I've always had a slightly rebellious nature, and the need of personal freedom and expression has more than often been my emotional map. Trying to comply with the norms that are widely accepted by everyone, which of coarse I am doing every day, in one way or another, has in fact brought me more disappointments than happiness.
I don't think rules do not apply to me, but somewhat, I've always managed to drift a little from the favoured patterns.
From my early school years, when my only friends were the bad boys at the school, to not having any family at my wedding. From being the house wife who preferred to study, rather then to gossip with the school moms and go on multiple holidays, to being the only atheist mother sending her child to a Christian school. From being the parent who never says "No" and gives complete freedom in decision making to her kid, to being the unorthodox business owner who risked huge losses, just to work on something others didn't believe in. My looks, my style, my beliefs and dis-beliefs, my approach to life - all slightly strange to others.
I've always been excluded from the "popular group", and only ever known how to be an outsider, but that has made me completely immune to the dependency on people's approval.
I don't need to pretend to be someone I am not just to be liked by others, I do not need to wear the mask of sameness to receive the crumbs of love others offer in return.
I am who I am, and what I am, and whatever I am doing that doesn't hurt others, shouldn't be of anyone's concern.
Everywhere I look today, I see people who are trying to be the same, be part of some mass movement, be included. Everyone is striving for a fake perfection and success, rather than appreciating the imperfections in variety of nature, and the subtle human traits that make us real.
Consequently, that compliance makes people entirely dependant on others, for opinions and approval, for acceptance and validation, even love. Everyone is terrified of exclusion. But is the exclusion necessarily a bad thing?
Looking even in history, only everyone who dared to be different in some form or another, made a significant difference in the world.
Galileo Galilei, Charles Darwin, The Pre-Raphaelites - they were all critiqued for being different, for having an innovative thinking and vision, for deviating from the current rules, but later appreciated and even loved for their audacity.
What that teaches me, is not to be afraid to be excluded, to be miss-understood and different. After all, if stepping away from the rules is what makes me happy and fulfilled, no one has the right to take it away from me.
My grandma use to say "There are passengers for every train", and I rather have fewer on mine. The type, who will appreciate the journey and won't damp their rubbish on the seats.
Dare to be different, it's rewarding to the soul.....and don't forget to smile!