Today’s post is something that has been on my mind for a very long time; much of my young adult life. I had the thrilling experience – sarcasm intended- of attending an all-girls’ school for seven years. Bitch fits, cat fights, school rivalries, bullying, the obsession to be considered “fit”, popularity contests and school toilets filled with girls slapping on make-up. The trend was (and still is) bleach blonde locks with layers upon layers of fake tan. A place where the ideal girl was skinnier than a starving African child, had bleach blonde hair, tanned skin, the latest handbag and managed to sneak into clubs with fake ID. What a joyous experience! Cue the dreaded phrase from a suburban, white, middle class girls’ school: “Am I orange?” Well…to be honest, I still feel alarmed when I see a white person with a significantly darker complexion than a non-white person. It’s an experience that I am able to look back on and think: “Thank goodness that’s over!” but had I not been through that, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
It’s quite an intense environment because we were all young girls each on our own confusing journey to discover who we were, but the major flaw in our pursuit for individuality was that we didn’t know how to achieve or maintain it. Of course we didn’t know how to, most adults don’t let alone teenagers, and it’s something we’re not born with. But it is something we develop as we come into contact with different people, places, lifestyles, situations and expand our horizons. It’s something we are in control of and I discussed this in my vlog “Keep Calm and Carry On” which you can view here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp3CZnECb2c
To be different is a difficult, steep climb and the world is often not kind to “the new” – arguably it is easier to “fit in” and just “run with the herd.” This works in the short term, but is wholly unsustainable in the long run. Why? Because you lose the opportunity to learn, understand and develop yourself.
The beauty of humanity lies in the fact that we come in different shapes, sizes, colours and personalities; like a human patchwork quilt. We spend so much of our time trying to fit in that we forget that we were all born to stand out and to be different.