I'm sick of not having the courage to be
an absolute nobody.
At first glance, this might feel like a negative. The idea of being a nobody seems like a bad thing. Aren't we all more? A child. A parent. A loved one. A someone.
But for me, this quote speaks to that inane human need we all have to be somebody - not just to the ones we love but to the world at large. We want to seem bigger and better than our circumstances: to hang out with the popular people, to be apart of the in crowd, to put our mark on the world. All these desires persist throughout our lives. They drive us to want to be bigger and brighter and better. And that's not a bad thing. But what if ...
... I was just me?
Me: the girl with no connections. Me: the girl without an important last name. Me: the girl without the fancy degree. Me: the girl with pimples and dandruff and hairy legs. Me: plain and simple.
It's hard when we're surrounded by the importance of other people. The places they go. The things they get. The people they know. With social media, we are bombarded with how special they are and how unimportant we are in the grand scheme of things.
But what Salinger is suggesting is revolutionary. A complete departure from the social norm. The idea of being sick of trying to one up everyone else. The idea of accepting that we're just us and just us is pretty freaking swell.
Just me with my no connections is good. Just me without a fancy degree is worthy. Just me - pimples and all - is just right. And I'm making my mark, but in smaller ways. Little ways you can't always see. Tiny ways that appear to mean nothing. Unknown ways that are irreplaceable.
It's hard not to compare ourselves to others. It's hard not to want what we don't have. It's human to feel jealous and bitter and compare our lowly status ...
... which makes embracing it courageous.
To have the courage to say, I'm a nobody. To embrace the extraordinary in the ordinary and find peace and contentment. That's what Salinger is talking about.
And can you imagine
all the things we could get done
if we stopped trying to be somebody
and focused on being the best nobody
the world has ever known?