The subject of conformity has shadowed me all my life, either one in which I could hide in or one that I cast.
I read Jae Lynn’s post on Conformity Not Required, where she related to the difficulties her son has in managing in conventional social settings, like school. Here he is unable to conform and this is then considered unacceptable, even “naughty” I’d guess. My son has similar difficulties why perhaps this stood out to me.
Often non-conformity is portrayed in the context of choice, deliberately acting against the norm. Where this behaviour is considered uncomfortable to others or inconvenient, the person is considered a rebel. Where their choice has no direct impact on others, they are described as non-conformists.
Reflecting on my life, I can see examples where I have found myself in all three settings; unable to conform, choosing an alternate path or rebelling.
I think early on in my life, it became evident that there were two ways to draw attention, entertain others or miss-behave, and often I witness people doing both. As a more introverted person, drawing attention to myself was something I avoided. By people that saw me growing up, they would refer to me as a polite, well behaved child. A more accurate description would be someone who was successful at not drawing too much attention to themselves. Hiding in the shadow of conformity.
It’s impossible for me to completely live in the shadows, many of my actions or opinions stand out too far and these then cast their own shadows drawing unwanted attention. This is the juggling act I constantly perform.
I will conclude with the words from a sketch I saw illustrated in a newspaper cartoon.
Me: Hi Friend, what are you wearing ?
Friend: Hi there, this is my uniform.
Me: Uniform, what uniform?
Friend: I joined the army of non-conformity.