To Each His Own

“And I don't get down on nobody else for doing whatever else they do. To each his own.” Little Richard

To each his own, so they say. What an interesting saying. Everyone says to each his own, but no one believes to each his own. Everyone tugs and pulls and grasps at the why. Why are you doing this. Why are you doing that. Is that to each his own?

To each his own. What a simple phrase: chalk full of acceptance and non-judgement. Yet hypocrisy shines through in all of us. To each his own, we scoff. To each we own, we think.

Why do people continue to care about what others think of them? Thousands upon thousands of years ago, the young caveman was wrought with fear while choosing whether to don the sheepskin or buffalo hide. Today, the young teenager is wrought with fear while choosing whether to post a picture on a spam account or to not post at all.

Comparison is the thief of happiness, but not any typical thief. This thief appears cautiously, petering along the tripwire of the mind. We see the thief, and yet we let him continue to tip toe. The thief doesn't take, it just questions. Incessantly. Why are you this way? Why are you that way? Evidently, the thief does not believe to each his own.

I found this piece of writing while cleaning out my old Macbook Air that I had used for about 7 years, and it's reproduced here without edits. It's a short piece I think I wrote as part of a (short) daily writing practice. The file shows that it was last edited near the end of my senior high school year: a particularly stormy time for me. I was wrought with anxiety and self-defeat over what colleges I had gotten into and my future plans. Comparison was a sly and sinister player in my depression, although I probably hid it behind a righteous shield of "high standards."

When I first read this again, like one sometimes does when one reads past work, I was surprised by the message and the overall quality of the writing. There's something about reading a piece of writing from your past self that is like uncovering a mystery. You try to put yourself back into the shoes of your past self, and you realize that your past shoes are now too small. Your foot has changed, and although you can tease out small remembrances of what it was like wearing those shoes, you can't put yourself back in them. It's the feeling of frantically scrubbing a somewhat dirty mirror that you can't get completely clear of fingerprints: a forever hazy memory.

Looking back, I feel like this piece could have easily been written within the last two years. My first year of college was definitely a year filled with comparison, and it's sobering to see such similar themes in my past self.