So, I’ve given a bit of a background flavour in my other two posts on this subject, the posts which were meant to say what this is going to say… at last!
Sometimes in life we do things we know are against our better judgement because we are ‘supposed to’, because to not do in the prescribed way makes us different, makes us stand out, makes us not fit in.
How much of our lives do we spend struggling with concepts which we feel in our hearts are wrong yet society pressures us to embrace because we have to fit in, worse how many things do we not participate in or enjoy because society tells us we shouldn’t or we can’t?
Think about every day and how we are influenced to make our decisions based on ‘rules’ and those rules are made by whom? We allow people to make choices for us, faceless, nameless people, governments who don’t care about us, businesses who only want our money, employers to whom we are expendable, families and friends who disappear when the going gets tough.
What happens when we start to analyse those rules and consider the consequences of them. Laws are one thing but I’m talking about the rules we allow to be imposed upon us the rules we yield to unquestioningly all in an effort to fit in. The rules which make us do things we don’t want to like spend money we don’t have on presents nobody needs at Christmas, pay fortunes to provide a three course gourmet meal for a great aunt nobody’s seen for ten years just because we’re getting married those kinds of things.
The rules which say fat people should cover up or better still hide and definitely not dare go swimming, the rules which say you’re too old to start a new career, you’re too young to offer anyone advice, you’re too ugly to bag yourself a beautiful life partner, you’re too ginger to get a tan, you’re not smart enough to be a doctor, you’re not rich enough to own a boat, you’re not articulate enough to speak in public, you’re too female to operate a tower crane, you’re too male to work in a nursery, you’re not disciplined enough to lose weight, you’re too cultured to swear, eat your peas with a knife, don’t slurp your soup …
Sometimes it’s OK not to fit in, sometimes you can break those rules and liberate yourself and it all starts with liberating your mind, “emancipate yourself from mental slavery” as Bob Marley once said. Shake off the shackles of the past, the restraints that society, your family and friends have put around you and be what you want to be, do what you want to do and stand out once in a while, be awkward, be different, be unique, be difficult, be brazen, be contrary just be YOU.
Be happy and proud to be an odd shaped peg that doesn’t want to fit into any kid of hole, round, square or anything in between.
We have to believe in ourselves and I tell you what, when I relocate in a couple of months time, I’m going to find a local amateur dramatics society and I am going to sing and act on a stage. It might not be the West End or Broadway but I am going to do it even though I’m fat, even though I’m getting old, even though I’ve always been told I can’t and even if I’m different, even if I don’t fit in I will be happy being me and doing what I know I should have done all of those years ago.
Sometimes I think I went too far with my kids though, one November, my eldest was 15 and my youngest just turned 9, we were sitting eating dinner and I asked what they would like for Christmas. They thought and shook their heads “Can’t think of anything”, I pressed them, there must be something they wanted. “No” the responses came back from each. “What am I going to buy you then?” I asked in almost panic. “How about what we want, how about you listen to what we want mummy” my daughter said and my son nodded in greasy cheeked approval as he chomped on his chicken drumstick.
“You haven’t told me anything” I said puzzled.
“Yeah we did mummy, we said we don’t want anything” my son’s dimples deepened as he smiled at his sister (they love to gang up on me).
“How can I get you that?” I asked.
They both laughed, “Surely nothing is the easiest thing to get” they laughed more at my dumbness.
“I can’t buy you nothing for Christmas” I said, feeling upset at the prospect of them having no presents on Christmas morning.
“Why not?” asked my daughter “We don’t want anything, we don’t need anything, if you feel so pressured by society to go out and buy us things we don’t want with money you could put to much better use elsewhere then go ahead if it makes you feel better but we’re happy to just be together. Besides everything’s half the price a week later it’s a ridiculous waste of money.”
That was the first year we had no presents and also the first year we had racks of pork ribs and bowls of chicken wings for Christmas dinner, sitting on the sofa watching Christmas movie after Christmas movie because the kids eventually told me that the worst thing about Christmas Day was me spending nearly all of it cooking.
Our tradition changed and people think we’re strange because we don’t have Christmas, we put up a tree close to Christmas Day and leave it there usually until February because we like it making our home feel cosy during the winter months, we have ribs and wings for dinner and we don’t have presents, our gift is a donation of some time to charity and after it’s all done we go away on a lovely holiday where we can all relax and get some sun and have fun together using the money we saved on presents.
We don’t fit in, we may be unconventional, our friends may think we’re odd but boy do we love Christmas our way.