Those They Call “Hipster”

At this point, calling someone a hipster seems like an insult. It’s just ironic to me that people actively try to “go against the grain” and avoid anything considered “mainstream,” but they simultaneously make their own cliche that in of itself becomes mainstream. What a strange line to cross.

A line that very much confuses me. I certainly don’t consider myself falling into this category, and yet I still feel myself falling into stereotypes they might portray. Which isn’t my fault. But I still for some reason feel a sense of guilt for it.

I have a music taste that is what many call “eclectic.” I know the names of some current artists on the top charts and on the radio twenty times a day, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about what’s popular or not, what songs people are listening to. I generally find new music from lots of digging, and I’ve come to a point where I don’t even try anything that is not a high enough rating. Probably crazy and excessive, but I have a sense of confidence and individuality in having a diverse but specific type of music I gravitate toward.

Not only the music do I dwell upon as potentially not as unique as I might envision it as. I now only really go for thrift shopping for clothes whenever possible, avoiding any fast fashion. My style is generally more bohemian-esque and vintage-inspired. Which again, sounds hipster to me.

I now wear exclusively glasses on a regular basis. I could spend all day in a bookstore, especially a used bookstore. I am usually on Tumblr at least once a day. I read Edgar Allan Poe outside of an English classroom. I relish dreary rainy days. I support local businesses, especially when they happen to be coffee shops. I don’t keep up with popular TV shows or movies. Heck, some may even go as far as to say suffering from chronic mental illness is hipster (which, to burst that bubble, it’s not). The examples go on.

But the reason I want to stop myself before I completely denounce everything I enjoy, I want to make an important distinction. When saying someone is hipster, that means that they truly are a walking contradiction. Their attempt at being edgy and different is ultimately becoming one of the sheep in the flock. They embody just another stereotypical “genre” of young people trying to find their own identity and clinging to one that is clear and neatly laid out for them. That’s just a simple fact when coming of age.

But this is where I hope I deviate from that. I don’t mindlessly follow the trends of others and fit myself into that mold. I’m not trying to please anybody else but myself when I search out new books to read and podcasts to listen to. I have clear reasons that I enjoy certain artists and pastimes over others. I have no need to impress others or devalue others’ favorite things by toting how hard I try to not be “basic.”

Why can’t we just enjoy what we enjoy and not try to categorize it in certain social expectations? Yes, I’m guilty of seeing someone having an appearance or enjoying activities that I immediately jump to labeling. That was my entire spring semester living with roommates who listen to Spotify’s Top 40 radio station and talk about watching Shonda Rhimes dramas. They were people that I really struggled to relate to, but is it my right to judge them based on those observations? Not really.

I can’t help having a critical view of the world. I’m included in that mix, too. That’s what this entire post is about: the way I view myself and how others may or may not view me. I ask myself, why do I care so much? Why am I spending this whole post today as a stream of consciousness? Because when keeping this internal dialogue to myself, I could be holding myself back from relating to others. I know I’m the only one out there in this big wide world thinking similar thoughts. People who might be judging themselves to the point that it holds them back from living their best life and being their complete self. People who think that world fits into certain cookie-cutter traits, clean cuts distinguishing black from white.

But guess what? We’re human. Life is messy. We don’t go through life as if running in a rat maze, sticking on a clear path for the cheesy end-goal. We have the freedom to explore and learn something new about ourselves every day. We are always evolving. What we might hate one day we eventually enjoy, and vice versa.

Having labels and stereotypes can help us understand others, but they need to stop there because there is so much more to us. So much more than our iTunes libraries, our bookshelves, our closets, our lives viewed simply from face value.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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