The Gift of Originality

May 20, 2008
By Amy Gill, Valdosta, GA

The Gift of Originality

I was a young teenager, naïve and ignorant. I wanted nothing more than to be just like my friends. I envied them. Ashamed of my Indian culture, I attempted to change
everything about myself. My clothes, my shoes, my personality, my attitude, my actions, were all new. The only thing left to change was my long, black hair. So I went to the salon, told them I wanted to be more of a blonde, and after a couple of hours, that’s what I was. Revolting and hideous were the only words that came to mind. It was definitely the worst hair day to date. At that moment I came to the realization that I could be anyone I wanted to be, but life would only be worth living if I lived as my true self.

Individuality is of primary importance. Today, we live in a world full of conformists, people who are afraid to go against the norm and seek their own truth. While envy can be seen as flattering, according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, it is “ignorance.” Each person is born with something unique, be it ones physical appearance or intellectual nature, and to imitate or envy another person destroys that individuality. Although society is cheering everyone on to conform, know that it is okay to be booed. The world has yet to accept originality, but what matters most is that you are being true to yourself.

While the easy path to take in life would involve conforming, the more satisfying is one of individuality. As humans, we are the only beings on Earth with the gift to reason and think logically. Then why is it that we allow others to think for us? Is that how backwards society has become? Humans are not dogs. We are not supposed to be trained to imitate and obey. Our brain functions the way it does for a reason, and that reason is so that we may think and express our own thoughts and not conform to those around us.
After years of attempting to hide my true self, I have come to cherish that which makes me different from others. Ultimately, life has little meaning if you are not being honest and true to yourself.

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