On originality and self doubt

An authentic self ain’t exist, bitch!

No but really. I’ve been struggling with this new insecurity, and I sort of wish I could go back to hating my looks instead of hosting this existential crisis questioning my ingenuity. But not really. I actually gave myself bangs recently and I have NEVER looked better it’s disgusting. Unreal. Truly. I had my camera app open while writing this.

Anyways, it’s been hard to tell which of my facets, if any, hasn’t been handcrafted, particular and strategic.

Like! We really are just walking products of our chemistry and environment, a collaboration between predispositions and pressures. Most of the parts that make us, “us”, can be attributed to the way your momma held you, or if your friends laughed with versus at you, or if you won or lost a genetic lottery. We embody these experiences! We grow into them to be further shaped by the external influences that led those happenstances in the first place. We do this consciously, even. Picking and choosing what pieces fit into our ideal persona; creating a glorified version of ourselves by discarding unattractive details and forcing the adoption of others. We satisfy standards, appease others, and validate past selves who sought after this current–albeit fictitious–version of a New Us.

These calculated combinations have left little room for true uniqueness, and the struggle to accept this impossibly of originality has reflected in my writing.

Lately, as I’m sure y’all have noticed, it’s been hard to draft up a post I’m comfortable publishing– an issue my over-sharing ass has never really dealt with before. I decided to sift through old pieces, hoping I could inspire myself or something. Could only make it a few sentences in before hearing my teeth squeak against another!

These thoughts were documented just a few months ago, yet they feel painfully stale. Alien and awkward. I’ve always been hypercritical of myself, but this is more than writer’s insecurity. So much of what I’ve put out there has been nothing more than an attractive regurgitation. Many of my views are just subtly restructured thoughts I’ve greedily, superficially consumed; a compilation of sentiments colored differently over and over, recycled across think pieces everywhere. Including here! Shit, especially here. This is probably just another one of ’em!

I mean, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At the very least, it ain’t avoidable. What hasn’t been said! Again, originality died a long ass time ago, might as well own the facade of it.

Still, it’s a drag. And I’m not sure if this overt–and slightly pessimistic– shrewdness is an expected consequence of “growing up”, or a depressing epiphany I no longer care to put off….

I’d like to think switching my major was a productive step in moving away from this, putting myself on a path to gain the credibility I once overlooked. Before, I really did have no idea what I was talking about half the time. Even a bit now! My responses and posts have majorly been a combination of my intuition, groomed by an eventful life, paired with previously consumed responses and posts I’d just slap a few pretty synonyms onto.

Now, I’ve a stronger incentive to legitimately understand what comes outta my ass. My GPA depends on my ability to offer substantive reasoning, rather shallow repetition. My commute is a four hour period of talk radio and world news, and my peers’ lack of qualms in vocalizing their opinions has weakened my own. I’ve put myself in an environment that forces me to go beyond neatly packaged recaps I’ve grown so comfortable selling.

But again– are those necessarily bad things? I’ve access to an audience many others don’t; I’ve the ability to influence someone with a simple caption or post! Tapping into valuable attention spans others wouldn’t think to lust after. Maybe some of them needed me, or someone like me, to relay the hard stuff. Maybe that’s been a good thing, to have someone clear out unnecessary jargon and clean up congregated arguments. And maybe it’ll be less of a disservice to have someone do that while still being able to understand that frustrating academia barrier. Bridging the gap and all that.

Plus, what’s the alternative? To not create anything at all? To not say jack just ’cause you risk repeating someone else’s jack? No, thanks! A perpetual identity crisis is slightly more appealing than a life void of validation (in regards to publishing content and speaking out, I mean. Although validation in general is pretty much the blood in my veins).

Cheers to a reluctant acceptance of what it means to be “original”! And thanks for putting up with my never ending bout of excuses for these hiatuses. Y’all real for that.

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