It occurred to me that conformity is something that I, as well as many others, I’m sure, struggle with almost daily. The worries of being examined and then labelled ‘normal’ or ‘different’ and therefore ‘bad’ plague my choices; whether it be what I wear, say, or do. I have always liked to fit in, that is, be a ‘normal’ person, not the kind of person that engages in questionable behaviour which is often criticised. Although, I must say that wearing an outfit that I consider to be unique often excites me; I like the idea of being noticed for being a little unusual, but not too unusual. It has always been my opinion that by crossing the ‘unusual line’, you automatically become a social outcast, spending your days mumbling to yourself and having people give you slight frowns as they hurriedly walk by. For such naïve thoughts I am sure to be reprimanded, but they blatantly reveal the sad lies that the world tells us: if you can’t be ‘normal’ (i.e. like everybody else) then consider yourself weird. Never mind the fact that everyone else might be utterly lost and their lives without direction. Just make sure that you don’t stand out in a crowd.
As I was riding my bike around a quiet campsite, I stumbled across a gentle reminder that not everyone has my ‘worldly’ way of thinking: just past the family looking at an unusual bird in a tree, there was a tall boy, carrying a unicycle. I thought this was positively quaint: all around him, people were riding bikes and scooters: he was probably the only person in the whole campsite who owned a one-wheeled bicycle. As I watched him out of the corner of my eye, he proceeded to ride it, and quite well I must say, around the block. I admired the way he rode it with a kind of effortless casualness. As I watched him with envious awe, I realised that he didn’t strike me as the kind of person who was especially popular, or who even had a whole heap of friends. This already placed him in the ‘uncool’ category by worldly standards, and yet, he still chose to do something that would make him even more unusual. I pondered this with excessive fascination. As his tall, somewhat lanky frame wobbled around a corner, he seemed quite oblivious to the fact that people were probably watching him and wondering when he had escaped from the circus. I admired him for it, but I was still wondering how he had mustered up the courage to do it; he seemed like a ‘blend into the background’ kind of guy. I decided then that in 2011, while embarking on my journey of self-discovery, I will work on being ‘unusual’. I was already on my way there; my outfit at the time of the sighting was, shall we say, original: plain, dark indigo denim shorts, rolled up at the bottom, teamed with an old button-up collared blue and white pinstripe shirt, with some sort of emblem on the pocket, bought from an op shop for $4. (I think it may have possibly once belonged to an old man, but unusual people don’t care about that sort of thing). Fashion is perhaps the thing I find hardest to be unusual at, so this was quite a large-ish step for me. As was the outfit I had worn only 4 days before: a high-waisted mock denim skirt and an old ‘college’ t shirt that I was then using as a sleep shirt. The idea of wearing pyjamas down town did daunt me, but my best friend, the brains behind the outfit, persuaded me to, and I’m awfully glad she did. Being ‘different’ is something I greatly admire in people, but can never seem to do myself. Hopefully this year I will gain some courage. Some people that are unusual but never seem to care that I greatly admire are…
*Regina Spektor—her music is in every way peculiar (in a very good way) , from the sometimes contrary piano accompaniments and unique vocals to the interesting and somewhat ‘random’ lyrics.
*My best friend (http://thetroublewithaudrey.tumblr.com) – perhaps the most stylish person of my acquaintance, her outfits and her outlook on life are certainly quirky.
*My darling mummy dearest—one of those ‘I’m weird and I don’t care even though my children do’ kind of mums, she can tell jokes in a variety of accents (whether correct or not) without so much as a faint blush of embarrassment. And while it is not something I myself am particularly keen on doing in front of large crowds, I think it is perhaps a good trait to have. Humour is, after all, something that I always look for and appreciate in people. And if her jokes get laughs then I don’t think I should be complaining about my own worldly concerns.
And of course…
*the boy on the unicycle—a seemingly quiet soul who turned out to be a perfect example of why you can’t judge a book by its cover.