Are you afraid of being basic? Are you afraid of being like everyone else? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then I encourage you to ask yourself why that is.
Everyone is on a quest to seek individuality. We all want to be different. We all want to be someone who can be easily distinguished from others. But why?
Do we seek to be different because we feel think we’re better than other people? Do we seek to be different because we want to stand out? Are we different just because we don’t care what everyone else is doing and we’re doing what makes us comfortable?
I think that a lot of us have a fear of being basic, so we do things that will make us stand out. We wear exotic outfits, we use weird words, we watch strange movies, we do things we might not want to do just to do the unexpected.
Sometimes we even refuse to do things simply because they’re the norm. For instance, I used to refuse to drink coffee because that’s what everyone else did. (Now I drink it. And I regret it, because I didn’t used to need it; now I do.)
We all have an inborn desire for non-conformity. We want to be unique. We want to buck the system, break the rules, redefine the color wheel. But that’s when the lines between basic and unique are blurred. If everyone is doing the same things in a pursuit of being different, then aren’t they all just being basic?
There are a lot of negative reactions to the basic label. Nobody wants that title. But somewhere along the way in my life, I decided that it was OK to be basic sometimes, when it comes to outward appearances.
At the end of the day, my taste in food, my style in clothes or the music I listen to are not what make me me. If you are defining me based on what I eat or wear, then you don’t know me, and I don’t need to prove anything to you by appearing different.
We can take comfort in the fact that we’re all different and unique on the inside. Each one of us, by our very gift of creation, is one-of-a-kind in the eyes of God. There is no way we can’t be unique because he didn’t make any of us the same.
If you’re avoiding things you love or doing things you hate because you’re afraid of being basic, then there is a problem.
Now, maybe the fear of the basic isn’t a common problem here at Franciscan. The sheer uniformity of Birkenstocks found on campus, not to mention the fact that I hear the same soundtracks being played at every social event, is enough to make me wonder if I’m just preaching to the choir.
But people everywhere are searching for individuality, sometimes at the cost of their character.
If people want to call me basic because I like chicken nuggets and mac ‘n’ cheese more than filet mignon, and because I wear hoodies and jeans instead of cute, creative outfits, then that’s fine. I’m not going to give up what I like just to be different. And there is so much more to who I am than what I eat and wear.
None of us are really basic; we just need to learn how to express ourselves, to allow our unique personalities to shine above the basic nature that we all share.
Be yourself but don’t try too hard. The harder we try to be unique, the more danger we are in of being basic.
So don’t be afraid of being basic. No matter how basic you may appear on the outside, you are truly unique and amazing on the inside. And that’s what matters.
We should all give basic a shot sometime; we might learn a thing or two about our fellow humanity. I’m willing to give it a chance now and then.
Fair warning, though: I will never conform to boba tea or sushi. And pumpkin spice lattes? Just no.