Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Nonconformity Is The New Black

Today at work I couldn't help but over hear a conversation with a co-worker and my boss. My boss was telling my co-worker that her son needed to learn to conform. I was shocked! Conform? Why does he need to conform? Because I am me, and I always have unsolicited opinions I spoke up. Seriously, this man has an education degree! A PhD no less, why in Heaven's name would he utter the phrase "Your son needs to learn to conform." He went on to say that’s what education is about -- conformity and preparing kids for the future. The more he talked, the sorrier I felt for him. It definitely made me think though.

I whole heartedly disagree. Maybe it’s because I am from the Millennial Generation (Gen Y, whatever you want to call it) but I have been shrugging off other people's expectations and essentially doing my own thing for ages. I am a nonconformist and damn proud of it! Maybe it is completely a generational thing. My boss tells stories about his grandparents coming to America, wanting to forget their native language to learn English, not talking about their homelands, because they were in America, they wanted to be American. Now, I think young people more than ever embrace the fact that they are different.

Seriously, individuality is key! I can personalize my cell phone, my ring tone, my license plate, the cover of my blackberry, choose whatever color Dell computer I want, whatever color iPod I want, and on and on...those are just little things, anything to make mine just a little bit different from someone else’s. I don't want what everyone else has, that’s boring! I don’t think school is about beating the conformity out of kids; it should be about helping them find their uniqueness and celebrating that. Over the weekend one of the movies we caught the tail end of was Accepted...the end contains a great speech about nonconformity.

Alot of the blogs I read are ones about adoption (my cousins adopted last year and are in the process of bringing two more daughters into their family now) one of the commons themes I see in those blogs -- people who had the desire, courage, and drive to do something different. I am sure some of them faced some opposition from friends, family, their community -- but they did it anyway! Nikki, the uber cool college student who designed my blog, has a desire and drive to help people and make things happen and she does just that!

Nonconformity doesn't have to be something on the large scale, it’s about finding out who you are, without other people telling you who you should be and what you should do. Will it win you some unpopular votes? Sure. Who cares? If people have a problem with you, it’s just that, their problem. Honestly, nothing gives me more pleasure in my life than doing something people told me I couldn't do. We're all different, embrace it, and don’t conform to be something or someone you're not.

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them." ~George Bernard Shaw

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary." ~Sir Cecil Beaton


Nikki said...

Great post- I totally agree! Thanks for mentioning me :)


Carrie said...

True that; life's too short to spend all this time trying to be someone else. It's so easy (and fabulous) to be yourself!