Conformity: The pros and cons

I have been manically busy studying for my degree, so it’s been a minute since I last blogged. However, today I was drawn in to a Facebook debate (seems to be Facebook’s only purpose now!). The subject matter surrounded an article regarding a wonderful young school girl in the UK, who has been disciplined by her school for her hairstyle. Now this really grinds my gears.

Firstly, the focus and moral to the entire article should have been that this young girl chose to have her beautiful locks chopped off for the sake of charity, resulting in a closely cropped style (is this not also sexist also, as boys have cropped hair?!). This caring individual simply wanted to perform a selfless act in the hopes of raising money and awareness to a subject close to her, and to millions of others. Yes, her single act of kindness will not cure cancer, we all know that. But the fact of the matter is that someone as young as this cares. A sure-sign of hope for humanity, that the next generations have not all but given up in a society that seems intent on breaking individuals.

Secondly, I had similar experiences during my time at school. I can readily admit that unlike this girl, my choices in hairstyle/appearance were purely for a selfish form of expression. I was hoping to find my identity, I was rebelling, I was seeking something that was missing from my life. And I was quite extreme. I had facial piercings, crazy coloured hair, outlandish hairstyles, and often I flouted the uniform rule. Now, in those circumstances I now see the need to correct some of my choices in behaviour. However, more and more often schools are making it part of their policies to control students hair styles/colour and even lengths!

Honestly, how is this allowed in a modern society? I no in many American schools uniform is not part of the requirements. Something I can final agree with in America (sorry!!). In the UK it is something we are forced to adhere to from relatively early on in our school journeys. I am not by any means saying that uniforms are a problem, I actually understand its purpose when you consider the issues ‘non-uniform’ attire brings to the table i.e bullying, competitiveness, peer pressure to have the best of the best etc. But uniform in my eyes only constitutes clothing. By no means should an educational institution have the right to decide how an individual being should wear their hair.

Anyway, back to the Facebook debate. I was obliged to view some comments, and even added my own 2 pence worth out of sheer frustration. Upon which I received a comment that ‘children must learn to conform’. This statement unexpectedly hit me like a ton of bricks and riled me to my core. At what point was it decided that all children must conform?! Conform to what precisely?! This in my humble opinion was a very generalised, blanket statement.

Now do not get me wrong – I work in early years education – I more than understand the needs for structure, rules and for children to understand that they are to be followed for a reason. As responsible adults our job is to teach them those reasons, to enable them to grow and understand why. However, is it not also our job to enrich children’s lives with the information and skills to make their own unique choices? Are we not supposed to grow and develop into forward-thinking, ambitious, successful and creative beings who are able to live with freedom of thought? It baffles me that ‘conformity’ is now what is expected. I actually despise the word. It robs individuals of identity.

Just to clarify my thoughts a little more, I am not saying 5 year old’s should be given the freedom to go to the hair salon and do as they wish. I’m hoping people use their logic and understand I’m more so speaking of those young adolescents who are coming into their own at 13 or 14 and are seeking ways to express themselves. They are already forced into a standardised school system for potentially 16 years, made to learn exactly the same curriculum as their peers, before being sent off into the real world and expected know what to work as the rest of their lives. Why in the world are we forcing everyone to fit into this imaginary little box that ‘society’ deems as the correct way to be.

Rather than celebrating and encouraging children to be unique, think creatively an outside of the box, we are instead stifling them, teaching them that ‘you must all look, act and dress the same’, is this North Korea?

What is it that about individuality that frightens society so much? More importantly, when did we hand over our rights to choose to the school bodies?

Perhaps these schools should spend some time examining their policies relating to bullying rather than conformity?

I would love to hear other opinions and experiences on this matter.

 

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Writer’s block?

Are you an experienced writer? Do you blog, journal, or devote your time to penning an extra chapter of that secret novel you’ve been working on? If so I tip my metaphorical hat to you.

I feel deflated or lost. I crave to write, to find my natural writing discourse…but its evading me.

Perhaps the never ending world of the internet has the answers!

How do you stimulate your creative buzz? When you initially started dipping your timid toe in the waters, how did you find what to write about, your muse or motivation?

I’ve tried to explore writing as a daily exercise but seem to forever doubt my abilities to write anything of quality.

I encourage your tips, tricks and words of wisdom if you have any to spare.

Broken Hearts.

I haven’t blogged for awhile, the daily grind of life has been overbearing – suppressing my time and motivation alike. But, for those who know, writing or blogging can be the greatest of therapies.

I think it’s now time for me to lay on the figurative sofa and create my own counselling space.

I don’t have a need for a ‘safe’ space that seems to of become the norm of today’s society. I’m not easily offended or quick to upset (perhaps anger though). However, over the past week I have found myself wanting, no, needing a source of comfort and release.

