How Unique Are You?

Back in the 80s and 90s when I worked in corporate America, I loved to wear beautiful suits.  It was always my intent to purchase suits that I didn’t think I’d see on anyone else at any particular time (living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin).  It’s not that I had goo-gobs of money to spend on one-of-a-kinds; I just prided myself on being a shopper of fine clothing of relatively reasonable value without breaking my wallet too much.

In the late 80s, I was participating in a training class for a large organization I worked for.  When I arrived at the classroom, I took my seat, waiting for the class to begin.  As I looked around, a woman walked in the door of the classroom wearing a beautiful black suit.  I admired it for its intricate detailing and stitching throughout.  I also noticed that the suit looked terrific on her, as it was a well-made suit.  As she walked closer to where I was seated, I made an observation that absolutely made me sick that day – she’s wearing my suit, on the same day I had the same suit on myself!!!  I was absolutely mortified!!!  Really!!!

From that day on, I vowed I’d never wear that suit again.  And I never did.  In a sense, I felt violated.  Of course, the woman wearing the suit didn’t do anything wrong.  She merely had great taste, as I did.  Yet, I felt as though I was being copied.  I felt as though, as writers would say, I was being plagiarized!  There was more than one of me!  And if there was more than one of me, one of those “me’s” was not needed.

How ridiculous, you say?  Yes, ridiculous it is.  Until I can afford to purchase one-of-a-kinds (which I don’t even have a desire to do), there will always be a woman who is wearing those shoes I just purchased yesterday.  There will always be a woman who is wearing that same blouse I bought last week.  There will always be a woman who is wearing that same dress I bought last month.  And I might even personally see that woman donning those shoes, that blouse, that dress.  And get this…she might even look better in those pants than I do (which, at the moment, is entirely possible given the 15 pounds I need to drop).

Yet, I no longer have this feeling that I’m being copied, that I’m no longer unique when I see someone sporting “my” clothes.  After a fire consumed all of my belongings while I was attending graduate school in the early 90s, I had to learn to shop differently to regain a small portion of what I’d lost and to try to rebuild (after not having renter’s insurance).  And I wanted the same stuff I had before.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t afford to pour out the same amount of money as I did before I entered graduate school.  So I found discount shops and outlets (Loehmann’s, T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, Filene’s Basement, and now, Value City), which means that I will someday see another woman in my clothes, on the exact day I’m donning the same outfit.

Does that mean that I’m no longer unique?  Absolutely not!

The outer garments does not a sistah make!

It’s what’s inside that makes all of us unique.  It’s what God has blessed us with that makes us one-of-a-kind.  I am guaranteed that there is no one like me on this earth (that should be a relief for my husband), and that no matter what I wear, I have gifts and talents the world needs.  I’m just trying to figure out what the world needs and how I can get it out there.

Ladies, has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever felt like you’re a carbon copy and therefore, that you’re not needed?

Let me reassure you – it’s a lie!  Don’t believe it!

What makes me unique?

  • I have three degrees that I can probably use virtually anywhere, if I put my mind to it.
  • I can tell funny stories of how I walked into a brick wall when I was in elementary school and broke my front tooth.
  • I’ve only had one cavity in my entire life, and I didn’t get it until I was 21 years old!
  • I look young for my age.
  • I’ve never gotten a job by sending out resumes.
  • I spent 12 weeks on hospital bedrest during my pregnancy and only gained 37 pounds.
  • I have the most wonderful daughter and most loving, caring, gifted husband in the whole wide world!

All of these experiences inform who I am.  And no one, absolutely no one, has experienced what I’ve experienced collectively.  Together, these experiences make me one unique woman.  And no one can take that away.

I’d like to know, what makes you unique?

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14 comments

  1. KWiz says:

    Hi Romantic Ideas!

    Yes, indeed. The people God places in our lives do truly help us become what God has called us to be!

  2. Camille Crawford says:

    Kwiz,
    I take unique to a level where it becomes a foreign word, such as ‘outcast’ or ‘radical’ (termed by my brother when I was 21). Unique could have also been a polite way of saying I didn’t fit in. That was during the previous part of my life where I was trying to be accepted for being who I was, which was very obviously different from everyone else.
    I’ve come to realize the uniqueness in the world is widespread and still often misunderstood but a fact nonetheless. We are unique by the very fact of the skin we are in. I suppose what makes us unique ‘within’ is the way we think and the actions we choose. You’re right… it’s not the clothes we wear or the style of our hair. I am unique because I was never able to think like society wanted me to. I tried. But I couldn’t help but see with my own eyes. You know, in a room full of adults who are not saying what they are thinking, then the one child in the room pipes up and says the obvious yet it mortifies all the adults to have it said aloud? Yes? Well, that was, has been, and always will be me. LOL!

    Thanks Kwiz, nice post,
    Camille

  3. crunchy says:

    I grew up wearing a lot of hand me downs…but weirdly never felt that I had to work really hard at the unique thing….I have rarely gotten upset when seeing people wear the same clothes….I was, instead, always struck by how different clothes look on different people.

    We are all unique.
    All different.

  4. Princess Haiku says:

    Your post has me thinking about Western Culture and our need to be unique. -How at times that need becomes oppressive. I don’t pay all that much attention to my clothes although I do a seasonal “tune-up.” I can relate to your horror of “sameness” though. If someone had the exact same books on their shelves it would make me uneasy. I am using to defining myself as “different.” Tomorrow, as an experiment I am going to think about all the ways that I enjoy being the “same as.” I found you via Camille.

  5. KWiz says:

    Camille, it sounds like you may have been the most authentic one in the room. I’m attempting to get there myself. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

  6. KWiz says:

    Hi crunchy,
    Indeed, as Camille said, in our own “individual” skins, we are all unique. Sometimes I think many of us don’t view ourselves that way. Especially teenage girls. I really should say, though, that as far as teenage girls are concern, uniqueness may not be the goal anyway. That peer pressure can be ridiculous.

  7. KWiz says:

    Hi Princess Haiku,
    Your comment that our need to be unique in Western Culture becomes oppressive at times is quite interesting. In my opinion, I think it’s more that people aren’t comfortable being different, unique, that it can become oppressive to want to be like everyone else in a particular group. It’s like me wanting to have a certain body type because it seems those types of women are more attractive to lots of men, for example (yes, a superficial example). We, as women, so often compare ourselves to others, not content with who we are because, unfortunately, we listen to so many about who we should be, instead of honoring who we really are, differences and all. But commonality can be celebrated as well!

  8. Lynda Walldez says:

    Wow, very inspirational post. Although I believe I will have to follow up with my response with my own blog post about what makes me unique. Your post is quite insightful. And you really are quite unique. 😀

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