*Note: not attacking/blaming anyone here. These are just my own opinions. If you disagree feel free to say so and we can discuss it 🙂*
My little sister came home crying today because she feels so different to all of her friends, she feels like she doesn’t fit in. Truth is, she doesn’t. She doesn’t even want to.
I walk past and see her standing there surrounded by her entire peer group. They’re all around her – singing stupid songs, doing silly things and talking about TV shows and movies she has no interest in. I catch her eye. She looks so sad and alone.
Later, back at home, she’s pretty upset. “Why can’t my friends be normal?” she asks me. Her perception of normal makes me smile. “They are normal” I tell her “It’s you who’s different.”
She doesn’t want to fit in with them, to be the same, to wear the same type of clothes, to talk the same kind of rubbish – she just wants her friends to be themselves, to have fun and not care about being ‘cool’ and fitting in. She just wants them to see what’s good and important, to realise that what they’re watching, listening to and basing their small-minded lives around is nonsense. No one ever did anything notable by being like everyone else.
Look, I understand how hard it is to escape from. This stuff is all around us. Our own society is telling us how to think and act, but our whole future is at stake here!
I understand my sister’s struggle. It’s kinda like there’s something that sets us apart. Like our eyes are opened. Like for some reason we can see the stupidity and danger in following the crowd. I listen to the rubbish some of my own friends and I feel like screaming at them “wake up! Is this how you want to spend your life??!?!”
Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually even likes this stuff – TV shows, music, internet trends and crazes? Maybe everyone is only obsessed because with it because it’s popular and they think they’ll be left out if they don’t join in with the hype? Wouldn’t it be cool if one person was like ‘guys, what’re we doing? This is seriously so bad!’ and everyone else admitted they never liked it either?! There’s always got to be a first one, right?!
When I talk to my friends one-on-one we have the BEST conversations. Sure, they’re often a bit crazy, but that’s okay. We talk about our dreams and hopes and our struggles and things we’ve done and learnt. How we feel and things that have made us laugh or smile. We talk about memories and stories and things we’re scared of. Things that make us happy, things that make us sad. Very rarely do I have these conversations when there’s a big group of us. Everyone’s so worried about being popular and liked and fitting in that the conversation always turns back to the same old nonsense. ‘Here we go again.” I think, without enthusiasm. I either roll my eyes and zone out – or listen, get all worked up and offend someone. Oops! 😂
If you’ve known me or have been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know how much I’ve struggled with friendships. It hasn’t been easy for me to avoid peer-pressure. In fact, I’ve probably succumbed to it more than I’d care to admit when things were really tough. I’ve found it so hard to find anyone like me and by ‘like me’ I don’t really mean into the same stuff – I mean not afraid to be themselves and be an individual.
I remember this one day when I just had to let it all go. Holding in the words was suffocating me and I needed to breathe. I wrote this whole long piece, but this was what stood out to me the most when I say back and read through it at the end:
Do you ever know for certain that you’re not like them or like them or them or them or them?
but you wonder who you are like?
And you wonder if you’ll ever find anyone like you?
This is why I’m so grateful for the friends I keep in touch with online. They are what real friendship looks like. Blogging friends, friends I’ve met sailing, friends I don’t see often enough, but talk to via email. I’m so lucky and happy with the friends I have in my life and I don’t know where I’d be without them.
So yeah, I’m worried. I’m worried about the future of our world in the hands of this next generation – my generation. We’re lost and the only thing we have to guide us is the negative influences of our society. You see the sickening results of it all around you – mental health, suicide rates, kids nearly losing their lives after jumping out of cars for some new internet trend. Need I say more?
It’s crazy. It’s tragic. And it has to stop. If you’re with me, let me know. It’s not easy for any if of us, but we can do this together, okay 👌❤️