On being a special snowflake in a community full of them

Guest post by nyghtbeauty
Converse wedding party

It's an odd thing I've discovered in my time here on Offbeat Bride. We're all special snowflakes — most of us very used to being the lone weirdo or the odd girl out, the one people stared at as she did her own thing, or maybe whispered about behind her back. I've spent many years thinking that all my “differences” made me special. And now, having found this Community of Awesome, that idea is starting to break down.

I'm not so different here. Almost every idea I have, someone else here has had before me, and someone else will have again after me. Things I thought no one else in the world could come up with, I have found tutorials about here. Which is great — don't get me wrong. I'd never know how to do anything I thought of without some of this help available, and I'm grateful for it. I'm also extremely grateful for the support, encouragement, and safety that Offbeat Bride provides.

But I am suddenly feeling distinctly NOT special.

So how to be a special snowflake in a drift of other special snowflakes? I'm not entirely sure yet. There are a few things I am sure of, though:

It has all been done. Or at least thought of. There is nothing new under the sun.

And the wonderful people who have done all these things before me are AMAZING! In a lot of ways, I feel like I am not awesome enough to try to do it behind them.

But I think that's exactly the point. However I do any of these things, it will be awesome and special because it's MY version. And however anyone else has done/will do them, it is awesome and special because it's their version.

So maybe this is it: Yes, every snowflake is unique. But sometimes it's only by the tiniest tweak of its crystalline structure. They may look alike to the naked eye, and even under some magnification. Sometimes you have to look VERY closely to see the differences. And it's reasonable to think that all snowflakes that come from a certain source or set of conditions will be somewhat similar, while each being unique.

So I am still a special snowflake. And so is everybody else here. We (I) don't need to be completely different from everything & everyone around us. And I'd much rather be in a big, happy, supportive & loving drift filled with other special snowflakes than be just one special snowflake all alone.

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Comments on On being a special snowflake in a community full of them

  1. GOD I LOVE THIS POST. It’s been interesting for me to watch how people who identify themselves via their “otherness” cope with it when suddenly they’re in a place surrounded by folks remarkably similar to them. I’ve written about this a bit over here (SHEEPLE!), but it’s something that still surprises me sometimes…

    For instance, someone will leave a comment saying something like, “We’re wearing Converse at our wedding, and my parents think we’re crazy!” And I’ll reply with “Oh, you’re not crazy… lots of people wear Cons!” I’m trying to be reassuring (“…other people have overcome these same challenges!”) but sometimes the response is heartbreak: “Oh, I thought we were special. Now I feel unspecial.” I’m trying to reassure them that they’re not alone, but if you’ve developed your identity around a sense of alienation… it can be disconcerting to suddenly be part of a larger community.

    As always, my best solution is to focus on authenticity… which is basically exactly what NYGHTBEAUTY suggests, too. 🙂

    • I needed to read this tonight. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

      Ten minutes before I stumbled upon this particular post, I was engaging in a war of words via text with my mom. The issue at hand was the fact that I want a rockabilly-inspired wedding. This perplexes my mom to no end. When she thinks of the 50s, she thinks of poodle skirts and the other traditional icons of the era. Explaining that I wanted the theme to be more edgy (polka dots, tattoo imagery, animal prints,cherries, etc), she didn’t take it very well.

      I have alwasy been the daughter that is “different.” I’m used to being the weird girl. Still, it’s so painful to see my parents still struggle with the fact that, athough they love me a great deal, they don’t understand me any more today than they did when I was born 35 years ago.

      So basically, I was feeling pretty down on myself when I happened upon this post. It’s absolutely exhilirating to find a site that celebrates “otherness.” Thank you for turning my frown into a smile tonight, and reminding me that I’m not alone. I can’t thank you enough!

      P.S. The entire wedding party is wearing Converse…

  2. Thanks for this post! I think some of us get wrapped up in wedding blogs and start to live on a different plane of existence than everyone else. Your mom might go WHAT? when you tell her Idea X that is all over the interwebs. Most of these sort of concerns about STUFF though and we have to remember that weddings are about People and Feelings.

  3. That’s my picture!!!! *bounces* I feel special!!!!!!

    I knew at 16 if I ever got married, I’d wear pink converse. And my husband agreed, if he could wear green ones. And we fought crabby grandmothers to wear our converse that day, and we got so many compliments. Everyone loved them. And that picture is the one that everyone says is their favorite. So, yeah, wearing converse may not be that unique any more, but, damn it was fun.

  4. Fantastic post. I’ve done the “oh… I thought I was original… damn it” on a few ideas.

    Ultimately I decided that its comforting to have so many people with like-minded-ness to bounce thoughts off of. Its kind of nice to have people that don’t recoil in horror when I say “We wont have flowers” or “We’re giving to charity instead of favors” or “Everyone is going to be barefoot in the sand!!!”… I LOVE everyone in the offbeat family (mush mush hug) so much. I’ve always been the weirdo, the odd man out… Its nice to talk to people that get me finally. XOXO

  5. Thank you for this post! As an “Offbeat Lite” Tribe member, it’s really easy to feel like nothing you’re doing is really very unique or special. To a lot of our friends and family, our wedding was very different. I had lots of comments like “Oh! That’s different!” and while I smiled and said “Yeah, well, we liked it” on the inside I was always thinking “a MILLION other people have done this. It’s not different.”