Exactly a week ago today the big C stole the life of my much loved Uncle. I use the term ‘stole’ with complete intention. We didn’t loose him, and he didn’t quit. Cancer crept into his otherwise healthy life nearly 5 year’s ago and never left him alone since then. Then last Monday it stole him away from his family, his loved ones, his legacy.

It did not come as a shock, it was a phone call we had all been anticipating for months. But it didn’t numb the pain of the impact felt by us all. I have experienced death in my life previously, its not foreign to me, but I have never felt this depth of emptiness, or of anger at the world.

I came across this on one of my aimless internet trawls:

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It seemed to resonate with my internal monologue at the current time. A gentle reminder that it’s okay not to be okay right now.

If you’re not feeling up to ‘life’ today, no worries, neither am I!

 

Conversation – who killed it?

via Daily Prompt: Conversation

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There is most definitely a fine art to conversation, with some able to engage every minute piece of attention you have, and others who hold themselves at a distance with small-talk and mundane jibber-jabber.

It is only upon writing this that its struck me – when was the last meaningful conversation I had? What does a ‘meaningful’ conversation constitute? I suppose to me it means delving head first into a deep abyss of endless questioning, answering, differences of opinions and meetings of likewise minds. A deep conversation should stir up emotions, and a sense of closeness with your conversational counter part(s), that no other form of contact provides.

Everyday we talk, but do we converse? The saying “we don’t listen to hear, we listen to reply” has never felt more appropriate.  Has conversation been killed by the ease of short communications such as ‘tags’ on Facebook, or a comment on a post? In a room filled with people, how many are involved in a titillating conversation regarding politics, ambitions, secrets of the darkest kinds…and how many people are sat with their eyes glued to their phone screens killing their own conversations?

2018 – New year, New you?

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Each time the new year comes around it seems to force upon us the need for ‘change’. With the social convention of ‘New years resolutions’ it is almost blasphemous to not publicly convey to others what you intend to do differently – “I’ll quit smoking for good this time“, “I’ll join a gym and workout 3 evenings after work!” blah, blah, blah. This sense of conformity sits uncomfortably with myself. I’m a firm believer in changing for your own sake, or setting goals based on your ambitions. Not because the year is now going to be different so we enter panic mode.

365 days in a year. 365 opportunities for us to internally reflect and make the best of our decisions. Perhaps we should utilise those days more.

Question…How many people set themselves daily goals to achieve?

If so, are these small but significant things such as smiling to passersby on your commute, or giving your spare change to a charity collection?

Perhaps you set yourself daily goals relating to your career or hobbies, like reading a chapter of that new book or writing a page of that secret novel you’ve been working on?

Some people do this as part of their daily routine, until it becomes a natural habit. But they do so of their own accord. Some say this is a key part to having a successful life!

The point being is that we do not require a new year and a made up social convention to remind us to better ourselves. Well, perhaps some do need a reminder – who knows!!

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that it is quite depressing that we seem to hold ‘New Years Resolutions’ more responsible for invoking changes than we do in ourselves. That’s not to say it isn’t a positive action if you do set and stick to a resolution – good for you – but why wait for New Years?

I’ll leave you to ponder that thought…

 

The failures of friendship

Ive often felt like I’ve failed my friends. Infact, i know i have. Ive been the one that chose a relationship over a friendship, I’ve ditched people to move away and on to something else (usually only to return with my tail between my legs!), so its fair to say that through my own poor choices I’ve lost what i once considered good friends. 

We naturally change friends as we go through life. We meet like-minded individuals and then our minds grow and develop, sometimes leaving said friendship faltering behind. Its not every time we lose a friendship that we actually feel that its a loss. 

And then theres times when your completely taken off guard and all of a sudden those you considered your close friends seem to be withdrawing themselves from your life. The chatting slows, the tone changes, meet ups are few and far between. And no matter how much you try to convince yourself that your just paranoid, it doesn’t mean they no longer want your friendship, or that your just being a bit needy…those thoughts no longer sound convincing.

Im not a jealous type, nor do i like to be with people 24/7. I like my own space and can be perfectly happy in my own company. That being said, and in relation to the fact i have lost friends, I have come to value the friends I do have left. Especially the ones i feel were special. Sad, right?

Thats what has made it so much harder recently to know that those i think of as good friends are disappearing. I cant understand if its through something i have done? Although, i know i havent done anything to warrant what feels like being cut out (even if its unintentional). I keep wondering ‘were we really friends to begin with?’. I thought so. I hope so.

I hate that this is something thats upsetting to me. I am a strong person 90% of the time, and about as emotional as a rock, but this seems to of brought feelings of loneliness and sadness to the surface.

All i really know is that I miss my friends. 

Thats all.