So a couple of weeks ago, on the show, we looked at what it means to be different, what are our differences, are we really all that different.
When I was a kid, 7/8 years old, my mother asked me to explain what makes men and women different. Having a younger brother, I have some rudimentary idea of the difference in anatomy. However, every one of my suggestions were shot down. She attempted to explain that there are no real differences between us, and that the difference between the sexes is not so easy to quantify. This was an early lesson that never left me.
But we are different, we have to find non verbal ways of communicating our differences to others, to show which tribe we belong to. This can be to open up lines of communication but to also warn people. To show what you care above, what you love, to show where you come from or where you intend to be.
There are many tribes that you can belong to – when I was growing up, I would say that music was the strongest influence on me, and how I dressed. I spent most of my free time working with horses, and animals which meant that I was dressed in old clothes, and not easily identifiable. But I found myself becoming more and more interested in music, it had always been a strong influence in the home, and I fell hard for rock, and later, goth music styles. There are pretty broad and I won’t dissect the sub cultures within. Let us just say that because I wanted to be ‘different’ I found myself dressing in a way that would help people easily identify me as part of a culture. Of course, at the time I didn’t think so, at the time I was being utterly ‘non conformist’ by refusing to wear the fashions of Miss Selfridge and River Island. And yet again my mother pointed out that by dressing in a certain way (band t shirts, leggings etc) I was conforming to another group. You will generally speaking always be conforming to a group no matter how hard or little you try. It is human nature to try and fit you into a box so you can understand that person a little better.
But it isn’t always so easy, like Johnny Ruckus who I interviewed recently – he has been fairly open about the problems he has when he is in costume, and alcohol is in the mix (although not always) and shared recently how he had been picked on by a bunch of guys while wearing a Star Trek sweater (irrc) and therefore being a Geek… while they were wearing football t shirts. Because some things are more socially acceptable.
There are so many horror stories, we all remember Sophie Lancaster, literally killed for looking different. If you don’t remember or want to learn more, please head to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Here. They work hard to help promote understanding of subcultures – the aim that people will not be targeted for their self expression.
Now, if it feels as if I am spinning in several different directions, it is because I am – being different is something extremely difficult to quantify, because what if different for one person, is normal for the next. What you might consider weird, is just average for the next person. That is more that what people wear, it is jobs, lifestyle, hobbies, pursuits, where you live, who you live with.
We should all appreciate each others differences and instead of making fun of things that we don’t understand, learn, ask questions, show an interest and who knows where that will lead. There is nothing wrong with the path you chose, you are no less of a person because you outwardly show your individuality, or if you keep a little bit of you inside. Be yourself, because it is the only you there is. And you are beautiful 🙂