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. 🙂
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!”.
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.