Voice of My Generation

A bunch of conformers telling somebody that they're not conforming
So every time a new album or novel or TV show comes out by some upstart no-one's ever heard of (rare enough as it is), the creator is instantly hailed as the voice of a generation depending on their age. People are absolutely obsessed with this concept of creators speaking for the ordinary person, with the idea that you find some band or novelist when you're 14 or 15 who like, totally gets your teenage angst and how you're so totally not like the others.

However, these media are sufficiently generalist in scope that they manage to attract a significant number of suspiciously similar misfits, who then create a subculture based around being able to keep up with the same stuff.

Nonconformist seagull sitting on top of a "no seagulls" sign
You guys are lucky. You will never need to develop the skills to speak for yourself, because there'll always be someone there to put the words in your mouth. You will always have someone else to speak for you, someone to speak for your generation.

I am a part of my generation. I'd be stupid to deny otherwise. I like a lot of the same things and feel the same feelings. I share 99.9% of their DNA and almost as much of their behaviour.

And yet, out of all of you and out of all of your ancestors that I've seen, I've never found one person to speak for me. Not one. I've devoured books and music and films and TV to fill the giant, empty hole of teenage angst that never quite goes away. And none of it ever closed the wound to any significant degree.

It never closed it because I've never found anyone who knows quite what to say. Oh, as I've gotten older I've found people who can be sad without being bathetic and speak honestly and truthfully - but I've never found anyone who can describe the world in maths, who can describe what it feels like to live as a synaesthete, to pluck notes out of thin air, to taste numbers, to feel the pinks and greys and blacks of psychalgia and depression, to want to mock the world, to love and hate it at the same time. Oh, various different people do them at various different times, but I do them all at once. That's the problem. There aren't enough people in the world who share my thought process for that to be represented. It's actually very lonely, because it makes everything else seem shallow.

And so I've had to do that for myself, writing and drawing and making music and wasting reams of paper on the meaningless task of trying to make myself heard on a planet that doesn't give a shit, just to keep myself somewhat sane, just to stop my words from being swallowed in a sea of hackneyed quotes and shallow lyrics. (Sturgeon's Law, people.) I have no-one else to rely on to do that, and it hurts.

Just once - just for once in my life - I'd like to be able to turn my brain off (otherwise it complains about me losing my sense of self) and follow the crowd. To wear shitty overpriced clothes and listen to shitty overrated music and read shitty overrated novels and watch shitty overrated shows, and to think that it's all good, to genuinely give a shit about X Factor, to be nervous about what kind of things I like and don't like so I can fit in. Sounds stupid to wish for, but I never had that and I never will. I've always had to speak up for myself - it's why I'm so loud. I don't have any carbon copies to blend in with, to join me in repeating phrases until they become meaningless.

That makes me an individual, I guess. But being an individual is hard, because it means you're not part of any crowd. That was the path I chose, because my sense of self is too strong for me to want to lose it, piece by piece, to another person's idea of what I should be like.

Some people say that you are what you listen to, or what you read - in other words, that you are what you consume. I say that you are what you create.