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Twelve Apostles

In a world of floral buttons ups, over the top socks and “side cut” hairstyles, how could anyone be expected to stand out? Society tells us to be our own person. Even as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints we are constantly taught that we are each INDIVIDUAL spirit children of our Heavenly Father with INDIVIDUAL talents and attributes. However, we don’t seem to be practicing what we preach. You can’t walk half a Provo-city block without running into another one of these Stance sock wearing superstars (I believe the local term is “Provo All-stars”). But honestly who can blame them?

Who wouldn’t want to wear a pair of bright green and yellow mid-calf socks with cacti and lizards on them? My point is, what once was cool and unique has now become the mainstream and nobody seems to mind that we all walk around looking like a carbon copy of the last 10 guys that walked down the street, or more often than not, rode down it on their “rad” new longboard. While I don’t see a real problem with the button-up shirt fad, (though I do think buttoning it up to the top button is a little much), the “fashionable” hairstyles of today or even the new trend of socks with 90’s NBA players them, my argument is that of individuality.

Which brings us to the underlining question I wish to bring to your attention, why is individuality so important? Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated in October of 2013 that, “Heavenly Father has made each of us unique. No two of us have exactly the same experiences”. That’s doctrine folks, but if that doesn’t quite do it for you, Mary N. Cook gave us this gem in January 2014, “Have you ever felt lonely? Do you notice those who are lonely, living in a black-and-white world?

Young women (we could include BYU students here), I’ve watched as you bring your UNIQUE color into the lives of others with your smiles, your kind words, or a note of encouragement. ” So maybe we have it all wrong? The way to bring “color” into an otherwise “black-and-white” world isn’t by wearing even brighter green socks but, by the simple, positive acknowledgment of our fellow beings. Alright, confession time. I too own my share of button up shirts, while lacking the floral print, I’ve done what any other single college student would do to stay stylish enough to get a date.

However, after an internal battle between what I knew was “in” and what I personally thought was cool, I was faced with what could possibly be the most important decision of our generation, top button or not? Paraphrasing my boy Shakespeare, “To top button, or not to top button, that is the question”. In a desperate attempt to “do me” I not only left the top button undone, but I then proceeded to unbutton the second button as well in a sort of silent revolution to the societal norm. Talk about #thugmormon. Okay, all jokes aside.

The problem lies much deeper than how we wear our shirts, how many different colors we can somehow put on one pair of socks, or even the trendy hairstyles. The underlying problem I continue to see is that our individuality as a society seems to be at an all time low. What can we do as individuals to combat the constant attacks on our individuality? I think the answer lies in having confidence. We can’t let our peers determine what is “in” and what is “out”. Who has the right to tell me that my growing collection of plain colored Hanes t-shirts isn’t cool?

Seneca, a Spanish-born Roman statesman and philosopher may have put it best, “A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature. ” In today’s vernacular, if we want to be happy, let’s just do us. What are some major issues that could possibly surface because of this ever increasing problem? While researching this topic I came across what has become one of my new favorite quotes and life mottos, “follow a crowd and you will never be followed by a crowd”. Our communities are in need of individuals in a wide variety if fields.

We need to break through the shell of society and become the type of people we want to be, not what the crowd tells us we need to be to fit in. If we continue to follow others and imitate their actions we are involuntarily chasing their dreams. We must become our own person to reach our own goals and individual potential. There are plenty of excellent examples of people who, despite outside pressures from fans/society decided to stick to what made them who they are. George Watsky, an American rapper and poet, may be the definition of originality.

Despite multiple opportunities to “sell out”, Watsky has stayed true to his roots and own unique rap and poetry style. In 2011 T-mobile approached Watsky about rapping to promote their newest phone, the sidekick. Watsky was offered $25,000 dollars to do the promotion, but in the end rejected the offer. He later stated during a Q&Q with fans that, “At the end of the day I realized they had no interest in letting me be myself, and it was a lot of money to walk away from and I’m so glad that I did now. For George Watsky it wasn’t and has never been about the money or the fame, it has always been about doing what he loves and doing.

He reiterates this same idea in his song “4AM” saying, “If I just get 15 minutes I’m gonna stay myself, and when that 16th minute comes then I won’t hate myself. ” This man is a legend. I don’t mean to come across as insensitive to the fake prescription glass, jean-leg rolling students of BYU, I am sure there are hundreds, if not thousands of reasons why spending $15 dollars on a pair of socks inspired by Dwayne Wade or Rhianna (yes, they actually make these things), is worth it.

I jut don’t see it yet? However, the claims I wish to make aren’t those of fashion or being hip, it is that of becoming the person you enjoy being. Who sets this social hierarchy of fads anyway? Why listen to others when the first person you need to impress, after our Heavenly Father of course, is yourself. The late Ethel Barrett, a Christian writer, speaker, and storyteller, once said, “We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do. ” When stated that way it all just seems to be so simple, and it is.

We make it way too hard on ourselves. What defines us as individuals really has nothing to do with what we have, but it has everything to do with who we are. In conclusion, our world today is filled with so many swings in pop culture and fads that it is nearly impossible to keep up and it is equally impossible to maintain our individuality. As a society we are slowly losing those unique qualities that make each one of us a vital member of our communities and religious institutions.

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