To Be More Than An Insignificant Speck

Students from Antioch Community High School choose from any number of ways to express themselves and come out of their shells.

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To Be More Than An Insignificant Speck

Every single person is unique. All 7.442 billion people who walk the face of the Earth have something no one else among that number has. Every random passerby has a life as vivid and complex as one could possibly imagine. All of them posses their own ambitions, routines, opinions and worries. All of them, existing at once as a collective swirling galaxy of humanity, to which a single individual is only a speck of insignificant light. However, people may not be content to remain an insignificant speck. They desire to stand out, to be more than a passing pinprick in the fabric of the cosmos. They strive to shape themselves into something more unique than they already are, someone unparalleled among the billions of others.

Whether a student chooses to express themselves through their hair, their makeup, music or themselves—every single one is unique.

“I would say my taste in music would be the most interesting thing about me,” sophomore Tiyana Vickers said. “When I say I listen to bands and rap, [people say] ‘Wow, really?’”

Self expression through music is just one of the ways that students can really put themselves out there. Other students choose many aspects of themselves to manipulate and change.

“It depends on the day,” junior Allison Hoffelder said. “Some days [the most unique thing is] my lipstick and other days it’s my hair. My hair is always two different colors. The lipstick, depending on my mood, varies from plain red to four different colors at any given moment…I’m not a boring person and I want to show what’s going on inside on the outside.”

Other students choose one aspect to make completely their own.

“There’s not that much stuff that’s unique about me besides my hair,” freshman Isabelle Hunter said.

Whether the odd parts of a person are one or many, it is important for them to stand up and feel like an individual, no matter what challenges they may face. The challenges people go through to decide to stand up and say, “I’m one of a kind!” are oftentimes vast and numerous.

“There’s always going to be something people want to talk bad about, so who cares anymore; it doesn’t matter,” junior Ash Flackus said. “I stopped caring a while ago.”

Flackus is just one of many students who faced trials in their journey to stand apart from the crowd. She has faced and has overcome adversity in her trial to become the person that she wants to be, the person she is today. Hoffelder is just like her, having also braved terrifying odds to become the unique and wonderful person she is today.

“It’s really nerve-wracking to try a new lipstick design,” Hoffelder said. “Sometimes it’ll concern me what other people see because what if they think it’s ugly? But then I remember, it doesn’t super-matter because it’s not like they’re going to say it to my face, right?”

Other students, however, were taught from a young age that putting yourself out there is right. They believe in standing out and not caring for the opinions of others.

“My parents would always tell me [to not] be afraid to put yourself out there and [to not] be afraid to express yourself the way you feel like you should,” Vickers said.

Unlike Vickers, who was taught to become unique, other students adapted to uniqueness, taking to it like a fish to water. Some students like Hunter took what made her stand out in a negative way and used it to change herself for the better.

“In fourth grade, I went through a really hard time and everyone kind of singled me out as going through a hard time and I thought, ‘well, if I’m already singled out, I might as well stay that way,’” Hunter said. “[I enjoy being unique]; it’s fun.”

Taking the big step away from the mob mentality and into one’s own individual image may be nerve-wracking for some and even more terrifying for others. Accepting oneself is never a bad thing. It can give someone a sense of freedom, an escape from the pressures of being someone they didn’t want to become.

“I kind of have a new attitude in high school,” Hoffelder said. “It doesn’t [really] matter what happens now. It’s what you do in the future and if you’re happy right now, you just gotta keep rolling with the punches.”

Although these punches come, and come they will, all one has to do is stay true to themselves, no matter what others say.

“Sometimes I do [regret my choice to stand out] and then I look back and I think, ‘hey, I did it anyway; why not,’” Vickers said. “We only live once.”

In order to truly respect oneself and one’s choices, one must be an individual they can be proud of instead of an individual they’re being forced to play.

“I wanted to cut my hair because I wanted people to see me for how I wanted to see me,” Flackus said.

Flackus’ decision to cut her hair at a young age may have been intimidating at the time, but it was, ultimately, the right thing to do for her.

“I cut [my hair] at a very early age when everyone else was still just like, ‘You don’t have long hair. Where’s your hair,’” Flackus said. “I like the way it looks; it’s one way to express myself.“

Expressing oneself, like many students at Antioch, can be intimidating for some. Media, especially movies have created an ideal that simply isn’t true.

“Social media has a really big influence on how people see themselves now, which really sucks because it’s everywhere and anyone can share whatever they want, so sometimes there will be things that aren’t so nice,” Flackus said.

Even with such problems as social media, it is always important for a person to be who they want to be, do what they want to do and look how they want to look. Every person deserves to be more than just a passing pinprick on the fabric of the the cosmos.

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