Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 36 of 365: Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery

I got to thinking yesterday about copycats and imitators. The people who seem to constantly latch onto whatever other people are doing and pass it off as their own. How does one go about that, especially when it is you they are copying?

On the one hand, I love it. It can be incredibly inspiring. It's why I started my crafts blog. I wanted people to copy me, try out ideas -- some that were mine, some I borrowed from other craft blogs -- and see how it comes out on their side. I loved when co-teachers would come into my room, see a certain idea, and try it out in their own rooms. It's why I teach tai chi (I actually teach my very first class today, but more on that later). Granted, I appreciate a bit of credit where credit is due, but that's not the important thing. I love the idea of inspiring people to try out paths that I've gone down as well. For me, it's the universe's microscopic proof that I make a ripple in this gigantic ocean of life.

On the other hand, it can also be frustrating. I have found, however, that it is only frustrating when you are dealing with people who are critical of your every move, only to copy your ideas, decisions, even phrases and manners of speaking. I'll never forget how one former friend was critical of every move I made during my wedding -- "that is so excessive," "that's a bit unnecessary, don't you think?" "I won't be doing that for my wedding; I have nothing to prove" -- only to actively pursue not even a day after my wedding two or three ideas of mine that she had outright criticized. I eventually learned, however, that this behavior usually stems out of jealousy and bitterness and a touch of self-loathing. The frustration then melted into a weird type of pity.

But these days, unless it's inspiring me, it bores me. It's boring and predictable. Like finding out Miley Cyrus is gyrating her hips and sticking out her tongue again. Oh, look: something new and different. So I instead focus on the positive portions of imitations and keep doing what I'm doing -- because I must be doing something right if people are stumbling over themselves to copy what I do effortlessly.

Because, like the Chevy commercials, I'm often imitated, but never duplicated.

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