This blog post is being written thanks to my friends who are noticeably “different” in some way. I love and admire them for being the interesting and unusual people they are. Sadly, sometimes other people take against them for it. I wonder why some people treat others who stand out in some way with prejudice or indifference. So here are my thoughts on the matter……
I reckon that cliques and conformity are a form of a Caveman mentality we required thousands of years ago to survive. Separated from the herd, that animal was less likely to live. And once they were separated from the group, perhaps they wouldn’t let you back in- instead becoming a sacrifice to whatever Toothfull Beastie was after the flock at the time. The Toothfull Beastie is more likely to gobble up strays and outsiders instead of attacking the main unit of the herd, the sacrifice of the stragglers allowing the rest of the herd to live another day. Leaving members of the flock behind was probably justified by blaming them for their own predicament, such as being too slow or weak or not really one of them anyway. Blame is a Hot Potato.
Those of the flock with a conscience may have been thankful that at least it wasn’t them, believing that “It’s them or us”. I tend to think that wherever there’s a Them and an Us, there’s a Problem. Unfortunately, long after the Caveman days, there is still plenty of that mentality around.
If conformity is fear-driven, that leads to the question: In the case of modern society, what is the Toothfull Beastie?
Most predators which once roamed the earth are now either extinct or excluded from most urban areas. Although nowadays there is a lack of animal predators attacking humanity, we retain this mentality out of habit and lack of change. Perhaps the modern Toothfull Beastie is the fear of exclusion itself. In a way that makes us our own predators, which is even more destructive.
Before therapies from MLC Scotland (which gave me physical and emotional balance) and Johansen IAS (which strengthened the sound processing connections in my brain, allowing me to hear speech clearly and consistently) I used to feel different from other people. Difference is great, it’s what makes us individuals, but I felt different in a negative way.
This is partly because I took on some of the views of myself from some people who were herd members in the extreme. Their uniform was generally Ugg boots, short skirts, carefully prepared hair, shellac talons and that healthy orange glow. Instead of emulating their fashion sense and clothes labels and admiring the beatific solarium radiance of their skin, I remained a minority against their numbers. I was a pretty scruffy herd member, with long unkempt fur and almost zero interest in fashion trends. Because of the serious Auditory Processing Disorder I had when I was at school, I couldn’t hear speech clearly. This made me an easy target for TWITS (Trophy-Wives-In-Training) who identified me as a weaker animal with social skills even less developed than my grooming regime.
Some of them pitied me for not wanting to be the same as them, pointing a bejewelled acrylic claw in my direction and saying “That’s a shame” enough times for my scrambled hearing to pick it up.
Others messed with me out of curiosity as if they were thinking “(OMG!) It’s not the same as us. What does it do?”
And a few of them were just plain mean, the kind of people who intercept the Hot Potato of Blame in midair, just so they can pass it on to someone they dislike.
Feeling like easy prey, I took on some of their Caveman mentality. I felt like there was a Them and a Me. I almost believed that being different was something to be ashamed of, because it made me feel lonely and in fear of packs of TWITS every time I entered the school gates. TWITS are terrified of people who are different, which is why they made sure to remove me as far as possible from them, like doing a biopsy of a cancer. I could have been contagious.
I know many people, who like me, because their differences were seen as negative, badly want to be Normal. Back at school I wanted to feel Normal, whatever that was, unless it was a TWIT.
Now I know that because “normal” is an average created by measuring how everyone is different, there is no such thing. Normal is a myth, a fiction as non-existent as the Toothfull Beastie.
Safety in Similarity has a nasty sting in its tail: Conformists may show contempt for those who do not emulate them, but if there were no people who were “different”, Conformists would have no direction for their prejudice and fear except to look inwards on themselves. And I think they would find that truly unsettling.
One of the amazing things about evolution is that we adapt to survive. We will eventually realise that The Toothfull Beastie is no more, and that we can come out of our Caveman Cliques and benefit and learn from each other’s differences. Where there is no Them and Us, just one huge united group, by helping each other we will also help ourselves. But sometimes I think Guys, can we maybe evolve just a little bit faster please?