Every sub-culture eventually develops a distinct style. Those who consider themselves different from the masses are really touchy about it. It doesn't matter if it's a leather jacket or baggy pants or colored hair or body piercings or whatever... As soon as enough people do it, a new 'rebel uniform' exists. People who are not part of the sub-culture pick up on it, copy it, and it becomes a trend. The trend is then mass-marketed to others who want to show the world that they are different too.

Rap and Metal
grass and 'shrooms
Another bottle of vodka down your throat
Wearing black and collars and shiny leather too
Now you feel complete and with the flow
But everyone out there still ignores you

Why don't you understand me?
My own insanity I did sell
To be unique, to be distinct
To be different, just like everybody else

Bubble-gum pop and Top 20 hits
MTV and crack-cocaine
All the latest fashions, all the greatest styles
Nike sneakers, silver crosses
And a plastic god to kneel before
A social climber, but your gains will soon be losses

Why don't you accept me?
Why do you think I'm an empty shell?
I am unique, I am distinct,
I am different, just like everybody else

Another night, another date,
Dissapointment and despair
and depression that's eating at your heart
A smile, a tear, a turn away
"I thought you were something more"
And she left you there with eyes wide open and nothing left to say

I used to be a special soul
Now I'm nobody, oh well
I was unique, I was distinct,
Now I'm just different like everybody else

-Matthew Adair

Aah, a dichotomy. But, what do you fear more? Being different? Or being the same?

Late one hot summer night, driving up the coast for a camping trip, we stopped at an anonymous service station to fill up. One of the guys had just bought a brand new electric toothbrush, and had been taking every opportunity to use it, because of the novelty. So, as we opened up the back of the car to get some snacks, he pulled it out and switched it on and just started brushing away right there next to the petrol pump. At this moment, a group of kids was walking out of the shop: young, backwards caps, skateboards, you know the type. They looked over at this scruffy barefoot guy brushing his teeth outside the servo, started sniggering, and then just ran off. And someone said "Look at them - all being different in the same way".

I have worn backwards caps and gone skating with mates and laughed at hobos. Why did we do this? We each thought that that was what the others wanted us to do. That stage you go through, where appearing 'cool' is paramount, every sentence, every word weighed against its appeal to the group. Silly teenage boys and their peer pressure, we say. They'll mature. But the cynic inside us whispers, no one ever really gets past this stage completely.

We want to be cool and attractive and quirky and different and to set trends. But, not too different. We don't want anyone thinking we're weird. We want to be different, and to be the same as everyone else, all at once.

There is a part of me that wants to drop out of everything and throw down societies' absurd niceties and die young, a dark, troubled suicide with a legacy of inscrutable and challenging art. Or possibly radical politics. The people who knew me would talk about me in whispers, saying such things as "genius", "crazy", "what an amazing person", and "he changed the way I thought".

There is another part of me that wants to live an utterly utterly normal life. To graduate, and get a boring 9-to-5 job, which I would do well and have a quiet satisfaction in. I would find a wonderful wife and have 2.4 kids, who would grow up seeing me as a sane, normal, dependable person. We would have dinner every now and again with friends' couples and families, and on Fridays I'd go down to the pub and drink and watch the footy with the boys.

Every day I care less about what other people think. And every day, these two parts struggle inside of me. Occasionally, I think about this question again. Which scenario scares me more? Do I fear being different, or do I fear being the same?

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