone be fulfilled with that? Don't they feel used by the industry when they go and buy what they're told to? How can they explain enjoying something not because of what they're feeling but choosing instead to validate that by looking at the charts? Art is like a lover. You can't fall in love with it just because everyone else does. That would be settling.

I don't mind being singled out because of my choices. I fully assume them and recognize that human beings are inherently curious when it comes to difference. I do enjoy being asked questions and conversing with people although I'm more of a listener and observer.

I don't aim to be a freak or an oddity. People passing me by on the street might not even realize I'm different than them. And I wouldn't care. But I would know, deep down, that I made my own educated choices. And the people I will meet, talk to, laugh with, live with, love with and die with will, too. And those are the only important people.

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