I was born human, not sheep.
I have never been the same as everyone else.
When I was young I was happy with my own company, and when I moved out of home I was surprised at how ‘the pack’ behaved. They were so needy, so united, so clingy, and all so close it made me claustrophobic. They moved in perfect synchronicity.
Why did people want to hang out all the time? Why did they want to talk all the time? And why were their opinions shaped and swayed so quickly and easily by those around them?
“I want to go shopping,” one would say.
“Me twenty,” came the flurry of replies.
“I think blah,” one would say.
“We all agree,” came the flurry of replies.
Had they rehearsed this, or did they genuinely all want to go shopping and think blah? I was in the mood for neither.
It amuses me to watch people in groups, because they all look at the person they ‘admire’ the most when they’re shaping their opinion. They wait for the smile, the nod or the flippant brush-off to signal how they should react.
A group relies on their pack leader to show them which way they should move, as they flow together in their stream.
As you get older, you see popular groups emerge in all areas of life: politics, feminism, the environment, fashion, even words that are in vogue. A leader sets out the vision and lays down the guidelines, and the group toes the party line.
I don’t try to have opinions that go against the grain, I don’t try not to fit in with the masses or the key groups. I have always stood alone. Through your twenties and thirties it can be hard to stand firm because you’re meant to be securing your spot at one of the leading hotels of thought.
Then I think you reach a point where you throw your hands in the air and say “Fuck it, this is genuinely what I think and I’m done caring if you or you or you agree.”
I don’t want to have to look at the pack leader because I am a pack of one. No, I won’t look this topic up in the guidebook and see what I should say, because I have a voice of my own and my strong mind has already decided what it thinks. I don’t care what’s popular this season – in any area of life.
At this point, you have a choice. You can remain silent and not voice your view, knowing it doesn’t fit in with what most people will think. Often, I choose this simply because taking on every single battle isn’t worth it. I’ve accepted that I don’t fit in and I’m not recruiting for a pack of my own, so I let them get on with it. I gently roll my eyes so no one will notice, maybe tut quietly under my breath, and keep my opinions to myself.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I allow myself to open my mouth and let the truth come out: “I don’t agree with your opinion. Not one bit. This is my opinion.”
The pack gasp, their eyebrows fling themselves to the sky in horror and they shuffle with fury on their feet. “You can’t say that!” they exclaim in perfect unison. The wolves turn on me and rip shreds off me, their faces twisted with rage.
So I vow to myself that I’ll keep my opinions to myself… until the next time I send myself up as a sacrificial offering, just to prove I still don’t fit in.
In the words of Kurt Cobain: “They laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at them because they’re all the same.”
Image via tumblr.com.
Comment: Would you rather be surrounded by a group of fake people, or live life by your own rules?