Written by Dorcas Solomon
When someone isn’t what the dominant culture expects, society has a tendency to see that person as unusual or scandalous. We all know that the world loves conformity. However, we are in a time when everything and anything can become a trend. From clothing, to emojis, to dancing cat memes, our culture relies on the consumption of strange fads from all over the globe. Confusing some may think, but the idea of being different is now the new ‘cool’, so the question is simple: how do we know when we’re being our true, authentic selves, vs. falling into the trap of being ‘different’, the trendiest trend of all?
It worries me. Is the very essence of being an individual being taken away?
A case in point :
I was having a conversation with an old acquaintance the other day, about relationships, “I really do like kids, but I’ve decided not to have any because that’s what ‘society’ expects of me”, she said with an alarming nonchalance.
That sentence threw me off in so many ways.
Are you saying you want to have kids but won’t because you want to prove a point? Or are you saying you will change your dreams and desires just to be different, to be the exception? Did it ever occur to her to just have kids because she wants to? It doesn’t matter if that’s what’s expected of you, or not; it’s about being you, it’s doing what you want. But then again, I guess doing what you want isn’t always seen as being ‘different’ enough.
I fear that being ‘different’ is now a word people want to be associated with; it’s seen as being artistic-cool, and has become an interesting adjective to describe oneself in an effort to be effortless– which loses sight of what the word really means, which is to be you.
There is no authenticity in ‘being the exception’ to prove a moot point. It’s vital that we question our motives, and pay mind to our intentions.
A friend that I met recently said something that has stuck with me for the past little while: “The subject of your interest is never unconventional”. A contextual comment, she’s saying that nothing is ever really out of the ordinary. People are what make things what they are. Whether we cherish something or despise something else, it is our behaviour and beliefs that give meaning to things around us, and our creations
Take some time to ask yourself these questions: are our actions intended to be seen as “different”, to be “cool”, to be the exception? Are our actions a copycat of other creatives and artists, or are they really us? You?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. How far would you go to be different? Does ‘different’ even matter to you?