“I’m not like other girls” is a phrase I have been hearing thrown around a lot lately. There is this new unspoken trend where our generation aspires to be eccentric and unlike the rest, striving for some specific niche, style, and vibe. But think about it… If everyone aspires to be “cool,” by following trends and what’s “in” then aren’t you still considered basic?
I believe being unique is different than the idea of trying to fit an image that you like; for example, acting like your favorite idols, or getting inspiration from what is currently going “viral.” Instead, it includes the idea of finding inspiration from within: reflecting on your uniqueness and reminding yourself of who you are. So ask yourself, what is a quality I have that no one else embodies? What makes me me?
This definitely provides room for self reflection, and you might not find that answer right away. However, this is a skillset which will ultimately allow you to reconnect with your own identity.
Even just from being back on campus this year, I can’t help but notice that we all subconsciously do the same things. I have noticed this common theme where everyone starts to have the same humor, speak the same lingo, and even dress the same way. It almost feels like a copy and paste, highlighting this new wave of “trendsetting.”
Another pattern I have noticed is that everybody wants to be an influencer or become famous. Unfortunately, Hollywood is not for everyone. Fame becomes impractical if you’re doing exactly what everyone else is doing. To say the least, there is nothing wrong about admiring one’s style or uniqueness. Things can get complicated when your mentality shifts towards assimilation; that’s where you begin to forget who you are.
Surely, I’m not one to deny that after interminably scrolling through my never-ending and addictive Tik-Tok and Instagram feeds, I think to myself “ those people are pretty cool, I want to be more like them.” Thereafter, I proceed to copy what others are doing, or try to act more like this influencer because I feel like they are funny and “cool.” However, that is not me. That is not my identity, and I can attest that following trends is not what makes me uniquely me. Here is your calling to be your own trendsetter.
Another trend I have witnessed is specific clothing and style. The iconic line from Mean Girls holds true when Bethany says, “I saw Cady Haron wearing army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops.” Why is it that the majority of college students wear a trendy uniform each day? To me, clothing is a sense of expression; clothing gives one the ability to showcase a personality and an identity. I will be the first to admit that I too enjoy wearing clothing that’s “in.” However, I always try to remind myself that I need to dress for myself, and nobody else. Sure, the thought does run through my head; “what are people going to think of me if I wear this to class,” but the words of the wise state that “your life isn’t yours if you always care what others think.”
It’s easier said than done but we should all try to to stop caring about what other people think of us. Realistically, others’ opinions are irrelevant as long as you are happy with who you are. High School was consumed in trying to unravel this unspoken definition of “cool.” Have you ever thought about what “cool” even means? From my own experiences, trying to chase after what “cool” is will only pull you farther from your identity and your path of being your own trendsetter. Start living your life knowing that there is no formative definition of “cool.” For the time being, pretend like you have never even heard of the term “cool”; it will give you the freedom to be proud and unapologetically you.
So now, you are thinking about what qualities and traits you have that not many others have, and you have completely erased the term “cool” from your vocabulary. It’s time to find the people that charge your batteries, and not only fill up your cup, but overflow it. I am so thankful that I can say I wake up every morning to seven other girls who constantly remind me to be my goofy, unfiltered self. Every genuine laugh I share with them constantly reminds me of who I am as a person that makes me me. My friends bring out the unconditional happiness that makes me feel good about being the most authentic version of myself. This happiness becomes addicting; the routine of finding your people who allow you to laugh, cry, sing in the shower, and say the most out of pocket things with no judgment allow you to be your true unique self.
Eladia Michaels is a part of the Sex and the Crescent city column. She's a sophomore majoring in Communications with an English minor. In addition to being a part of the Crescent, Eladia enjoys trying new things with her friends, exploring new places around the world, and windows down car rides along the beach. Writing to her is simply thinking with her fingers.