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Individuality: The Art of Being Different (Part 3)

The third part (of six) of my infamous manifesto on Individuality.



Families, communities, tribes, congregations, cliques - all of these environments have direct influence on the mind of a single being. Self-discovery is a process of errors and psychosocial development, and is fickle at its best. Throughout the early stages, in the warm pools of primary socialization, our needs, our identities are taken care of, as our guardians are watching closely and leaving fingerprints on the still moist layers of clay.

While the foundation is laid down by our parents, the secondary stage of this journey is when things get especially interesting. At this juncture the individual has more freedom to examine his demeanour and perhaps make adjustments or change direction in a completely alternate way, and his or her choice will now be assessed and scrutinized by family and peers.

This of course, can go one way of the other. Perhaps you slide neatly into the line and continue to follow the manual – going along to get along – but there is also the chance that you will end up listening to a Pixies record with a cigarette between your lips while typing up a colorful sanctimony with press-on nails about doing the complete opposite.

The years I spent at a private boarding school are far behind me, but I believe that said period of my life was a largely pivotal (if at times distressing) one. For ten years I inhabited a communal atmosphere of old Victorian homes that were populated by a vast diversity of characters. I’ll admit at that the beginning of this evolutionary juncture I was completely clueless, but one thing that retained a pathological presence in my behavior was experimentation.

It was all so very new to me, and although a lot of children will go through a phase (a very early one) of getting their hands on their mother’s garments and accessories, trying them on out of simple curiosity, it would have been disturbingly peculiar if I had entered secondary school all pinned up with mascara and rouge.

No, that came much later, but the other incarnations that various inquisitive individuals often go though in their years of self-discovery may have a slightly milder tang, but nonetheless often lead to alienation and confusion. These embodiments may be influenced by idols, media, or even peers, and usually do not yet posses a convincing foundation. And yet the direction is still leaning towards something new and unexplored. Regardless of the mockery and probing the individual moves forward, and soon after, as the mind matures, so does the reason and the context behind these ideals.

Given that any oddball can guzzle a spritzer and break a rule or two - perhaps attributing the behaviour to a brief voyage into the lakes of mischief - it is the reasoning behind the pathological recalcitrance that defines the perpetual state of individualistic anarchism.

While it may sound like a threat to society, I assure you that it is not. An individual who is convinced in the importance of disassociation from the accepted attitudes of the “common folk” merely demonstrates his commitment to the cause by consistently rejecting the vapid texture that has been setup to control and prevent identification. They are committing an act of significant revolt without causing offence to the primitive.

Alas, those rooted in the constitution of norms and values nonetheless remain easily agitated towards any drop of oil in the water. They will embark on a quest to find a solution; be it counseling, subjugation, evaluation, or electric shock therapy. Not too long ago, during a daily train journey, I was carefully examined by a lady who was endlessly puzzled by my choice to sport a woman’s handbag, and when she could no longer contain her curiosity, she inquired as to the reason behind my selection of an apparently incongruous accessory.

“So…do you want to be a girl?”

I do not. That would defy the whole point. Perhaps after a few years of thorough Freudian analysis one may come to a somewhat adequate conclusion regarding the subconscious reasoning behind my “fetish”, but I still like to think of it as a statement that is far more grandiose than simple psychological digressions - the most important of all being that it makes me happy and comfortable within an often inhospitable environment. In the meantime the labels will continue to get patched on, however, the instillation of one-sided social theories only nurtures opinions of revolt. Persecution can be a powerful motivator and at the same a force of deterrence; but most of all it is an initiation.

(To Be Continued)

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