Why fit in - Stand out.


Why fit in, When you can stand out! I grew up with a mother who stood out in every possible way; sometimes embarrassingly so, mostly inspiringly so. She actively encouraged us – with her daily self, her words, her very essence – to be different. To be ourselves, wholehearted. To stand out from the crowd, and not be embarrassed by being different.

I was never ever one of the popular kids at high school. I went a small alternative (Steiner) primary school where we were all a bit different in our own ways, and loved each other for it. At high school my differences became who I was. Some of my friends went through the usual teenage angst of needing to fit in, be the same, dress the same. That peer pressure thing. Not me – I stood proudly different. I henna-ed my hair, wasn’t embarrassed when the kids found out we skinny dipped in our creek, proudly declared my vegetarianism (in a region of cattle farmers), and was quietly pleased with the semi-teased name “hippie” (though I knew I wasn’t a real hippie, I was compared to those kids). And yet through it all I was respected by my peers. Respected for standing out, for being me, being differently. Being proudly different.

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I've never in my life wanted to be in the popular gang, or the trendy one (golly I'm far far from that - I like to think I set my own trends {insert smile face}). Yep this funny social media world we're caught up in, and Instagram in particular, has a way of making even the most confident self-declared non-populars question ourselves. Even if just a little. And I wonder why? What is it? What's it about? But more importantly - if I feel even slightly like this {as a confident, almost 38yr old}, what do the young kids feel like? And what repercussions may this have on the next generations.

We've seen, already, it affect different people in unpositive ways, in depressing ugly ways. But what I actually started this post about was….. why are we all wanting to be the same?

I'm wondering if you've noticed, as I have, the increase on Instagram of same/same similar style of images. The photos that could be anyone's, that 'everyone' seems to double-tap, only increasing our awareness that the majority really all want to be the same. Are we really happy looking at the same picture over and over again, redone with a different flower, coffee cup, perfectly white kitchen. Does this inspire, or make us feel envious - and by 'liking' we somehow feel we'll too be part of the popular gang. We'll be let into that inner circle of perfectly-perfect. {Golly I don't actually even fit into imperfectly-perfect, if we're being honest….. there ain't no perfection here at all, and no aim for it!}. So why, pray tell me, do I keep seeing the same images being posted, day after day, and copied, 'inspired by'……… Please tell me - are you not bored of styling & taking the same shot each day, are you not bored of looking at the same image each day.

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I'm not blaming or accusing anyone here - because I know that particularly Instagram is an amazing creative outlet for so many of us, and that for some of you it's perhaps the only time you stop and do something for yourself in a day. I'm just curious, this is all personal observation, curiosity…. But I'm wondering - are you posting for the likes, the popularity or to continue to inspire yourself, find growth in your own creativity, challenge yourself. Are you willing to evolve, grown, learn, change even if it means you don't get the love…… even if it means you're on the outskirts?

I'd really love your thoughts, words, insights - all and any. Please let's share and connect and open ourselves to a teeny bit of truth. Let's be vulnerable in not being part of the popular tribe.

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