How Unique by Asia Kindred Moore
To be unique you have to fall far from the tree that bears you into being. Even then, everything’s been said and done, so Generation 911, my generation, has nothing left to prove.
Consider our plight: how are we to prove our individuality to the senior authority if they’ve just seen it all before? Our parents were once who we are now; everyone had their rebellion, relationships, fashion critics, and high school dramas. And now here we are, the new kids, trying to escape our own fate, as if it’s a curse.
I am the same as my parents, just modernized. They were young in the glorious 1960’s and 70’s and got to experience the birth of the alternative hippy freedom lifestyle. My father was an angst-filled freedom-soaring 18 year old in the Haight-Ashbury of San Francisco who burned his draft card and marched with millions against the illegal war du jour. My mother lived in wilderness communes in Oregon and Kawai. My roots come directly from their “unique” youth years. Back then, the hippy way of living was the rebellion. They rebelled against normalcy and their parents—just as I rebelled against normalcy and them. It’s their karma I guess.
If theirs was an acid-drenched rainbow revolution, my own rebellion has been a study in black. I follow the pseudo-mantra of “punk-rock.” Punkers want to be original, out of the system, and just all-out UNHEARD OF … but there are contradictions. We base our actions and attitudes on previous years of the punk scene, and that’s not unique. Meanwhile, our fashion is exploited as “fashionable” by corporate clothiers who sell sweatshop knock-offs to young wanna-be’s in those little nouveau-hip teen clothing shops of mall-America. What can we do with a fact like that? Dare we go where no one wants to go? Where’s that?
We cannot realize who we are until we are truly ready to face the truth. But who really wants to see what’s not appealing about ourselves—our nasty quirks, our interior scars and unsolved dilemmas. It’s so much easier to turn a cold shoulder to the ugly truth and believe in that which is lovely only. And in this way, we find ourselves seeking something more “real” than anything else we’ve known or felt in our pre-teen life. We turn to drugs and sex and violence and mutilation, only to realize in the end that we’d rather live with and accept our own crap than create worse scenarios for ourselves out of ideas that aren’t real to begin with.
I’ve been told that how we feel on the inside is reflected by how we look on the outside. I used to believe that, back in the days when the suicidal maniacs lived in my head and I had fresh cuts on my wrists. I showed it, I flaunted my pain so everyone knew I had issues; black everything. I went through things not many people go through. I should be dead because of those things. But somewhere along the line, I realized that I was just giving in to the system by defining myself against its “normalness”. That was a false uniqueness. In the end I wanted something else. Something that made more sense to me.
That something else came to me in the form of knowing how to finally express myself on the page without restraint. It became the only way I could relate how I felt to people who otherwise wouldn’t understand. As I started to regain my sanity, I cold-turkeyed off my anti-everything prescription drugs and began the process of human feeling again.
The years of my unique average teenage rebellion are at an end for me. I am graduating high school and have moved out on my lonesome. My days living in the shadow of my parents have come to a halt. As uniquely “independent” as I thought I was, I really had no idea what real independence is. With this in mind, I have come to find a new respect for those whose genetics I share. Like them, I have reached the point where I must decide what I want to do with my future. But also, like them, that decision is going to wait awhile to give me time to get some life experience.
I’ve been through the normal teenage rebellion, I have gotten arrested like a few of my friends, and I am not really that different from anybody else. I am who I am and no authority, no parents, no law, can take that away from me. I was born unique, I don’t have to do anything to prove it.
Maybe I haven’t fallen that far from the tree after all. If my parents could survive their own life realizations and rebellions, let alone the acid wave of the 60’s and 70’s, then I’m pretty sure I can survive whatever falls my way.
Asia Kindred Moore lives in Salem, Oregon, where she works as a barista at the Coffee House Cafe downtown. Asia can be reached at [email protected].