When I was in high school, in south-east Kansas, the students were divided up into groups. There were the “preps”, whose parents usually had money, the “Jocks” as baseball, wrestling, and football were big in my hometown. The group known as the “band kids” which was made up of students that were not “jocks” or “preps”. Then we had the “kickers” which were usually in FFA (Future Farmers of America). I didn’t appreciate those tight cowboy jeans until later in life so let’s just take a second to say………Thank you, JESUS!!
Finally, there were the “floaters”. That was a made-up name I gave myself because I didn’t fit the mold of any group. I didn’t grow up with money, I was on the dance team but failed at just about any sport, I was in honored music called “Chandeliers” but not in the band and there wasn’t any ounce of “farm girl” in my body. So, that left me as a “floater”. I had friends in every group. I loved being able to walk into any class or even a party on the weekend and find a friendly face. It was important for me to be friends with all sorts of different people. I even won the award for Miss Congeniality my Senior year. Regardless of how many friends I had, I never truly belonged anywhere. I envied others for that. Fitting in has been something I have struggled with deeply most of my life. But the more I have gotten to know myself, the more I appreciate my own uniqueness and now I see where I fit in and where I don’t. That same high school girl is still inside me, still making friends with people from all different groups. But now that girl has her own identity and isn’t relying on validation from anyone.
During our life, there are pivotal moments that are made up of lessons and challenges. How we respond, molds us into the people we become. High school plays an important role in our “social wax-up” so to speak. Let’s go old school and use Al Bundy from Married with Children, for example.
Al Bundy was a star football player. His glory moment was scoring four touchdowns in one single game. The moments that he felt the most celebrated and the most important was when he was playing high school football. As we all know, he grew up and became a shoe salesman. He was miserable with his life and hated his job. But Al always found a moment to talk about the “glory days” of high school football. Al lived for those memories. After graduation, he was lost. He had no direction. Instead of moving forward with life, he got stuck on repeat. He had no identity outside of his high school football glory days. He had no idea who he truly was or how to move forward. We hear stories like this all the time. The star quarterback is the town drunk 20 years later. Why is this?
So many people get trapped by labels that they can’t move forward. But in our defense, we have been conditioned our entire lives to follow the crowd. When we’re born, our parents dress us in gender-specific clothes and give us gender-specific toys. Girls get dolls and boys get trucks. Girls play with an easy bake oven and boys get a workbench full of tools. There is nothing wrong with any of these but it does condition our ever so innocent, highly impressionable brains that we are what society says we are.
I’m happy to see that times are changing and people are becoming more comfortable being themselves and others are more accepting of change. But we still have a long way to go.
Why is life so “cookie cutter”? Why is it when we’re out to lunch with our friends and we see someone walk by with a neck tattoo we give our friend the silent “look”. And as soon as we get back to the privacy of our car we blabber on for 10 minutes about how ridiculous it is and how we just don’t understand why anyone would ever want to do that. We focus far too much on what other people do with THIER lives and spend too little time investing in our own.
During the Clinton/Trump campaign, there was a very small protest here in the St. Louis area. You know how the news does that funny thing where they ONLY interview people who will get attention? They do it for a reason because it works. They just so happened to interview a guy I know who has an IMPRESSIVE jet black, 12-18 inch long, traditional style, pointy mohawk. Like I said, I know this guy. Not very well, but I know enough that he is a very polite, well mannered, contributing member of society and he lives life on his terms, nobody elses (hence the mohawk). After the news aired, I was scrolling through facebook and someone had posted a picture of this guy to their page. This woman and all the comments from “friends” were strictly based off this guys appearance. They talked about what an absolute moron, pathetic excuse for an American he was. I try not to get into the back and forth stuff like this on facebook but I HAD to defend him. I also let this woman know that if it wasn’t for people who expected the world to fit into a cookie cutter mold, our world would be light years ahead of where we are now.
This is what I’m getting at folks. We all have our own uniqueness. The quirkiness about our own individuality is not weird, it’s uniquely us and its a gift. God does not make doubles. Not even twins are doubles. If so, why are their fingerprints different? We each have our own unique abilities. We need to stop trying to fit into a mold of being like everyone else. Once we throw away the cookie cutter and use our own recipe, we can begin to learn about ourselves. Once we begin to like our homemade recipe and not the store bought, we can begin to create a life that we LIVE vs. a life that we follow. Too many people live their lives based on what’s expected of them instead of being true to their own desires. We are conditioned from parents and teachers to be doctors, dental hygienists, and teachers. Yet, it’s frowned upon if you say you want to make a living doing something that you love, like baking, writing or crafting. If someone’s soul is meant to write music or another person’s heart is calling them to travel the world and blog about it, why does society shun that? We are not put on this planet to make money. We’re here to contribute and it’s our duty on this planet to contribute in a way that is unique to us. We’re not robots and the only way to move forward is to break free from the mold.
Before you can do something you have to become someone. What we do and how we act ultimatly comes from who we think we are. The key is knowing who you are, not what other people think you are.
I have heard great things about this book. It’s not one that I have read but it’s sitting in my Amazon cart. If you’ve read it, share your thoughts with us.
What cookie cutter molds are you trying to break free from? Remember, you’re never alone in your struggles. Your comment or question could be just what someone else needs. As always, thanks for being with me.