I Am Not Like Other Girls

I am not like other girls. I have interests that range from the intellectual to the deliciously superficial. I enjoy reading Stephen Hawking, and watching the Real Housewives. I wear glasses sometimes, and other times I don’t. More often than I’d like, I forget to take off my makeup before I go to sleep and I wake up looking like a melting panda bear with these crusty black circles underneath my eyes. I enjoy sitting in corners by windowsills and drinking a cup of tea with a good book in front of me that I can get lost in for hours, for days. This scenario is greatly improved if it’s raining outside. I enjoy rain against my window.

I have had my heart broken, and have broken hearts. I have gone through breakups that made me question whether or not I was beautiful, smart, or ever worth loving again. I watched romantic comedies that, while a bit patronizing, made me feel a little less alone in the world and in my heartache. I considered myself, at turns, a Samantha, a Carrie, a Charlotte, and a Miranda. My girlfriends and I still sometimes categorize ourselves that way when we’re out on the town, having a little fun over cocktails. We know it’s not really who we are, but it can be nice to put ourselves into neat little boxes and pretend we are characters.

I live on my own now, but I have lived with roommates. I have found myself in the experience of living with others, and what it means to cohabitate, though I think I find myself even more clearly when walking naked past my mirror on the way to the kitchen. Though learning to love my body — dimples, ripples, scars, and all — is a constant, uphill battle, it’s one that seems more feasible every day. Sometimes I catch myself in the mirror and do a little double-take. “Eyy,” I say, like Fonzie, “What’s up, gorgeous?” I think it’s important to feel beautiful, and to feel healthy in your skin. As I get older, I want to become progressively more comfortable with the person I am on the inside, so as to be less dependent on the waxes and wanes of my physical beauty. I know it’s easier said than done.

I consider myself smart enough, but often find myself doubting my capabilities when presented with people who seem to so effortlessly achieve things that do not come naturally to me. My skill set can seem at once insufficient and overqualified, depending on the scenario. I often feel as though I know too much useless information, and not enough concentrated knowledge in one area that can allow me to be an “expert.” It’s hard not to wonder what makes someone an “expert” on something — like the people you see on science channels, explaining phenomena and telling obscure facts about history. Maybe no one is really an expert, and we’re all just kind of faking it, but I hope to be one someday.

I say that I am not like other girls because I know that I absolutely am. Yes, I know that no two women — no two people, in fact — are ever the same, and, God, wouldn’t the world be boring if they were. But I do know that I am not more special than any other girl, or more worthy, just because I wear glasses and read books. Just because I have had my heart broken and felt incredibly tortured about it for a while. Just because I think about philosophy and how it relates to my own life — whether or not I’m fulfilling some grand kind of purpose. These things are facets of all our personalities, and though they manifest in different ways, none of us are unique for experiencing them.

And yet, it’s hard not to feel inundated with this discourse about how you’re “not like other girls” because you hold what you perceive to be some set of interests that separates you from and makes you better than the other girls around you. It’s a slightly less aggressive way of saying “I am the one who does not melt into the monotonous background of femininity — I am the one who cannot be pinned down by pop culture or stereotypes or jokes that men might make about us. I am the exception that proves the rule.” But who can be pinned down by pop culture? Who is defined by a stereotype? Even amongst the people you’ve met who’ve appealed to you the least, who’ve seemed to be as one-dimensional as a person could be, were they not full humans with stories and flaws and redeeming qualities? Was there not a single thing that stood to be learned from their presence and perspective?

None of us are original, because we all are. There is no competition for who can be the most “special” or “unique” woman, and as soon as you’ve put your hat in the ring for that title, you’ve already lost. Because the unfortunate truth is that hundreds of thousands — millions, maybe — of girls every day give themselves the tiniest pat on the back for being what they define as better or more whole a person than the girl in front of them who likes Uggs and Katherine Heigl movies. Think of all the things we could be doing with our time and our lives if we weren’t so caught up in proving we weren’t “like the rest.” We could maybe be — as crazy as it may sound — individual human beings. TC mark


image – Michael Chandler

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.


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  • what

    for some reason the juxtaposition of this article + the panties! american apparel ad is like, hilarious

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/07/i-am-not-like-other-girls/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • Kym

    um THANK YOU

  • Nikki

    I really love this.

  • aa

    this is, in typical fagan fashion, so horribly pretentious and downright vacuous. congratulations!

    • AAA

      You read my mind.

    • beatrice kt


    • Alyssa


    • AZ

      Yes. Thank you for reading my mind.

    • Hayley

      Hahahahaha yep! Thank god someone else has noticed that too!

    • Amber

      seriously, brb barfing

    • Alex

      “I am not like other girls. I have interests that range from the intellectual to the deliciously superficial.”

      As if to imply that other girls don’t.

      • Anna

        Did you not read the whole article?

      • Charlie

        You missed the entire point of the article. I don’t think you read the whole thing.

      • aa

        as the original commenter – i did read it. the whole inane thing. my comment still holds true.

      • oy

        wait but your comment doesn’t at all hold true…

    • ughhh

      even in satire her trademark is “better than you”

    • --

      yes, yes it is.

    • Oooooo

      Patting yourself on the back because you somehow feel better than Ms. Fagan now? Nice. Her point has been proven by your comment

  • Paula

    I love this satire. You sound exactly like the sea of de facto femininity: whiny.

