So, right now I’m sitting in a shopping area at Heathrow trying not to stare at a woman wearing the most absurd hat in existence.
Imagine a plain black snapback cap.
Now add pink fluffy trim.
Then add the words “Mummy Swag” in little jewel studs along the front.
As I said, pretty absurd.
This is why I love airports. They attract every kind of person from the farthest reaches of the world and chuck them together in a confined space.
Plus, the place has a feeling of transience about it, where a unique set of people momentarily cross paths in a situation that within itself is so wholly unlikely that it makes the entire instance seem astounding…
That sounds very pseudo-philosophical, but oh well.
Back to people-watching.
A group of Japanese tourists is walking past.
They all have matching hats on, this is glorious.
Okay, what the hell just happened?!
Here I am, minding my own business, and an elderly woman from the Japanese group turns to me and says,
“You are cute white girl! We like cute white girl!”
That said, she snaps a photo of me and scuttles away.
Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
Oh God. I’m sat on those rows of chairs arranged back-to-back with other rows, and there’s a man behind me snoring and his head looks like it is dangerously close to lolling back onto my shoulder.
DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN
NO CRUEL WORLD
oh thank god he woke up.
I’m now at outside a Yo! Sushi.
I nearly got run over by one of those buggy things on the way here.
In all fairness, the guy who was driving it looked like he was on a homicidal rampage.
And there was an old guy in the back egging him on, wielding his walking stick like he was some sort of warlord.
I’m about to get on a flight to Warsaw, and I have no idea whether I’ll have internet access in the hotel so if I go AWOL for the rest of the week, that’s why.
Also, if anyone has ever been to Warsaw and recommends anything to do in particular, please let me know!
“Thus strangely are our souls constructed, and by such slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity or ruin… Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction.”
— Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
My version of individuality was a compound of lesser quantities of perfection.
My less ideal version of individuality didn’t add up to inspiration. No one took my words as gospel. No person did seek me out, professing my brilliance. No critics acclaimed. No songs were sung of my legacy, no eulogies rasped through fake tears in cathedrals. No memory of whatever part of me that may have shone through the canopy of the majority and into the spaces of legends. No story to hold on to.
My less desirable version of individuality didn’t amount to love. No hearts were damaged on my behalf, no emotions altered, no heartstrings tugged. No fantasies constructed, my face as the protagonist. Love is a fleeting notion more transient than a breath of airspace already polluted with an abundance of false declarations of love.
My less intelligent version of individuality didn’t amount to a discovery. No theory was named of me; no institute established in my name. No page in a textbook remembering my actions, no momentous phenomena holding the origin of its moniker to my own.
My less tragic version of individuality didn’t conclude in misery. It had no hardship in its yarn, no struggle plagued the continuation of its tapestry. No shocking retelling to be sold to the sadistic masses as ‘entertainment’, no ‘true story’ placard to be brandished at the flyleaves of its tale. No real sadness tore its world to shreds.
My less attractive version of individuality was never a muse to greatness. It never stood apart from a crowd. None singled me out as the one blessed with a golden ratio. I never caught half an eye in my years — never would I have tried. Never was I given the chance of a second glance. The scenery claimed me, and the walls were my refuge where I bloomed and withered, always watching, waiting.
My version of individuality did not supersede any other, neither did it come below. My version was merely a version, separated by degrees from the next.
“Conform!” they said. “Be normal!” they said. What is ‘normal’ if not a method of satiating the human urge to fit in?
I was contented with my version, my edition, my attempt at something exceptional, even if it did appear to fail.
Because, after all:
Imperfection is merely unappreciated individuality.
Knowing someone is a strange concept.
Knowing someone, by definition, is made up of direct interaction on a personal level to the point where you are familiar with them.
But you never really know anyone. All that you know are the things that are made obvious, like names, or occupations, or birthdays, or hobbies, or likes, or dislikes, or physical appearance.
These are fabrications, superficialities. You never get to know what a person is truly made up of; what they are at their core.
Knowing people can also be quite a disappointing experience. The once mysterious, unknown individual that could potentially bring a dramatic divergence in a life’s path turns out to be a regular human being like the rest, with the baggage, the flaws, the backstories.
I think this might be why I find an obscure kind of solace in being in large crowds of strangers. None of them know of my baggage, my flaws, my backstory, and I their’s. All they see is a uniform ocean of humans. It’s this kind of anonymity that I find comforting. A sort of transient freedom from the constraints of everyday that transforms me into a blank canvas to be drawn upon.
Then, in a way, anonymity is an anaesthetic to familiarity: it does not permanently eradicate the memories or the people that know, but it palliates the symptoms briefly; like rubbing a hand over a chalkboard, it blends the outlines, though the words are still present underneath. It blurs the colours for a while.
It makes the world liveable for a while.
n. the vexation of photographing something beautiful when countless numbers of the same picture already exist, making the singular and remarkable subject seem cheap and inconsequential.
When someone asks you, “Who are you?”, how do you reply?
A name? An occupation?
But if that questioner could peel back the layers, the walls, the masks, and peer into your mind/soul/spirit, what would they find? Names and job titles are not branded on your brain, they are constructs created by humans to give themselves parameters for comparison.
So, who are you?
Are you a product of your experience? (This platitudinous phrase perpetually regurgitated by supposed ‘deep thinkers’ seems too clichéd to hold any actual sense of profundity, but the idea is still there.)
Or is a person defined by their actions? However, something I have come to learn is the fact that some individuals who present themselves as selfless are in fact only interested in ameliorating their self-image, and so this cannot be depended on as a measure of character from a third party’s perspective.
The point (to which I have taken an overly loquacious and circuitous route — sorry) is when I, myself, try to reflect my thoughts inward and deliberate on my own psyche, me as a human being, I draw a blank. I consider my experiences, I contemplate my actions, but nothing comes.
Simply put, I don’t know who I am.
Is this a symptom of the fatal condition called being a teenager, or is this something else?
Maybe there’s something wrong with me.
But where’s the joy in being normal, right?