There was once a ship. This ship remained sea-bourn for hundreds of years, sailing through the decades as living history. No, it wasn’t built from any special material, nor was it some sort of “magic” boat, but simply a wooden ship known as the “Ship of Theseus.” Maybe you’ve heard of it? Or maybe you’re wondering how it lasted through the years? You see, any time a plank rotted or a beam cracked, the architects would simply replace it and send the ship on its way. They did this for so long and so often that, at some point, no functioning part of the ship was original to it. So, the question is this: Is this ship still the Ship of Theseus? If not, at what point was it no longer that?
Proposed by Thomas Hobbs and discussed for centuries, this thought experiment has continually troubled the minds of the human race. Some say yes, and others say no, and everyone has their reasons why. But, when I think of this riddle, I think of something more.
Everyone is unique. People have their own personalities, their particular features, their specific styles, voices, thoughts, and ideas. Throughout time and space, no two people have been exactly the same. But, at some point in your life you may have heard this phrase: “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” Maybe your mom told you that after your desk buddy colored her butterfly the exact same way you did. Or maybe you read it in a magazine, bolded under photos of celebrities wearing the same outfits. But it seems as though imitation has taken over our lives, and is accepted by everyone.
“Trendy” is more than just an ideal, its expected. You have to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, pose a certain way, and you’re always aware when someone isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, its fun for a little while, but then it hits you: Are you still even you? And at what point were you no longer you?
It’s so easy to lose yourself in a world where everyone else at your fingertips. It’s easy to want to be like someone else, dress like someone else, talk like someone else. It’s easy to forget what you truly love, where you came from, and all your hopes and dreams. But what’s even easier is being yourself. Doing the things you love is natural. Wearing what you love is comfortable. Being who you are, whatever that may look like, embracing the things that make you you, and loving every part of it will make you the happiest version of yourself.
We are all ships of Theseus. We’ve been replacing and covering up our original parts for years, just for the pleasure of others. But those planks that you’ve replaced over time are not gone, just forgotten. So stop questioning whether you really are you and start wondering when you left that. Be yourself. Love yourself. Don’t replace beams that aren’t broken because the best person you can be, the best thing you can do, is be unapologetically you.