People can be really cool, unique, or weird on the surface.  There’s the emo-gothic guy with the six-inch platform shoes on, trench coat, and gobs of eyeliner.  There’s the bling-bling black guy with $200 Jordan’s on, 26-inch rims, and hard looking entourage of seven.  There’s the artsy-hipster with a half-shaved head, tattoo sleeves, and brakeless fixie.  There’s the diehard nature lover with no TV, a bike worth more than her car, and year-round Chaco tan.  There’s the all-American dude with the Lacoste polo on, Range Rover, and Barbie-looking trophy wife.  These archetypes are nearly infinite.  Some of them go together like oil and water.  Some of them are hard to relate to, depending on where you’re coming from.  But somebody is actually living like every kind of person there is.  Each representation is the expression of a choices made to portray such an outward appearance.  Nothing happens on accident.

But my point here isn’t to explore why people make the choices they do.  I don’t think it’s even possible to speculate why some people want to represent themselves as clean cut and pretty, while others prefer grungy and disheveled.  My point, however, is that people are people.  Beneath all of the panache, the ornamentations, the pretenses, and the facades, people are mostly the same.  Lines that seem very thick are actually hair thin.

Being that I’m half-white, half-black, and dabble in activities that are stereotypically popular to both sides, I’ve had a chance to interact with many different kinds of people.  I’m always amazed by how “normal” eccentric or unconventional people are.  Some are weird.  Some are intimidating.  But real, personal conversation leaves the outward appearance irrelevant—it melts away the mystery.  At the end of the day, people are motivated by the same basic things: they want to be loved; they want to be accepted; they want to be respected; and they want to do things they derive pleasure from.  That’s about it.  The desire to achieve those things takes on different forms.  But those desires are more important than the forms they take.  I see it like different colors of a car.  Some people prefer the car to be white.  Some people prefer the car to be red. But the actual car is the same.

A good example is to look at what people’s reasons are for what they like to do.  Very few people I’ve encountered have deep, detailed philosophical answers.  Hands down the most common answer is: I like it.  Why do you get so many tattoos? I like them.  Why do you run 50 miles-per-week? I like it.  Why did you spend $100,000 on a car? I like it.  Why do you bench 450 pounds and want to increase weight? I like it.  Why do you climb 14ers every weekend? I like it.  I’ve talked to crazy looking people with tattoos on their faces, foot-high mohawks, and African-sized gauges in their ears, who don’t even have a real reason behind the eccentricity besides saying that they like it.  That’s about it.

What is crazy, though, is how deep the judgment runs in regard to something so shallow.  Don’t mix an inner-city “thug” with a cowboy.  Don’t mix a dirty hipster with an Abercrombie & Fitch doppelganger.  They’re almost natural enemies, right? But again, I guarantee you that they’re all motivated by those basic aforementioned desires.  We’re all just people trying to survive and get by.  The means by which we express ourselves is simply the manifestation of what we like—nothing more.


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