Think over your life choices, how would you categorize yourself, conventional or unconventional?
Me? Decidedly Unconventional. Yes with a capital U.
Have I fought this reality of my authentic self? Yes you bet. Has it caused me pain and a sense of isolation and feelings of doubt? Time and time again. Am I currently curating an appreciation of this aspect of myself? Trying really really hard.
To be conventional means to buy into whatever is currently popular or favorable, or considered socially accepted. To be conventional means to go along to get along, to join in and to be accepted. Part of the club, part of the team, often admired and considered successful.
Unconventionality is considered by the culture to be negative, undesirable, and just plain weird. To step out of line and display one’s uniqueness is often frowned upon and admonished. By taunts and teasing, exclusion and ultimately shunned. To be in an outsider.
And no one really wants that right? Well, as one who has often felt on the outside I can tell you no, it does not feel good. Why? Because we have been conditioned into believing it feels better to be on the inside.
My journey to the outside began early on, when my parents found some of my uniqueness odd, and vocalized their opinions, frequently. When I went to school, and felt, thought, and learned differently from the majority of the class. When I ‘failed’ and was given special treatment for being ‘slow’.
When I was ridiculed for not being able to tell time or recite my math facts. When I got sick with a very unusual thyroid condition rarely seen in children. When as a result I broke my femur and missed most of the sixth grade. Middle school sealed the deal when I was betrayed by my best friend and firmly planted in the outcast club by a system back then known as ‘tracking’ Three groups organized by ability A, B, C…I was placed in group C. High school continued the torture, few friends, no group to identify with or be a part of, an exercise in trying not to be seen. And I wasn’t.
It wasn’t until college when I began to feel as though I might belong. Where my uniqueness and gifts began to be reinforced and I began to ‘bloom’.
As I grew into adulthood I tried to embrace conventionality, and it worked for awhile, but now in my sixties, I see the lie. To my truth, I am not conventional, I am myself. There is no other me on this planet. I think and feel differently than anyone else. And so do you. We are all unconventional because we are all different.
I’m learning to embrace this unconventionality which deems me an ‘outsider’, not necessarily liked or accepted by all, but real. I am willing to acknowledge my truth, not to follow the conventional path, not to ‘fit in’.
Because who really decides this conventional mindset? The collective consciousness. If we could redirect towards acceptance of our own individual thumbprints and celebrating our differences, we might shift.
Shift way from this desperate need to belong.
Belong to what exactly? An illusion. Our truth is in our authentic selves, in our souls, Unconventionally.