I went to Barton Peveril College to do my A Levels. One day I walked into the common room to witness the following tableu: On my right where a large group of trendies. They wore jeans and t-shirts in a style that was highly fashionable. I didn't particularly hate them but I didn't associate with them either. On my left where the alternative types. They wore military style trousers (it was 1990 and that style was not particulalry widespread) and thought they of themselves as the opposite to the trendies. I had been known to sit with the alternative types but I didn't feel any great kinship with them. As I walked in I observed the scene. On one side of the room some trendies were playing around with each other, a couple of trendy males were teasing a trendy female. On the other side of the room a couple of alernative males were teasing an alternative female. In exactly the same way. I may be slow on the uptake. I may not have noticed it before but then it hit me with full force that the two groups that I had considered to be diametrically opposed, who hated each other were, in fact, exactly the same. For reasons best known to themselves these people had decided to form arbitrary groups with particular entrance criteria and sandards that tended to make people dress a particular way. The more I looked for this sort of behaviour the more I saw every item of jewelery and every T-shirt slogan as a tribal fetish. I wanted to escape. I was aware that I would not be prepared to submerge my identity suffuciently to join any group so I settled on a uniform that I have stuck to since then.

This reminds me of a saying: "Always remember that you're different...just like everyone else." Those who are truly independent don't dress in any particular way at all. They don't read any particular books or magazines, they don't watch any particular movies or listen to any particular music, they don't go to any particular places. Independence is not about being different or similar to anyone else in particular; it's about going through your life naturally, with no particular attention paid to how you're doing it.

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