Usage Guidelines: Play it when you are trying not to conform (remember those “emo” years…? I do.)
Expiration: When you realize there is no such thing as a non-conformist (replace with the “I’m a Unique Individual” Card)
As I was going through my old notebooks I came across a 2-page rant about non-conformists. Funny enough, I wrote the rant while I viewed myself as one of the “non-conformists”. Hahaha, oh, the younger me. I was 16, I had purple/bright pink/dark brown synthetic dreads that stretched the length of my back. I wore skater brand clothes/shoes, sported dark eyeliner and bright eyeshadow, listened to underground punk music while writing “meaningful poetry”, wore eclectic accessories and things like “arm socks”, oh and smoked a large amount of pot…
That being said, I had thought I was a non-conformists until one day I saw a button my friend R was wearing and something inside of me went off like a bell. Wow, a button bought from Spencer’s Gifts helped me realize something… What is this world coming to when you can learn life lessons from a BUTTON? Haha. Anyways, it simply stated “You non-conformists are all alike”. I immediately hit the web searching for the actual definition of ‘Non Conformist’. What I found inspired the rant I will now share.
Written by the 16-year-old Lacey (The 24-year-old Lacey wanted to EDIT so bad, but refrained for the personal challenge of punching down my inner perfectionist):
Have you ever wondered why people have the power to control your whole being? Your life is constantly in others’ hands, and we just go along with it. You allow “them” to influence your emotions, dreams, how you live your life, even the type of clothing you wear. I mean, it’s insane. We strive to be independent and define ourselves as different. But when it comes down to it there’s something that has already determined or influenced the type of person you are or will be. Like my friend’s button says, “You Non Conformists are all alike”. You can deny this or get offended…but take a step back, open your eyes and mind. The word ‘non-conformist’ means to resist conforming to others’ expectations. So you do this how? Well, for one, you do what you like, say what you want, wear whatever you want. That’s great… if you were to live in a way that is true to who you are. But then, someone sees you, gets to know you, and starts to admire your individuality. And takes on characteristics that define you. YOU the non-conformist. Someone has conformed to you…little by little they take away what was once defining you. Soon you are surrounded by miniature copies of yourself. I bet all your friends dress, talk, and act like you don’t they?
This is where the button makes sense. This is a world that strives to belong and fit in. We do things to ourselves to prove something. To find acceptance even if it’s by rejecting societies ideals, others will soon follow.
What people need to realize is the outside appearance doesn’t make you a non-conformist. We live in a world that mass produces EVERYTHING. Do not even attempt to be an individual by wearing certain clothes or by piercing and tattooing your body, cuz trust me there are always 2 or more of something. OR there will be once you fork out the cash to acquire your uniqueness. Nothing is ever original. Even what I am writing now has been covered before…
There is no way to be a non-conformist in every sense of the word. And there is no way to avoid being influenced by society, it’s inevitable. But you can be a unique individual. Follow your heart and be happy with who you are. Make your decisions based on your desires and not anyone else’. Life is so much more enjoyable when you are true to yourself and not societies expectations.
So there it is, the perspective of my 8-years-younger self in its entirety. I wrote this out while I was the epitome of a person who truly believed nonconformism existed. I actually thought it was a card I was playing, and playing well. I was smug about it too. Hahaha. Oh well, I learned from that button. I kept my dreads because I truly liked them, I listened to music I actually ENJOYED over the underground punk that suited my clothing, I started to live in a way that made me happy…not in a way that made me look different from others. Well, not different from the friends I had but different from “mainstream”. Ya know…”the bad guy”. Lol.
I can honestly say I now live a life that brings me joy. I stand up for myself and others who can’t. I speak with honesty, respect, and love because that’s the best way to speak. I live a life that brings true happiness to myself and to those who surround me. I’m a “unique individual” because of my heart. So thanks 16-year-old self for letting a button cause you to think, motivate you to change your view on individuality and apply it to your life.
*Boy I hope a couple like-minded 16-year-old’s read this post… The younger people learn this, the better our society will be*