I never fit in at school. Child me didn’t understand, I thought I would gain knowledge. Adult me realized schools are institutions to teach children one lesson. They imprinted our minds, hard-wiring our psyche with the need to conform, to act like everyone else, to aspire to be average. When you finish high school, the path leads to college and your first job. Every step on the trail reinforces the advantages of conformity and sameness while nurturing a perception of the risk involved in being different.
Peer pressure, dress codes, formal reviews, and dollars in your bank account remind you, we are being judged. Somewhere, someone doesn’t approve of who I am, what I wear, what I do, and scoffs at how much money I don’t have. I would hate for them to lose their job, so I stopped following the rush to mediocrity. The opportunity cost of copying trends and denying my unique style became massive.
Being yourself is difficult. Misunderstood, mocked and treated as an outcast, is the norm for the nonconformist. They attack because they don’t understand and are fearful of the answers to questions they don’t want to consider. The payoff comes at some future date when even if they still don’t understand, they learn to respect the consistency of those who dare to be different.
How will you celebrate your unique self today?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer