Teen Beach Movie—my version


Julie Woltil

Second-grade me after believing I was a genius writer for accidental plagiarism

Have you ever felt that all of your ideas are unoriginal or based on something else you’ve seen? 

I have. I find that almost all of the ideas I supposedly come up with can be traced back to someone else—even down to my personality. I constantly wonder if it is possible for me to ever think of something new and truly creative when it feels like everyone else has already done it all or thought of everything there is to think of.

A central place this comes into play is in my writing. My recent story, the future of transportation, originally came from a CNN 10 segment. The story about the Oscars came from past stories about the Met Gala. The one about seasonal depression came from a TikTok I found that explained ways to overcome it. Even this story I’m writing right now isn’t original and is based on other videos I’ve seen of people, talking about how they feel unoriginal in everything they do too.

Try as I might, I can’t seem to escape my derivative ways, and it started from a young age. When I was in second grade, we had one of our first creative writing assignments where we were given a foldable booklet to write about whatever our hearts desired. I—albeit an accident—copied and stole the entire plot of Teen Beach Movie as my story while changing up a few of the names and scenarios. After receiving praise for my excellent writing and storytelling skills from my teacher, I was inspired to keep writing. It’s probably one of the main reasons I’m writing stories for The Central Trend right now (thanks, Mrs. Krieger). Only when we got to look back at our writing did I notice the excessive similarities between my story and the movie.

From time to time, I still find myself writing something, only to realize it’s a copy of another thing I’ve seen and accidentally recreated. Even though it’s by mistake, I still doubt my ability to be authentic. The clothes I purchase are typically only bought because of outfits I see on Pinterest, the TV shows I watch come from someone else’s recommendation, and even how I act seems to mimic whichever friends I’m with. 

All aspects of my personality, down to my mannerisms, feel almost fake and fabricated.”

All aspects of my personality, down to my mannerisms, feel almost fake and fabricated, and it comes to a point where I don’t really know what ‘normal’ me is like. Is it the way I act at home with my family? My sixth-hour personality? My second-hour personality? When I’m alone, it feels as if I have no one to base myself around and no one to impress, leaving me with a different unknown version of myself who is unlike anyone else I know. Although mimicking others’ traits and ideas started as an accident, it has become an essential part of how I’ve grown up, and without others around me, I don’t know how I would’ve ended up.

Who am I?