Ditch Normal & Embrace Weird: A Case for Nonconformity
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The World Needs More Weird
We live in strange times. The internet has opened up a brand new world with its own unique culture. The global pandemic has shaken every structure to its core. Politics are heated, divided, and we have no idea where the world is going.
The definition of normal is changing dramatically, so it’s time to shake off the old meaning of “normal” and live our lives authentically. We have no idea what the next day holds, but sticking to an outdated standard just because some people expect it is just silly. Let’s explore why normal is a bore and weird is where it’s at.
Normal is Overrated
What is normal anyway? When you think of “normal”, you might think of how you look or how you act. Maybe being quiet and unobtrusive is normal. Or maybe normal means your favorite hobbies are off the table.
While it’s okay to have certain things about you that are “normal”, you shouldn’t be all square edges. There are certain parts of you that are vibrant, funky, and different from the people around you. So why hide those brilliant facets of yourself from the world?
Oftentimes, “normal” just means “shut up, sit down, and don’t rock the boat”. But I’d argue that there is no better time to rock the boat and be who you want to be, judgment be damned.
Abandon the Rat Race
A lot of us face pressure to fit within a certain mold of acceptable values. After marriage, Jon and I faced pressure from nearly everyone. Raise kids, buy a big house, and live the “normal” suburban life. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this particular journey. But it simply isn’t true to who we are right now.
We’ve always lived well below our means so we can have plenty of money to put into the business, and this choice baffles lots of people in our lives. It’s not unusual to catch flak from people for not spending more money on a fancier house, a constantly rotating wardrobe, or a certain caliber of car. This pressure is just an invitation to join the infamous rat race.
We aren’t interested in competing with our peers on who has the nicest TV or most manicured lawn. At the end of the day, that competition is one that no one can truly win, so what’s the point? I’d rather spend my money on the things and experiences I enjoy, even if it’s unconventional. I’d rather make myself happy than impress my nosy neighbors.
Let Your Freak Flag Fly
As a millennial, I grew up at the beginning of a huge cultural shift thanks to the internet. Gen Z, though, grew up fully immersed in this new world, and they eat it up. I am so proud of this next generation. Gen Z is loud, vivacious, and funky as hell, regardless of how others might scoff.
Millennials began to ask questions about gender and queerness, but Gen Z has totally redefined what gender means. I see more young people nowadays living so big and without care toward tradition, and I love that. It’s so refreshing to see so many people living unapologetically and sharing their passions with the world.
I see all kinds of creators online sharing their love for makeup, radical gardening, mindful foraging, offbeat religions, sex education, political opinions, and overwhelming community. We can all learn something from these powerful young people. Life is meant to be lived loudly, boldly, and without hesitation.
Just Be You
I’m not saying you need to be the most intense person in any room, but you should strive to feel comfortable sharing all parts of yourself, not just the parts deemed “socially acceptable”. Be a basic bitch who loves pumpkin spice, that’s okay! But also be comfortable talking about your passionate fandom for an obscure book. Enjoy popular TV shows, but also be willing to talk to people about your deep love of mycology.
Everyone has something weird that they love. Everyone is passionate and full of life. The trick is getting people to feel comfortable opening up and sharing that zest with others — and that begins when we can accept ourselves for who we are. The world is full of uncomfortable change and disruption, but something you can do right now to make the world better is to be who you are without worrying about whether it’s normal or not. Shine, and you’ll give others the room to shine, too.