Sui generis?

photo by pitter painter

(My lack of posts since the last one are not because I’ve had nothing to say. I’ve actually had so much on my mind that I’m not so sure how to consolidate the firing of my synapses into readable material. I have started several drafts which I’ve then hastily abandoned for one reason or another…So…Hi again!)

I have been thinking a lot about uniqueness. It’s possible this is a result of the obsessive way my husband and I have been consuming Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. A few late night marathons observing the Cylon clones interact with the human race can mess with your mind.

So, I wonder are we really unique?

For me this is dangerous territory because I have spent the last decade or more believing and preaching that we are all different. That every person has a special “calling” or purpose they are meant to fulfill. We are each “one of a kind”, right? This idea, however, seems to unravel as I encounter more people along my journey. I meet these new people and I’m reminded of someone I’ve known before. I see personality doppelgangers everywhere. So and so reacts to conflict the same way so and so does…she is passionate about _____ just like ______…he treats women the same way ______ does…and so on and so on.

I don’t like this train of thought at all. I want to be different. To stand out from the crowd. Perhaps out of some false belief that this somehow means that I matter. Most of us feel this way. I know A LOT of people who freak out if someone tries to label them (i.e. “Call me a hipster, hippie, feminist, or–insert much hated stereotype here–and I will break your face!”). Seems a bit extreme but things can get heated when it comes to our identity.

I had to find my way out of this maze of deconstruction and I think I discovered it in the wee hours of the morning (rather than sleeping). Maybe there are a numerous amount of women and men on this tiny planet who see things as I do, who get lost in their own head, avoid conflict like it’s the swine flu and interact with the world in the same way as me. And maybe that’s okay.

While our personalities may be near copies of one another, I think what really makes us unique is our stories. I may be built like you in many ways, but we are not made up of the exact same memories and experiences (good and tragic). At the same time, I believe the pages of our lives connect us to each other in ways that we really don’t understand. Try it sometime. Tell someone your tale. Listen to theirs and you will find intimacy.*

*I would warn that one danger here is when we find ourselves comparing our scars to someone else’s. Measuring our pain against the tragedies that others have experienced and concluding that our wounds are worse can only leave us stuck in victim mode. But I think this subject is fodder for an entirely different post. I’m sure I will have more to say later. 😉