Trying Hard Convinces No One

Last Friday, I took a non-UCSD friend of mine to a party on campus. It was a rare occurrence (the on-campus party, not the friend), but it did take place. As I pointed out the people I knew and made various comments, my eyes settled on one particular person. I had seen her around several times throughout the year. I had even found myself in proximity to her a few times. I had witnessed an argument she had with another student over a trivial matter. All of these occurrences led me to one conclusion: The girl really annoys me.

Now before you start bringing up the subject of the last article I wrote, about how girls are bitches, and before you start pointing fingers, let me explain why this person annoys me. She wears “”funky”” clothes. She dyes her hair a very unnatural shade. She sports a nose ring (and she’s not Indian). She is in the habit of rebelling against whatever system is at hand. On this particular night, she was dancing with some friends, flailing her arms wildly about, giving off an air that practically screamed, “”I will not be conventional! I am unique! I am an individual, hear me roar — no wait, too many people use that expression. I must come up with something different!””

People try too hard to be individuals these days. Obviously, no two people on this planet are alike. There is nothing wrong with being true to oneself. There is something wrong when one goes to great lengths to demonstrate it to the rest of the world.

You know what I’m talking about. That guy, the one in your class who always raises his hand to make a counterpoint to whatever the professor has just said — what do you call him? Smart ass. He could talk to the professor after class, or go to office hours to discuss his opinion with the professor instead of wasting class time. So why doesn’t he? Because he wants to show off. OK, so maybe he is smart, but does anyone appreciate his intelligence?

How about that geeky guy you knew in high school, the one who came home the summer after freshman year in college with a goatee? In high school he was considered a nerd, and now that he’s a “”man””, off to college, he can’t return home without showing some sign of change or maturity. The most obvious way to do this? Grow some facial hair.

It’s the same idea with Rebel Girl and people like her. In the same way that Smart-Ass Guy and Goatee Guy don’t convince you of their intellect and maturity, respectively, Rebel Girl doesn’t convince me of her self-assurance. It’s not really about the clothes, the hair or the way she looks. (I guess some people genuinely think it’s attractive to have obviously dyed hair.)

It’s more about the attitude. When I saw her going to extreme lengths to rebel — involved in an argument over a trivial matter concerning $5 — I realized that she was trying too hard to constantly go against the grain. And I am of the belief that people who try too hard are only trying to prove something to themselves.

Anyone who is truly sure of himself does not feel the need to prove it to others. If Smart-Ass Guy were really secure in his intelligence, he would not need to broadcast it to the entire class. If Goatee Guy had really matured during his first year of college, he would realize that altering his physical appearance to impress people is actually very immature.

While I’m sure that Rebel Girl is unique in her own weird way, she does a very poor job of proving her sincerity. Rebellion serves its purpose when directed against oppression and injustice. It becomes, however, paltry and pathetic when one uses it indiscriminately to prove a point.

The bottom line is that people who try too hard don’t convince anyone — anyone intelligent, at least. While some people really are true to themselves by looking different or going against the grain, it’s really easy to tell which ones are genuine and which ones are just insecure and searching for an identity or a way to assert themselves.

So as far as I’m concerned, Rebel Girl can pierce five more body parts or dye her hair a multitude of colors. I’m still not convinced that she is anything special.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2320
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2320
$500
Contributed
Our Goal