As a fairly eccentric being I often find myself being shot down by people who deem me as unintelligent or lesser than them just because I can’t bring myself to confine the behaviours and opinions I exude into a societally approved list of what is and isn’t acceptable. The problem is that if we all lived by a certain checklist of behaviours we would all be dull, unadventurous and trapped in a prison created by our peers.
This week I discovered the true impact of being myself, and I mean not holding back from making that risky joke or hiding my views from the company that I keep, I just let my natural instinct shine through, and guess what? People still liked me, in fact I would say that people actually thought of me as more intelligent and certainly more confident. This got me thinking about why I felt the need to hide myself in the first place and the answer is obviously other humans, but also the subconscious pressure that is drummed into our heads from an early age through media.
For years we have forced humans who show differences into tight little boxes just because we fear them or don’t like their so-called “gimmick” that is “probably just a phase anyway”. Medicating the people that we can’t handle because they are so “uncontrollable” despite not getting the care or respect that they need and deserve. Misdiagnosing people just so there is a “logical” reason for their behaviour without really thinking of the societal impact it will have.
Who the hell are we to tell anyone what they can and can’t be? Or should the real questions be why aren’t we all accepted? What even is “normal” behaviour? Should perfectly functioning humans be medicated because they aren’t being shown nurture from society?
The media gives us stereotypes and unnaturalistic views of what humans are supposed to look and live like. Girls are meant to wear dresses, do their hair, make-up and obsess over boys. Boys are supposed to love sports, keep their hair short and obsess over sex. No one is the perfect stereotype created by well, ourselves.
One television show I always loved and have been re-watching recently is Malcolm in the Middle. The boys in the show all have differing personalities and although they all act tough around each other their father has no trouble showing his sensitivity, whereas most men in shows have to act tough for their sons. In one of the episodes Lois, the mother, realises that the only reason she feels the need to do her hair, make-up and dress a certain way is because her mother always told her to do it and made sure she looked a certain way when she was a teenager.
This is a great example of the kind of show we need today, something that tells us to break away from the norm and see what happens. Take a chance to step away from the pressures life hands us and actually be true to ourselves, step out of the tiny box we’re fighting hard to squeeze into and make it a new possibility. I promise that the people who deserve to be in your life will love you for exactly who you are.