I’m not what you expect me to be, but that’s okay…

This isn’t a self deprecating post I promise!!

In our (and any) Society, certain norms are established by popular consent, and these days, by social media. People are expected to fit into certain moulds, and if they don’t their validity is questioned. It is pervasive throughout society, that if you don’t act/look/feel a certain way you are judged.

You know the type of thing:

  • A regular gym-goer must be either Strong and muscular (male) or petite and only interested in cardio (female)
  • A gym goer / exercise doer who is not one of the above stereotypes must be trying to lose weight
  • Women must at all costs want to be mothers.
  • Eating any food deemed unhealthy by society, must be prefeced with the words “I know I shouldn’t really…” or “I’ll go for a run later…” or some other such thing to offset the perceived sin of eating food.
  • You must look young at all times, without appearing to be trying to look young
  • In addition to looking young, there are countless lists of things that people over 25/30/40 etc must stop doing (for example you aren’t allowed long hair after 40 according to some people)
  • A person with a talent mustn’t just come out and say, “yes, I am good at things”
  • If you are in anyway over society’s percieved acceptable weight limit you must be on a diet or planning a diet or unhappy with yourself
  • Women must be quieter and less aggressive than men, their opinions must be stated in such a way that they don’t upset anyone.

This is just a short list of Societal norms that it is difficult to stray away from.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with conforming to these norms, as long as it is a choice.

However, I have realised (or re-realised I should say) recently that I don’t conform to most of these, and you know what…it is ok!

What has brought me to this realisation I hear you ask (well…I don’t but I am imagining it…). Last week, in one of those perpetually awkward obligatory conversations which take place while making coffee in the work kitchen, I happened to mention that I had been to the gym in the morning. I went on to mention that it was something I do regularly. At this point, the person I was talking to, looked me up and down from head to toe and then got a slightly dubious look on his face. It was a quick look, so quick that I had carried on the conversation before registering it, but it was definitely there.

It stuck in my head, it made me angry, it made everyone I told angry. It was rude and unthinking and quite probably unknowing, which goes to prove how ingrained these norms are. It wasn’t a comment, it wasn’t overt, but it was an indication of an associated thought process, it was an indication of a judgement however unconscious. I was angry about this for about 6 hours. I was plotting subtle and not so subtle revenge on the person in question, until in the process of discussing it with people (I was angry…I told everyone) I realised that it didn’t matter.

I remembered that I don’t care what he thinks.

any excuse for a Terry Pratchett quote…

I remembered that the opinions of people who are not important in my life don’t matter at all!!

I remembered that I am awesome. I am doing the things that I want to do without feeling the need to conform to any stereotype that doesn’t apply to me!

I realised that I had been bogged down recently with worrying about insignificant things, I was extremely close to falling into bad diet plans and habits because I started to believe the hype about weight loss being the only worthy goal. Well, it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to complain about losing some fat, but I am not going to be cowed and justification-y before it happens. I am going to walk tall (well as tall as possible for a 5’4.5″ person) and remember that I am not defined by other people’s opinions!

I am good at the things I do

I am strong

I am fit enough to dance in a mask

I am not a stereotype, I am not quiet, or non-aggressive, I am not what people expect, but quite honestly I don’t want to be!!

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any excuse for a selfie πŸ˜€

20 Comments

  1. You are exactly what I always expected you to be and even better than that! You have the coolest hair in the world. Your face is a cheerful, naughty thing that always makes me smile. You introduced me properly to haikus and showed me what it is to be a warrior goddess. And – you can pick me up like I was a tiny thing! Well, I am a tiny thing, but you know what I mean. I wouldn’t want you any other way. You are my friend and everything a girl could want πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a lovely thing to say πŸ˜€
      All of those things are lovely things to say πŸ˜€
      THe most important of those is that I am your friend and I make you smile! These are more important things than whether strange engineer boys think I look like I gym or not!!
      And I can pick you up, which means you are on my list of people I can rescue in an emergency situation. In fact you are on the super special list of people that I want to rescue in an emergency situation! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel super safe in life, knowing that you are there to rescue me. It makes me braver than I would be otherwise πŸ™‚ Being friends is the bestest thing and, actually, I feel sorry for that poor little boy as he has clearly gone awry in life somewhere. Let us hope he becomes wiser as he grows up. If not, I will definitely smash his teeth in πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yay! I am extremely pleased to add to your bravery!! I love being friends… and would always rescue you… πŸ™‚
        I think he has gone awry, especially as he is close to having his teeth smashed in and various other revenges taken out on him by many people I know! He doesn’t know how lucky he is that I wasn’t 100% awake when he did that!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are the greatest warrior goddess of all!! πŸ˜€
        That fellow had a lucky escape, I’d say. He may not come and live in our gin-paradise nation of SamLu. His type are not welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this post. Learning to be happy with who we are is the most important thing.

    But it does remind me of a discussion I had with someone the other day. He was adamant that he never judged anyone. Whereas I was adamant that he did. No one can get through life without judging people, things and situations. And this judgement has to be based on the norm. To my mind, the initial judgement isn’t an issue, it’s whether the person is then able to change their mind given alternate facts.

    So, your new colleague may well have been hiding his surprise at what you said. Given that you admit that you deviate from the norm at times πŸ˜‰. Was the flicker a re-evaluation of who you are, not skepticism?

    If the latter proves to be true, might I suggest that you take up the grand Highland tradition of caber tossing in front of his office window?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are absolutely right about judgement…
      you can’t help the first thing that pops into your head. Fitting people into norms and boxes and associations is part of making sense of the world.
      It is absolutely what you do with that judgment and how strongly you hold onto it that is the important thing.
      I suppose that by judgement I do mean longer term deliberate judgement…
      I’d love the flicker to have been been re-evaluation… I suspect he is just young and unaccustomed to people who don’t conform…

      Like

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