    As I continue to subscribe to the OBB feed in my reader 2+ years after my own wedding and pine for it to be featured, I think “well, my wedding was really just not Offbeat enough I guess.” (even though I know OBB gets a billion submissions and can’t possibly get to all of them)
    I have to remind myself that my wedding was special to ME. And my husband. Who am I trying to impress, anyway? As long as I’m happy with the result, I’m happy.

    • You already know this (I think? I hope!) but the methods we use to select weddings to feature has *very* little to do with whether people are “offbeat enough.” We weigh a LOT of different factors, and feature a LOT of Offbeat Lite weddings. You’re absolutely right that we get way more weddings than we could ever feature — our queue never has less than 200 weddings.

      For more information about how we select weddings to feature, be sure to read Why didn’t you feature my wedding?

      • Oh, I know! I was really just using it as an example of my Offbeat Lite-ishness feelings. Believe me- I don’t have hurty feelings! I completely understand. As a matter of fact, it’s a personal rule of mine not to get hurty feelings in regards to all things wedding-related.

    • Word! My fiancé and I love movies and nerdy things, and wanted to do something fun for our engagement pics/Save The Dates, so we decided we’re going to do a movie poster, with a pic of us as the “stars.” And then about four days after we decided that, I saw a picture online of some random couple who did exactly that. And I pouted for like five seconds, because we weren’t original, but then I realized, of course someone did it before us – because it is FUCKING AWESOME. So whatevs, that just means there are two more awesome people in the world I didn’t know about before. And that, in itself, is fucking awesome too! Yay for good ideas becoming cool trends!

    • This! I’m honestly usually too shy to pipe up on here, being of the Offbeat Lite persuasion. I haven’t even worked up the nerve to post the pictures of our wedding, fearing that they’re not offbeat enough for anyone to care. Even though this place was absolutely critical and wonderful and instrumental in my planning process and I’m so so so grateful for it.

      I dunno. People are complicated. I had plenty of assorted regrets after the wedding (I totally forgot to make sure to introduce my cat-crazy aunt to my husband’s cat-crazy aunt! I failed to get a big group picture of everyone who showed up! I kinda botched the unity cocktail ceremony!), but I think it’s getting better. The other day I mentioned something awesome I was putting together for another wedding (yup, segueing into planning), and he asked if I wished we’d done that. My response was no! We did what we wanted to, and it was great.

      I guess it takes time. You make choices, and you do what you want to do, and maybe it’s awesome and maybe it fails and maybe if you’d obsessed a little bit more and had an extra ten years to plan you would have managed to be the Most Unique Snowflake In The World.

      Or maybe it’s totally okay that you’re not. It’s a kind of cool sort of peaceful place to arrive at.

  6. I love this post! At first it was a struggle to find my place in this community, because all my “original” ideas had been done before! But I keep reminding myself that even if each individual element has been done before, the combination of those elements will be truely unique to the two of us and our wedding. Also, it will be VERY different from anything my small-town midwestern family has ever seen. It doesn’t matter so much if my wedding is unique on the Interwebz, it’s way more important to us that our wedding be unique and memorable to our family and friends. And if all that takes is men wearing kilts and a decorate-your-own-sugar-cookie-bar instead of cake, then it’s a win!

  7. Yup, been there. We’ve had a long engagement and have seen our ideas (oh-so-special!) used by many people during that time. It’s cool, though, because no one from those weddings will be at our wedding. 🙂

    (from Saturday, 7/7, at our domestic partnership paperwork signing)

  8. Repeat after me “we are all individuals” 😉 I just like to say yay for this post. I felt a bit of this after finding OBB and seeing things that I though I was oh-so-original for coming up with. Now I replaced those feelings with it’s so awesome to finally find people who think like me and look at all the other cool ideas they have.

  9. You know, I read through this post and can’t help but feel lots of people here are missing the mark on something

    I spent some time away from this site, busy with work. I got to a point – I didn’t care if I was “offbeat” “offbeat lite” “different” or just plain “Run of the mill” .

    Yes, I want LOTR as my procession, but I also want a white dress. That’s what I want, plain and simple.

    I’ve given up trying to categorize or “label” myself. People here often throw around a lot of terms “Offbeat” “offbeat lite” “different” or “special snowflake.”

    Just learn one mantra – “I am.”
    Then repeat.

  10. We were all special to start with. I was told once that it’s very natural and usual to take a characteristic you are vilified for and turn it into a source of pride, but “being different” is the only identity with quite such a risk of loss. I mean, one doesn’t lose ones status as a member of an ethnic or religious minority just by meeting other people the same. I totally agree that it’s important at every stage of life to make sure that whatever you’re doing is what *you* want, whether it’s different to other people or not. Also, don’t think it’s too trivial a problem to bother a counsellor or therapist with; if your sense of difference or otherness is important to you, then it’s important, and worth talking over.

    I had an abusive childhood and was bullied at school, so my experience of this particular problem has been pretty intense, and I’m only just getting over my similarity-aversion. I am mainly doing so by forgetting about whether I am different or not, which in a conformity-obsessed culture is not encouraged, but it’s my only way forward.

    I’m not saying that everyone with this experience came to it from such a negative place, obviously. Best wishes to everyone dealing with it though; you’re all special people.

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