Sunday, March 6, 2011

Something I refuse to do.

I thought long and hard about this one. There's not a lot I outright 'refuse' to do. I'm open-minded and I generally try anything once. I have a long list of dislikes, but I've generally done the science to conclude why I dislike something. However, the issue of conformity comes to mind.
With the exception of being a law abiding citizen, save for a few instances with my speedometer, I don't really conform well to social norms. Or any norms for that matter. I distinctly remember an elementary or middle school assignment in which we had to come up with an adjective that described us for each letter of our name. After playing around with my dictionary, I decided that N was for Non-conformist and aptly described me. When you're a mini-adult, there's not much you can wish you knew then what you know now. It seems I knew myself well even then.
When you grow up in a town of hundreds of people (and I guess it's not really a town then) conformity can kind of be expected. One would think that being born different is what gave me my natural affinity for doing the unexpected, but it was my mom's no bullshit, no nonsense attitude that really shaped my independent nature. There are a lot of families who spend time caring about their public image (say, political families) or conforming to social laws they subject themselves to for a bevy of reasons (say, religion). With the things I went through growing up (which, at this point, you're probably sick of hearing me detail, or in fact even sick of hearing that be the root cause of why I am the way I am) we simply didn't have the time to care what people thought. We had a day to get through, and following societal rules (religious, political, or whatever) just had no place in our lives.
I suppose in the eyes of some, this makes us lawless athiests. We're actually Catholic Democrats. Politics and religion are just two examples I used of things I don't conform to, or adhere to strict definitions of. They're 2 out of 3 things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table, so I found them to be useful examples. I suppose to complete the trifecta, I will say that I believe homosexuals should be allowed to get married, and that conformity is the reason why we have to talk in terms like "allow" and "believe" when talking about this issue.
Unsolicited advice is also part of this post. It seems a sudden jump, but for example, that I take birth control and "believe" in gay marriage and also consider myself Catholic really throws people. They then feel the need to tell me what Catholics en masse believe, or Christians, or the Pope. Advice really pisses me off. So does being told what I am, or am not, in terms of a definition that is used to describe a mass of people, much like a cultural stereotype. It's an insult to both my intelligence and individuality. 

So, in short, I don't conform well. I don't do what's "expected" of me on a societal level. I'm a free-thinker and I don't ascribe to every point on the spectrum of a belief system just because I am "supposed" to. I think before I speak, I don't do what I'm told (unless you sign my paycheck) and I think for myself. 

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