    • Cait

      Paula, where, exactly, did she whine?

      • --

        every line and inbetween them, too. still hearing the sobbing.

    • schlockey

      Paula, if you had finished reading the article, you would have noticed that she talks about this whine spiral you’re so sensitive to.

  • Sarah

    i know i’m guilty of this behavior sometimes. and i know this lies in my own insecurities that i must constantly reflect upon and find reassurance in myself, but i hope that there will be a day when i out grow this kind of mindset. and it’s difficult isn’ it? or i find it difficult since we(i) live in a world with social media that subtly but explicitly encourages us(me) to get approval from our peers — regardless if that was/wasn’t our(my) initial intention of hoping on the social media band wagon.

  • bedhed

    got dayum thats some good ass writings

  • Jake

    Will you be my girlfriend?

    • schlockey

      Seconded, but let’s read Hegel and cuddle with Gibran. Yeah?

  • B

    yes,thank you.

  • Andreas

  • http://twitter.com/mexifrida FC

    easy to feel like you have to prove yourself to be ‘different,’ when in reality allowing yourself to be happy is much more worth it.
    great way to explain it in this article.

  • http://diminiko.wordpress.com diminiko

    Enjoy being yourself, don’t assume you are better than someone, just as the person behind you possibly thinks that themselves. Been living hard through this, trying to rejoice the person I am becoming, and with the little leeway we are given through life plus a seasoning of perchance there is that mature outcome in which we stop aiming to be better than others but instead transcend the barriers of bigotry and inferiority we’ve set-up for ourselves thus becoming complete.

    Note – bags of idealism included

  • http://marikokiyota.wordpress.com marikokiyota

    Love this. I still get caught up in those feelings that certain things or areas of my personality make me “better” but I’m working on it. Why bother to compete with anyone else, anyway? I’d rather be the best version of myself.

  • http://Englishmajoradrift.wordpress.com JS_Adrift

    Well… that was a pointless read

  • Camila Quarta

    “It saddens me to see girls proudly declaring they’re not like other girls – especially when it’s 41,000 girls saying it in a chorus, never recognizing the contradiction. It’s taking a form of contempt for women – even a hatred for women – and internalizing it by saying,
    “Yes, those girls are awful, but I’m special, I’m not like that”, instead of stepping back and saying, “This is a lie.”
    The real meaning of “I’m not like the other girls” is, I think, “I’m not the media’s image of what girls should be.” Well, very, very few of us are. Pop culture wants to tell us that we’re all shallow, backstabbing, appearance-obsessed shopaholics without a thought in our heads beyond cute boys and cuter handbags. It’s a lie – a flat-out lie – and we need to recognize it and say so instead of accepting that judgment as true for other girls, but not for you.”

    – “I’m not like the other girls”, Claudia Gray

    • Intellectual Integrity

      Hooooly plagiarism

      • Hayley


      • Elise

        It’s not plagiarism if it’s cited.

  • Fer

    This made me feel good, thank you!

  • http://charmanize.wordpress.com Char Wan

    Reblogged this on Charmanize and commented:
    Well, I do not drive like one. I like cars, bikes, soccer and action movies. This girl, Chelsea Fagan, speaks my mind.

  • Brittany

    Confession: I have a little bit of a hetero girl crush on you, Chelsea. You are an amazing writer. Keep up the good work; I love reading it. Also, haters gonna hate and I admire your bravery in putting your writing out to be critiqued. I think you should write a book.

  • http://twitter.com/heronkady10 Kady Heron (@heronkady10)

    Thank you for this..
    Saving Thousands of People Hundreds of Dollars a month. Join the club today. Just click -> http://www.saversclub.us

  • guest

    i liked this, the beginning i thought it would be some endless drivel about i am superwoman, hear me roar, but i liked your spin on it

  • Meg

    So…uhm, what you’re really saying is that you are like other girls? Because I think every girl goes through the same shit…welcome to existence. That’s just the way our lives are in this western society that we call home. All in all, I like this article though

  • Morgers

    While it’s not in my nature to point out negative things in others, this article was not special..It sounded like thousands of other girls who try to be different; and so this wasn’t. And, maybe that was you’re point? But, this observation of society was explained in way that anybody could achieve with minimal effort..

  • http://mangopeels.wordpress.com quantumtheory

    all girls are the same…
    all of them crying out ” I’m DIFFERENT ”

    • Jack

      How has no one notice how douchey and sexist ALL of your comments are?

      • http://mangopeels.wordpress.com quantumtheory

        just shut the fuck up..
        do me a favor and tell me which are the so called “all of your comments”
        you bastard troll
        go troll elsewhere not here

      • Jack

        Hahahahahaha wow. Look how unpleasant you are. I’m not trolling, I’ve seen your comments on loads of other articles and they’re pretty down on girls.

  • soyeahfudgeyou

    This sort of writing is getting pretty repetitive. Women always feel like they need to prove that they’re different from everyone other girl, but for what? Oh look at me, “I enjoy sitting in corners by windowsills and drinking a cup of tea with a good book in front of me that I can get lost in for hours, for days/ I’m an intellectual” okay, whatever. You do write well, it’s true, but this is nothing more than pretensiousness wrapped up in some pretty little sentences. And anyway, seriously… Who the hell cares?!

    • doublejinx

      You obviously did not read the entire article, but good try. Next time, try reading the whole thing before making an uneducated comment.

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