Freestyle Friday: A horse of a different color…

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WARNING: Nonsensical ranting. I reread it three times and there is just no saving it. I had to either publish or trash it and I just didn’t feel I could rewrite it with any more cohesiveness. You have been warned. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday’s post got me thinking. Why am I a person that stands up and says, “Stop trying to change people that are different!”? What is it about that particular viewpoint that gets under my skin in such a way (over-analyzer right here, in case no one has ever noticed)? If I were to answer in the most honest fashion, it is because I, myself, have always been a little different. Always.

When I was young, I was the kid that was considered “gifted”. I didn’t talk or sound like my peers and that made me a prime target for being separated from the pack. I endured teasing and being made fun of solely because children, needing very little reason to find fault in the first place, are cruel by nature. It is just a fact of growing up that we all go through. Just because you live on one extreme over the other does not mean that you are not equally picked on. In truth, I learned to “dumb it down” to be accepted and that is just sad.

As a teenager, fraught with angst and rebellion, I was the kid that would dye my hair purple and wear thrift shop clothes in a highly wealthy school (let’s just say there are many people in today’s entertainment industry that were in my graduating class. Money buys everything) yet was still in all of the AP classes. I was an enigma. Teachers weren’t quite sure what to make of me in those years as I looked and acted like your typical delinquent but had the potential to do great things. But being smart or actually attending classes wasn’t something that I was extraordinarily interested in. So most were just frustrated and eventually left me alone. Because I wasn’t like the cookie cutter versions of what they were used to, they simply wrote me off. I was highly misunderstood until I reached college and being different is more acceptable. Which suited me just fine. My mom used to say I was a rebel without a cause. Which was true, in hindsight.

I never liked the idea of normalcy and wasn’t someone that felt the need to “fit in” with the herd. I liked, nay strove, to stand out…being different was who I was and had always been. It suited me quite perfectly, in fact. As I grew older and out of the phase of physically appearing different, I have always felt different on the inside. It is still an integral part of who I am at my core, I believe, still that girl that wore the eclectic plastic jewelry and spray painted my shoes.

Being different is okay. I think that teaching our children that we should all be the same is a crime.

I think that in today’s society, we put too much emphasis on physical ideals of perfection in beauty. Girls grow up with warped senses of self esteem striving to be like the girls in the magazines when really they make up 1% of what the population of women actually look like. Little boys are shooting for the stars to become the occupations that only 1-5% are able to accomplish. And that is good, in it’s way, having dreams is a wonderful thing. But let’s be realistic here…who is going to serve you your breakfast sandwich on your way to that six figure job if everyone is a doctor or a lawyer? Who is going to bag the groceries for your mansion if everyone has a mansion?

The truth is, there is room for everyone in our society. We need to change our thinking when it comes to being different. It’s not a curse, it’s a blessing to be able to think outside of the box. To have the ability to be able to stand out in the sea of the same is always something that I have been proud of. I would never want to change something about who I am.

So, no, I don’t think that we should be focusing our efforts on making people “better” by making them all the same.

Embracing what makes us different is what makes us unique. It’s what draws like people to us. It is the thing that defines who some people are below the facade of “making nice” socially. If your child is different, embrace that. Love that part of them and find a place that they will fit in. There are so many new and exciting experiences out there. Maybe you were a cheerleader with a ton a friends and maybe your child plays World of Warcraft and you just don’t get it. You don’t have to…go online and find a place where there are like minded people and learn. Maybe you were an A student and your child is lucky to get C’s. Where did they get that from? Does it really matter? Find a trade school with hands on learning. Everyone can’t read a book and learn.

Being different is the foundation of this country. But everyone forgets that.

People are so busy trying to be something that they aren’t to be just like everyone around them that they forget the truth. That the differences are what make us beautiful. A child isn’t weird, they’re special. Little Suzie or Johnny aren’t awkward, they’re unique. Learning to embrace and highlight our differences is what will bring us true freedom, in my opinion.

