You are not unique. No really. You’re not. You may be a genius, gifted, talented, hard-working, dogged even but you are not unique. You might be passionate, driven, interesting, intriguing or even odd but you are not unique.
Neither am I – the discovery of which was kind of a big blow considering my ‘uniqueness’ had been hammered into me by every teacher since Kindergarten. My parents have highlighted my ‘uniqueness’ within the hierarchy of my 12 person including three dogs and a cat nucleic family for years. But I am not unique.
Uniqueness is being one of its kind, unequalled, incomparable or unmatched.* It has, at its core, singularity.
I am not unique. ‘Unique’ can now be replaced with ‘not the only one’. I am not the only one.
Quite inadvertently, I discovered this unsettling truth. In my pursuit of academically justifying my ‘uniqueness’ (read Masters thesis), the infinitely helpful Google found an intriguing match to my research…a slightly deeper, more involved, published view. It discovered a book whose contents mirror image the rough draft of my thesis – the bibliography is nearly identical. I’ve been working on this thesis for two years. Apparently, so had someone else and they got there first.
In a state of mild ‘I’ve just wasted two years of my life’ panic, I ordered a copy of the book. I’ve spent the last two weeks coming to terms with my un-uniqueness while I awaited its arrival.
It arrived a week ago. I’ve read the introduction and the table of contents. I can now confirm. I am not unique.
I’ll be honest – this feels like a bad thing. It contradicts everything I’ve every been told (or told myself) about me.
So I have two choices, I can either get under the the train and let it crush me or I can get over it. While the idea of accepting the failure, lamenting the wasted time and bathing in a deep sea of self-pity seem quite inviting to me at the present moment, I know that I am being precious and pathetic.
That’s why this is Part 1 – because I know there’s a Part 2 in here somewhere.
*paraphrased definition courtesy of Dictionary.com