We all use identical phrases.

The same tired clichés.

How do you stay unique in a world that values uniformity, but hides it behind a celebration of the individual?

We are all a collection of cells that base our behavior on the interactions of our past.

Our lives have been lived billions of times before.

We repeat the phrases and data that our family, friends, coworkers, significant others, and preferred news outlet say to us. And by extension, the people who influence our behavior are repeating what the people in their lives have said to them; eventually the realization occurs that no one is unique, that we have all parroted what others have said before us. We like to think that our lives have meaning, that no one has seen the world as it has been seen through our eyes. That we speak and act in ways that are totally unique to ourselves.

That we don’t desperately pray to the ashes of the fire that came before us.

Are you yourself?

Or are you a collection of your past experiences, clawing your way through the collective unconscious that intertwines all of our souls to each other, not fully understanding how we are all connected, in the vague hope that we will be remembered long after we’re gone, knowing the whole time that the absolute majority of us will be forgotten the moment the last of our friends and family pass away.

We carry armor with us at all times to hide who we are from each other. To show your true self is to break from the herd.

We use speech patterns that are acceptable to those we interact with to portray that we’re normal, sane individuals who want to connect with others. But the armor is always there.

How do you break through that armor? How do you get past the vernacular, the ideological conversations; the clothes, the hair, the attitudes, the proclamations of their sexual orientation/political affiliation/religion/humanitarian causes; the noble persona that prostates itself in a humble fashion, all the while knowing that it’s a charade, hoping that you’ll believe in the act? Or alternatively, the braggadocious, loud persona that screams how individually unique that person is (although anyone with half a brain can see through the performance)?

To see someone with all their ugly flaws displayed to the world – to break through the wall that so often is only torn down for a small moment in time – is a rare and almost impossible feat.

It’s a religious experience, to connect with someone so intensely that you accept them for all of their disfigurements, seen and unseen.

So what do you do?

Do you live your life on the fringes, saying you’re exploring yourself while repeating what others have said are the right way of living? To search for meaning in the weirdness of life, even though the weirdness you’re exploring is a concept defined by other people?

Do you accept that you are not unique, and carve out a meager living for your body; take care of your wife or husband or children or just yourself, and fade away peacefully?

Do you land somewhere in the middle, occasionally dipping your feet in water that might give a you a temporary shock to the skin, and immediately retreat to the comfort of the pack?

I don’t have an answer.

I’ll let you know when I do.



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