Societal dictates define, confine, and restrict us within the approved box of predetermined normality – to: color within the lines, walk in a straight column, sit still, follow the rules, compete and win, go to college (whether it is right for you or not), get a job to make money to buy all the stuff you think you need, find a life partner, have 2.5 children, and, don’t forget, you must behave with absolute decorum at all times. Conformity is so deeply embedded into our cultural psyche that being identified (labeled) as weird or different is touted as the worst possible epitaph.
I have always questioned, and, to be completely honest, strained against these unwritten mandates. If it is true, as my mother told me when I was young, “we are all unique - life would be awfully boring if we were all the same,” why do we all feel the compulsion to imprison ourselves (and those we love) within that coffer of social acceptance?
Sometimes we invoke, oh so, polite phrases, such as: “he marches to the beat of a different drum,” “she is one card short of a deck,” or if you are from the south, “well, bless her heart” to indicate our discomfort or dismay when we are directly confronted with someone who doesn’t quite fit in to our communal definition of conventional. At other times, we use hate-filled, prejudiced, vitriolic, and malicious language to make sure there is no question that a person, idea, or group is strange (dangerous) and should be ostracized.
Because of this perceived threat of being shunned, I firmly believe that many of us work overtime to fit in - take on a role, and, as a result, lose our essential selves in the process. We have become automations, fulfilling the expectations of society without even comprehending that, in doing so, we are bankrupting our souls.
Imagine a world where everyone decided to break free to live their lives based on their own personal morals, ideals, and aspirations – where uniqueness and kindness were valued and everyone was actually encouraged to celebrate their individuality.
I challenge you to say, “thank you,” the next time someone calls you weird, as if it is an honor – an accolade and an indication of deep respect. In embracing our respective weirdness, we can (will) normalize it and make it a desired trait instead of one to be avoided at all costs.
We are so close! Thanks to the awesome SLU softball team for their tremendous help yesterday during Make a Difference Day. We are grateful to these strong, community-minded young women. They along with the Russell family, who provided their bread truck for transport, our board President, Diane Exoo, who also bought us sustenance, and Christopher Raymo, our intrepid Seedlings Coordinator and Music Director lifted, hauled, pushed, and pulled most of DRC’s stuff down that ridiculous flight of stairs, loaded it up, and then lifted, hauled, pushed, and pulled it all into our new home.
Thank you to Tyler, the manager of the Canton Pizza Hut, for making a cash donation when he heard about the volunteer work that was being done at DRC for Make a Difference Day.
DRC will be operating from our old location for this coming week with the bare minimum of furniture and materials while an electrician does some work in our new home.
We still need some help installing a chain-link fence in the back yard before we can officially move in.
Once we completely vacate 7 Main St., we will need volunteers to come in and paint some walls and shampoo the carpets.