Thank you, Monica Hadsall, for this seed sentence:
“I find it difficult to be consistently original.”
This sentence is a perfect example. It took me five tries to choose the word “consistently”. “Always” is plain vanilla. “Regularly” is boring. “Continually”? Nah. Maybe “neverendingly”. That won’t work – sounds too much like a story with a wise and furry white dragon. “Consistently”. Now there’s a nice, solid, pleasant-sounding word. It’s sort of, well, perfectly suited for the job. Truthfully, I’d prefer “all-embracing” but that’s not so understandable and the editor might not like it.
We’re born to be original, but that’s difficult from the day we arrive. Original is what we pop out intending to be. “I’ll be the one and only me!” We are ready to dance, sing, laugh, and embrace life! It’s gonna be grand this time around! We’ll live up to our intentions. Be what we came to be. Do what we came to do. Learn what we came to learn. Help the world with all our talents and abilities. Venture out into fresh, unformed territory with daring new ways of being and then invite others to join us. Wow!
And then that happens. Rules. Regulations. Appropriateness. Suitability. Other people’s opinions. That which is tolerated, and that which is not.
Come on, people! I’m not purposefully setting out to rattle your cages. But, hey, you are in cages. You’ve taken in everyone else’s beliefs, opinions, and insistifications, and are using their demands to build your own cage. (I made up “insistifications” because it says what I want to say and at least in this one sentence, I’m going to be original!)
You built the cage, so it’s your job to dismantle it. But those limitations aren’t iron bars like you imagine. They’re just lots of little sticks bundled together. With one original action at a time, you can disassemble them.
Did you ever play that game “Pick-Up-Sticks”? Where you dump out a bundle of colorful sticks onto the floor and then carefully pick up one at a time off the pile, trying to not move any of the other sticks? That’s one hard game to play. When you move one stick, the other sticks lose their balance and move too. That’s what happens when you start to be original in life. You move a stick. Everything shifts around that and it dismantles your cage. People who were comfortable because you fit the norms become uncomfortable because now you don’t. Now your norm is to be original. To fit in with you, they will have to be original too. If they aren’t ready to move their cage’s sticks, they eventually move off to play an easier game with normal people. All those people who used to irritate you and hold you back with their incessant complaining and bitching dissolve from your life. Wonderful! But…
Here’s where it gets confusing. When they leave, you feel bad. Guilty. Unsure. They aren’t pleased with you anymore. You blew it, and now you’re alone.
Being alone with your magnificent originality is sometimes really close to being liberated.
Hang in there. Because something magical is going to happen. One or two of those friends are going to see you dismantle your cage and they will say to themselves, “If she does it, maybe I can, too”. So they try it. They do something original, too, and feel empowered. Now you started something. And strangers who’ve been struggling out there all alone, trying to be authentic, notice the new game your group is playing, and they say, “Hey! If you do it, I can too.”
Now the magic really begins to flow.
You started a movement. A “Be Weird” movement, because you want to celebrate originality. You push out the boundaries, spread your wings to fly, and suddenly other people want to be joyful like you. So they ask you, “Whatsup?”
And you say, “Absolutely nothing.”
Then they ask, “How do we do that?”
And you say, “No rules. Just be yourself.”
That’s scary, because most people haven’t practiced that. So they say, “Give me some guidelines.”
And you laugh, saying, “No guidelines; just the truth. Be the one and only you! Ready to dance, sing, laugh, and embrace life! It’s gonna be grand this time around! You’ll live up to your intentions. Be what you came to be. Do what you came to do. Learn what you came to learn. Help the world with all your talents and abilities. Venture out into fresh, unformed territory with daring new ways of being and then invite others to join you.”
And then you have them write down these words to carry with them:
“Being alone with your magnificent originality is sometimes really close to being liberated.”
– Ellie Hadsall, May 9, 2018
From the author: “This story is part of my “Random Sentences; Random Stories” series. Individuals have contributed random sentences from which I write a short story. I never know what the sentence will evoke until I begin writing. The results are greatly varied and take me on adventures of insight. I hope you enjoy them!”
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