The Snowflake Defense

Hello my darlings,

It seems to be a hip thing nowadays to flounce about the internet with a high level of pretentiousness and denounce people for whatever is denouncable. “This thing you like I find stupid, therefore, you are stupid.”

It’s important you all note just how hard I roll my eyes at these people.

One of the most irritating denouncements is the “special snowflake” quips.

“You’re not a special snowflake, mmkay?”

I see this in varying contexts. In publishing, it’s usually your book isn’t special, you aren’t special, you don’t deserve anything special, so STFU and take a seat, loser. In parenting, you and your kid are the same nameless, faceless morons that fill up the rest of the world and no one cares. In life, no one gives two fucks about what you are doing so stop posting about it on social media, for chrissake.

Like, okay. We get it, Pretentiouspants. You’re super cool and above everyone else. What a weighty crown to bear. How truly burdensome to be the one true special snowflake that is cursed with looking down on all the rest of the yellow snow with disdain and loathsome pity.

I’ve heard actual people in real life discussing people like Neil Gaiman and JK Rowling saying things like, “Well, sure, he sells, but he’s not that special, so.” and “She’s not a good writer. She’s not special. She’s lucky.”

These are actual things that I’ve heard come out of actual mouths. And not just from random internet fans, but people in publishing.

Over the last few years, I’ve watched people become “special snowflakes” to people who feel they are qualified to make that assessment. Someone who one day didn’t matter suddenly was deemed worthy.

I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of gross to watch.

But no one is ever, ever allowed to think of themselves as a special snowflake until they’ve earned it! (This basis for earning it is truly the most bullshit litmus test I’ve ever witnessed in my life.)

Think of some of the special snowflakes in the world. Rowling, Gaiman, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Chuck Wendig, Daniel Older, Ashley Ford, etc.

(If you’re not familiar with all those folk, click the links to visit their Twitter pages. Some very magnificent damn snowflakes in there. Take your time, I’ll totally wait.)

Not a one of those people started out a special snowflake in the eyes of everyone, right? They didn’t pop out the womb and have a doctor go, “OH MY ACTUAL DAMN BEHOLD THIS SNOWFLAKE OF SPECIAL!”

No. They went through life. They worked really damn hard. They are, in fact, special snowflakes.

But I’m willing to bet actual dollars there wasn’t a moment when Elsa popped up and said, “These folks deserve special snowflake status.” and let it all go on them.

I’m guessing they were always really special.

And they kept working until the rest of us were given the opportunity to see just how awesomely special they are.

We aren’t supposed to ever feel like we are special snowflakes, or meant for wondrous things. Then we come off as arrogant or delusional or something else that’s supposedly unsavory. We are supposed to keep our heads down and noses to the grindstones of life and be unimpressed if success ever comes our way because we weren’t worth it in the first place.

Well, fuck that.

Not to put too fine a point on it.

When I was a kid, I survived eighth grade by hand-writing a book during classes. It helped me drown out the sounds of people threatening me, bullying me, taunting me. And I’d sit there imagining what it would be like one day to have those words on the pages of a real book. That thought made me feel special.

I needed to think I was special right then because it was the only thing I had to survive. It was the only thing that gave me a reason to keep waking up knowing I was going to get beaten up in a locker room, or have to hide in a bathroom so a mob of girls didn’t find me during lunch because they were bored. I needed that special hope to give me a reason to keep coming back, to give me something to keep going for.

And here’s the thing: I don’t think I’m special. That’s not some sort of pretend modesty, I’m just not a particularly wowable person on paper. I haven’t done much in the world, I’ve not got a legacy to leave yet. I’d like to think I *could* be something neat some day if I work hard enough.

We all know we aren’t a JK Rowling because, well, all hail the queen, you know? But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own little snowflake to carve out. And it is special because it’s ours. Ours alone. No one else can have your snowflake, baby.

No one ever starts life imagining exactly how it’s all going to turn out. No one knows every facet in advance, every layer, every twist. For some of us, the hope of that special feeling is what keeps us going. For some, it’s what motivates hard work. For some, it’s an inspiration.

For me as an adult, it’s a thing I will squeal out at 1am when the writing hysteria has set in and I’m double-fisting Jelly Bellies into my face-hole and wearing pants on my head. “I AM A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE!” is my battle-cry to finish that last chapter and go the hell to bed before I start running round the lawn naked. (My neighbors super hate when I do this.)

So, I see no reason whatsoever to think for one second that any of us aren’t a special little snowflake.

In fact, the only bad taste in my mouth when I think about special snowflakes are the raging bags of dicks who are so intent on telling everyone they aren’t allowed to be a special snowflake until they deem them worthy of being a special snowflake.

Therefore, my sincerest apologies to all raging bags of dicks, but I have henceforth revoked your special snowflake administering privileges. Alas.

I hope you all are having the most fantastic of New Years!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and LONG LIVE THE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES!

6 Comments

  1. THANK YOU for this post today, Summer. It distills a lot of things that make me really uncomfortable about social media. I have to FORCE myself to just let myself freaking tweet something already, because I’m always wondering, Does anyone care? Will those mean girls see this and thing I’m such a loser? Do I look totally self-absorbed and boring?

    I admire Special Snowflake writers and love how they seem so effortless at being themselves. That’s what I want to build for myself, but it feels so awkward when I don’t really have anything to ‘prove’ my Special Snowflake-ness. I may adopt your battle cry as my own to remind me it’s okay to share and be myself, and if people don’t like it they can just unfollow me 🙂

    Thank you again,

  2. Brilliantly said!

  3. I adore you, Summer! Your posts first inspired me to start my own blog. And now, with a fresh query rejection in my inbox, your post brings me hope. Keep on, my friend! Keep on! 🙂 <3

  4. It’s sad to think who might not have someone in their corner who believes they are a special snowflake. To my mom, I’ll always be her brilliant daughter, and I need that!

    Maybe what we’re seeing online is this convergence of entitlement vs. those who struggle to get what’s theirs/find recognition/notoriety, etc. It’s easy to say for example, the Kardashians have had a ton of things handed to them. I’ve also heard the argument that they’re a business savvy family who’ve made wise decisions with their investments (including themselves, apparently) and have “worked hard” to get where they are. Whether or not their “art” is laudable (booty photos, reality TV, perfume, whatever) is up for debate. Clearly some degree of work has gone into their brand or else Mama Kardashian would just be some lady loosely related to the OJ Simpson trial (super weird connection btw).

    The other side is, who determines which people deserve to be deemed special? Good point that you brought up. There’s some invisible, unknowable marker in which we are all measured by. Rather than spend precious brain power deciphering this code, I refer to figure 1 above where Frozen girl says it best.

  5. I love it when you get on a roll. Rock that snowflake. And thank you for the reminder to rock ours.

  6. The fact that you were ‘other’ in school proves you are a snowflake and the rest of the crowd were just water. At least, that’s what I’m going with because I was ‘other’ in school too. Some of us were born to sparkle….we still have to work at it.

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