24 September 2010

The Art of Being Different

I recently surprised myself with the realization that for pretty much all of last year, I was a mouse.

A look-alike, talk-alike clone who didn't say much of anything or wear crazy/fashion-oriented outfits. A mouse who huddled behind her brand name clothes and peeped out from time to time to talk about normalnormalnormal things in a quietquiet voice.

This mini-epiphany came about while listening to the song "That's Not My Name" by the Ting Tings (a crazy, 80's-sounding band with utterly random and crunchy songs). Look at these lyrics:

I never say anything at all / So with nothing to consider / They forget my name.
I was stuck in a ditch of my own making. I had four, perhaps five people I talked to on a regular basis at school. I kept my head down, my back hunched, my book bag plain. I sat with the same people every single day and ate my every-day-the-same sandwich in silence. My makeup made me look tired and wan, and I straightened my curly-Q hair just to blend in. (I kid you not, there are two other girls with curly/kinky hair in my grade, and they mostly straighten it.)

In other words, I was a vanilla-pudding of a person: good enough if you're starved for a snack but utterly boring.

Somehow, over the summer, I must have unconsciously decided to do away with the mouse-persona. Because this year?

This year my hair is extremely curly — I mean extremely. My eyeliner-and-shadow adventures are much more epic, but actually compliment my features. I'm wearing clothes off of runways and going crazy with my style. I'm sitting with new people now, and skip around tables at lunch — eating with Genny and co. one day, with Emily and co. the next, and Erin and co. another. I'm making new friends and I'm making them fast.

People respect me now — I am my own person.

And you know what?

The crazy clothes and epic makeup and curly hair and random speeches all get me compliments. Why? Because I think that people in general admire and respect people who are different. Not epically different (as in Mars-type different) or different in a hide-behind-my-books-and-glare-at-any-human-who-dares-disturb-me way (though at home, that's mostly what I do). But just different enough to dare call attention to oneself.

Being different is what makes people popular, not being the same as everyone else. Think about it: the most admired people in your school probably aren't cookie-cutter clones. (Maybe my school's the exception to the rule, but I'm pretty sure your quote-unquote "popular crowd" have something special about them.)
For a long time, I couldn't understand this. Now I do, and I'm practically a celebrity. (The Taylor Swift video may have helped this along, but still...)

It's an art. They ought to offer classes on being different.


  1. Oh my gosh! I used to blend in with everyone one and everything. Now I wear really crazy things like Blue, Black, Yellow (Neon), Green, and Purple shoes (all in one pair of shoes.) I wear jeans (and I do own a pair of neon YELLOW jeans, but I refuse to wear those in public) mostly everyday now. It is awesome to stand out and look different.

  2. So i guess this means that olive tree is here to stay?! :)

  3. wow, thats really inspiring. :)


  4. Actually, the 'popular' crowd in my grade isn't all too spectacular. They are only your average American teenagers- your 'cookie cutter clones.'

    But being yourself is something really important- a great art. I just wish I'd master this art. I'm waaay too shy, though, and I guess that's sort of why I feel like the 'mouse persona' you described.

  5. So this means that Olive Tree with the beautiful curly hair that I am completely jelous of is showing of the lovely curls?

    And that make-up. Wonderful my dear! It looks amazing on you. With you being so into fashion, I would love to see your new off the runway look.


  6. I love be myself, and not blending in with everyone else.

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  8. no offense to you in the least... but who cares about popular? it seems to me like you changed yourself to become popular. I personally think just be you for the sake of being you--Who cares/needs to be popular?

    just a thought.

  9. That's a nice post, Olive Tree. :)

  10. Megan: That's the thing, last year I DID care. This year I don't and I feel so much more free. :)

  11. The great thing about being different and random is that no one knows what to expect from day to day ;)

  12. I want to break away from my mousness. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm in honors La/Social studies... I don't know many people outside of that, but I do love my friends. We're crazy, but our clothes blend in. Our hair blends in, and we fit right in with everyone else... But thats the problem. This summer I really started to break away. I started trying new ideas, mixing and matching, and trying to throw together a cute outfit thats original. Somde days I managed it, some I didn't. But I know I need to not just fit in with everyone else. But now that school has started... I'm becoming more mouse-like...

    And you know how on the pic it says Be Your Own Person? Heres my response:

    Everyone else is taken :)

    So, as much as you want to fit in, and not be noticed, thats what you have to do. You have to become your own person, not a clone...

    I truly am a mouse though, because all the "popular" people at school, who are in my class are just like "Who's that?" whenever I'm mentioned...


  13. Thanks Olive Tree. That was encouraging.

    I have tried blending in at my youth group. I have very curly hair, much like yours and I straightened my hair to be noticed,but I wasn't at all, in fact, I have found, I am more ignored.

    I still try to blend in sometimes and I do sometimes straighten my hair but I honestly, it seems to make me look prettier if I keep it curly.

    Again, thanks for the encouragement. :D

    ~Briony Katie

  14. Yeah, I wear crazy things at school- one day I wore checkerboard leggings with knee-high patchwork Chucks over them! And it's because I love how I look in them.
    Uh, the "popular" kids, or at least most of them, are pretty average at my school. They wear floral tank tops (which I like, but are worn too much there) or tees with the name of the store of them, and denim shorts or skinny jeans (which I like too, both of them- but I go daring with them: super-skinny shapes, twist-wash coloring, or colorful embroidery on the back pockets).

  15. Wow Olive Tree! Amazing amazing post!! Love love loved it! Thanks.... gave me inspiration.


  16. I just want to say,


    Seriously. I will trade you. :)


  17. Great for you Olive Tree. I think a lot of use "including myself" are coming out of their shell.

  18. Great post Olive Tree I'm glad you shared that.
    Since I'm homeschooled I don't get much of a chance to compare clothes, hair, makeup and personalities but I know one thing:

    I've always been different. One time when some girls were hanging out I tried to fit in and I tried to make them like me but after that I wanted to be my own person. They weren't nice girls and they were all vanilla puddings ;)

    I've always been my own person though, I've nevee tried to be popular except for that one time and I never really cared about popularity, which I think is why I am so popular ;)
    Thanks for sharing that with us!


  19. I love being different, even if it doesn't quite jive with everyone else; being different and yourself just feels so GREAT.

  20. I love being different and being myself. But it's not about the popularity for me. It's just about keeping it real.

    Lovely post, Olive Tree. Very inspirational. :)

  21. Actually I thought you always had your own style - at least while I've know you! I'm so pleased you're finding out more about who you are. Go with it girl and let the fun begin!

  22. be yourself everyone else is already taken. ~Oscar Wilde

  23. ...just wanted to say that i am so glad you decided to be oustandingly different, because I LOVE YOUR CURLY HAIR. =) it is so freakin awesome girl!!!

  24. Amazing post Olive Tree! I totally agree: Being your own person is awesome. I've always been the outgoing, do my own thing kind girl. I've never gone to school, so like Hannah said I've never really been around "popular kids" or a lot of differet styles (whether they're bland or bright)
    Oh, and by the way: YoUr HaIr Is AmAzInG!! I soo wish I had hair like yours. Mine is straight, flat as a pancake, and dark blonde. Anyway, being myself rocks! :)


  25. Olivia, I truly did need to read this! I struggle each day with trying to blend in and be just like everybody else; especially two close friends of mine.

    They shop at Aeropostle; therefore I feel like I have to. They constantly flirt/have crushes on guys; therefore I feel like I am forcing myself to like somebody.

    It's crazy.

    Wonderful post though! =)


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