To conclude this all-over-the-place rant, I will summarize with one of my very favorite quotes that I have held close to my heart for most of my years on this Earth,

“Be yourself, everyone is taken!”.

Musings Parenting

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Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

13 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Your post reminds me a little of, well, me! I have always been pretty who gives a shit about what other people think guy and have been a jackass most of my life.

    When the dean’s list came out every semester in college, people were stunned that I was on the list. That guy who plays on the soccer team but doesn’t miss a party is smart?? What?

    Same at the police academy (where you don’t have to be smart!). It drove the guy next to me bonkers that he couldn’t figure out who was in front of him on the academic list (they were ranked by SSN). He’d ask who I thought it was and I was like, I don’t know!! Not me!!

    • Lol, I’ve encountered that plenty. There was this one girl all through college that would show up for exams that had been up all night and hadn’t slept…I would always outscore her and it drove her bananas. PS- She works as a forensic psychologist for a branch of government now so she got the last laugh but it was fun while it lasted. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Yeah, being like everyone else never interested me too much though as an adult (especially in Texas, home of the polite or die bill) I find myself filtering A LOT and I hate it. It was one of the reasons that I started this blog. I feel pretty fake in social settings. I agree too much, laugh at things I don’t think are funny…but at least I get to go home and get to be my mean, sarcastic self with my husband. He’s different like me but more socially acceptable. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I think it’s my penance for marrying the super popular super jock that I avoided like the plague in school. Lol My social circle is all of that “clique” now. Yes, the irony is stifling. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. You what I’ve noticed? The kids who were part of the “popular pack” in high school never really graduate socially from that dynamic. When I bump into them from time to time, they fit into this”mold” and haven’t really evolved since the last time we’ve met. The odd kids out tend to be the most genuinely interesting adults.
    So celebrate your oddness! Be as weird as you want. Be a s YOU as you want.

    • I’ve noticed it, too. I hang out with a group of them now (and I mean popular in High School) and they are all in the same area, never moved or went to school, and are all catty and gossipy. And know we now why I never tell anyone the name of my blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I have never been able to not care what people think. Obviously…I named my blog Faking Picture Perfect. So, I secretly wanted to be the girl like you. The one that didn’t care. That did stand out. I had my own talents, but I was afraid to really shine and not care if I stood out. As an adult, I think I have become sensitive to criticism even to this day. Because I can’t just say, “screw you. This is who I am, take it or leave it” I am trying to not care. And, am succeeding a little more everyday, but it is so incredibly hard. And, I think that some people like me might naively think it is just easier to fit in because it is easier for US. Does that make sense? My personality makes me terrified of standing out. I’m not saying that I personally believe that everyone should be the same, because I love diversity…it is what makes the world interesting, but I think that fear is what keeps some people from embracing someone that is different because they are so desperately trying to just blend into the crowd and they can’t understand why EVERYONE wouldn’t want to do that.

    • One of my core favorite things about Psychology…how becoming like you is so ingrained. While I can see your viewpoint with crystal clarity, it would never even occur to me to blend into the background. I never thought of not accepting people were different because they bring attention to you while you are trying to fit in, it’s an interesting concept.

      Maybe one of your adult lessons is taking pride in standing out. I know mine is taking a step back and letting others have center stage. And as equally horrifying as yours sounds…I have an equally difficult time with mine. I have to literally sit on my hands and remember that I am being quiet. I am listening. I am not sharing. Sit back and listen, Amber, and just shut up. Lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. When I was young and trying so desperately to be like others it wasn’t because I wanted to blend in. I think I hoped I could achieve standing out while still standing close enough to them to seem like a part of them instead of entirely apart. I grew older and acceptance grew and while I am tenacious as all get out I know impossible when I see it and when the real value is throwing in the towel on trying to be what you are not and just doing the best you can with who you are.

    • Love this. Being who you are is a blessing, even if parts are a curse, which I know being me was when I was younger. I’m glad that you have found some sense of peace being you. I adore you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Why did you stop dressing the way you liked? That doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t take you seriously because of that.

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