To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
I remember going to a 40 year old birthday party and everyone was dressed the same. They were all in dark jeans and trendy flowing tops. I was in a skirt. I felt like an ass. Let me repeat…it was a 40 year old birthday party!
Life is high school.
From an early age we learn we should try to fit in. We should not be different. Even when our parents tell us it’s better to be an individual, we learn through Jr. High and High School that it’s not better. It’s lonelier. Nobody wants to stand out.
Then we get older and we hear that we should stand out, be different, be a leader, make our mark, change the world. Intellectually, we know this is a good idea but instinctually, we feel it isn’t.
I recently heard a Jr. High psychologist tell a group of parents, “Do not try to get your child to be an individual. Just buy them the Uggs and the North Face and accept they want to fit in.” Really? That’s the advice they give now?
I guess I can accept that’s the advice because it’s age appropriate to want to fit in when you are in 6th grade. But what’s the 40 year old woman’s excuse?
What’s my excuse?
Even when you have a different idea or a different voice and you set out to use it, some people will not be willing to accept this. You will go through a period of feeling like an ass in a skirt at a party full of over-priced denim.
But then you will realize there are other parties. At these parties there is diversity in dress, in thought, in action, in ideas. You will be energized. You will come alive. You will be supported and celebrated. You will be appreciated.
There is room for everybody and there are lots of different parties. This is true in Jr. High and high school but we are slow to learn. Sometimes we are in our 40’s when we decide which invitations to accept.