I don’t like to think of myself as an angry or jealous person. Especially because as of recently, I have been working on stepping back from situations that make me feel resentful and trying to examine why that certain situation warrants my reaction. Generally, it is not too difficult to come up with why something makes us angry: we feel attacked by harsh words, triggered by bad memories, or scared of possible outcomes. But, as I have been doing my own personal reflection, I can’t help but notice one thing that always irks me–copycats.
A few months ago, I began noticing how sometimes the people around me take my ideas or actions and began to “copy” them. In a way, I often didn’t care because ultimately I know that my ideas aren’t necessarily original or noteworthy. If somebody mimicked me, I wouldn’t be overcome with joy, but, I also wouldn’t feel that it gave way to an irascibility. This wasn’t until I began to see people copying the things I was most proud of, most passionate about.
Personally, writing has always been a little escape. I started keeping private journals from a very young age and only recently did I begin sharing my thoughts and emotions with the world. Mainly, I focus on topics that I am semi-knowledgable on, or at least things that I feel affect my community at large. That’s why, when I began seeing certain person(s) starting their own blog, writing about topics very similar to mine, and following my format, I felt attacked and almost like a piece of my personality was stolen. Every time I saw a new blog post, I noticed my irritation swelling. It wasn’t fair that there were people out there using my ideas, and the things I felt connected to as a way to “get ahead”. Slowly but surely, these people began posting more frequently, collaborating with larger influencers, and gaining a greater following. My little blog felt more insignificant than ever.
Nonetheless, I am keenly aware that like with anything, I can flip my lens upside down and train my brain to look at this situation from another standpoint. From my parents, I learned that “mimicry is the best form of flattery”. I never really liked this saying, because it always seemed like an excuse for people to copy others. Yet, to look at the glass half-full, I have to ask myself what the saying really entails. No, in terms of direct plagiarism the quote doesn’t make sense. More so, I work on viewing it like this: someone(s) thought that what I do is impressive enough to want to do it themselves. As I previously stated, no one idea is completely original, and before me there were hundreds of other teenagers writing to an online audience. I am not investing my time into this blog as a way to compete with anyone else. Instead, I write because I love to do it and because I can become more knowledgable on topics that are valuable to me.
I once read a book by Dodie Clark where she explained how she picked up the things she liked about people and incorporated them into her own personality. She explained, “I felt guilty about that for a while until I realized everyone is just a collage of their favorite parts of other people.” This quote has always stuck with me, because it forces me to remember that it’s normal to take what you like from others. To let go of anger and resentment in my life, I must realize that if people like the way I share my thoughts with others…then that’s an honor, and I don’t mind being part of their collage.
“When someone starts copying your style, you know that something must be happening.” -James Hetfield
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