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Well hello there you lovely lot. This little post is another of my Cuppa and a Chat posts. Its just me and my brain, thinking out loud, hoping to open discussion and have a chat. This post is inspired by, (but not about) my youngest son, but I think its a common thing that people, ourselves included, come across in our lifetime. Lets chat…
The comprehensive school system in the UK likes conformity. It likes its pupils to fit a certain criteria, achieve the results that they know the pupil is capable of, in the subjects that society and the school deem to be the important subjects.
Well, in my youngest sons case, he is incredibly bright. He is expected A’s in his exams, and he is the top sets for all subjects. Great you would think? The downside, his brain is the wrong shape for school. He is expected to behave and conform in a certain way, because, according to school/society histology, that is what bright kids do, they conform, and are “studious”. Well, not in my sons case. He struggles with traditional schooling methods as he finds it difficult to sit and listen to teachers ‘bang on” about things he has no interest in. He comes alive of a night time and is a social butterfly. He has to be forced to revise and is, I will admit, a little wild! He loves Science and English, hates maths. He is very good at maths, numbers come easy to him, but he detests it. He loves people, people love him, he is incredibly popular. Teach him in a way that is interactive and you get the best from him. A recent evening up at the school to discuss my son, the dreaded parents evening, made me really sit and think about the expectations we put on each other, ourselves, our younger generations, to fit the mould. The reoccurring theme from my sons teachers was, he is so incredibly bright, but distractive/chatty/unable to focus/questions everything. He dosent fit with the rest of the class who, on the whole, fit that stereotypical bright kid profile. Difficult for the school, I appreciate that, but also difficult for Fin as he has spent his entire 5 years at secondary school feeling suppressed and hating every day. That saddens me.
It got me thinking about a post I wrote a while back, Ten Things Iv Learnt (on my 44th birthday)
In that post I wrote about how I believe your vibe attracts your tribe. What I mean by that is that being you, your original, true version of you, will attract the people into your life that love and appreciate you for you. Your friendships/relationships will be more fulfilled and satisfying. You will not feel you have to filter or tone down your personality, or try to conform. I think when we are young, we try on a few different versions of ourselves. Without being a cliche, we are trying to find ourselves and work out what we are all about. Teenage angst is a real thing people!
As you grow in experience and life lessons, (I dont think age necessarily brings this awakening) the need to conform and fit fades. You learn that its more important to feel comfortable in your own skin, you dont feel the need to seek anyone’s approval. You have usually formed long standing relationships that are comfortable and natural. The people in your life, on the whole, love and accept you as you. We discussed this a bit in another cuppa and a chat post, Your not everyones cup of tea – and thats ok.
But, what about when you dont really feel like you fit the mould? I have always felt like I think differantly to other girls. Iv never quite got the rules of the jungle. At school, I would have friends in all of the typical groups, the In crowd, the Geeky girls, the Sporty girls etc. I would often get myself in trouble for hanging out with the “wrong” people from one group, by another group who thought Id signed up to their membership. But to me, they were all just people! Company to be enjoyed. I never got it, why could’nt I be friends with everyone? I never really pinned my colours to the mast for any particular group, preffering instead to have variation and enjoying varied company. The downside to this is that you are friends with everyone, but dont really gain anyones loyalty (apart from your best friends) as, I suppose, you are not giving any one group your full loyalty. I was never a pack animal, and even, god forbid, enjoyed the company of my brother and his mates!
Also, Iv always been happy to show my ambition. This can evoke feelings of distrust from others, in part, because of their own insecurities and desire to climb their own ladders. Someone outwardly showing their colours and saying, “hey, Im willing to work hard to get to where I want to be”, can make people nervous. Its strange isnt it. People need to remember that blowing out someone elses candle dose not make theirs burn brighter! Support others, and not because of what you feel it could gain you, but because you want to see them do well!
I think in the blogging world, its even more apparent if you dont try to fit in any particular mould. The terms “girl gang” and “squad goals” are banded about, (we have spoken about this last month) indicating cliques are still very much alive in the adult world too! Social media has become the new playground. People trying to fit the mould, posting what they think others will like rather than their own preferences, trying to be popular and forming their own “girl gangs”. Its no surprise to any of you that I really struggle with social media, for that very reason. I don’t want to post a daily selfie, an outfit of the day, its not me and Im not comfortable in front of the camera. Not that there is anything wrong with those that do in any way, I like to see some outfit posts. But neither is it wrong those that don’t, but it seems that if you don’t play by certain rules, you struggle to get a following. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with that, I would rather be true to myself and post the things I like, than conform to what everyone else thinks we should do. I could’nt live like that. My husband would say that I have always rebelled against conformity! My attitude is a bit of a pain in the butt when you need social media to promote your blog though, Im not gonna lie!
So, what can you do if you need in some ways to play the game, but find yourself rebelling and kicking back against the rules? How can you do that but still keep your uniqueness? I have had this discussion with my youngest son, as he is about to try to make his way in the working world, and if I am honest, I cant work it out! I dont know what to advise him. Of course you have to conform in a working environment, but still be you. My son is probably cut very much from the same cloth as me. Both of us have been described in the same way. Free spirited. Head strong. Cant be controlled. Rebels against routine. Quirky. Thinks differently. Wired up weird. There own person. These are ways I have been described all my life, and my son has been too. (Which is probably why I have always embraced his spirit)
The sad truth is though, that you have to learn to play the game. You have to push yourself into a mould a little to achieve what you want to achieve. Finley will have to go to interviews in his suit, not in his self styled ripped jeans and a hat. The same as I have to occasionally be in a photo on my Instagram. (Never an outfit shot though, I draw the line at that) haha! Also, for me, if I have learnt anything the last year, its that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. We owe it to ourselves to be true to our own truth, do what makes our soul sing, and find your happy. Its no harm to break the mould when you feel the need to and always, forever, be your unique, individual, beautiful self.
So, my question is, do you find that you feel pressure to conform? Do you feel that you sometimes feel like you are not truly being yourself? Are you aware that sometimes you act a certain way to make people like you or accept you? Do you think its a confidence thing or a “quiet life” thing? Id really love to hear your thoughts on all this!