I’ve always been a ‘by the books’ kind of a woman. I’m finally getting to the age when I realise I don’t HAVE to conform. So, I’ve been doing my own thing, like dying and cutting my hair, wearing all those clothes I’ve been saving for a good occasion, using my expensive cutlery and crockery on a daily basis. And I’ve been writing outside my comfort zone.
It can be a hard thing to go against your habits and try to live bravely. I tend to think of myself as a coward … but I’ve finally stopped internalising that description and I’m fighting to see myself as an innovator, as a risk-taker, the person I want to be. There are days when I fall back into my old patterns of behaviour. But, instead of giving up, I tell myself to keep moving forward.
I’m working without a net and that can be frightening. I feel like I should be wearing suspenders and a belt, so save myself some bare-arsed mistakes. But it often through our mistakes that we learn our greatest lessons; a bad marriage makes you appreciate a good one, a bout of ill health names you appreciate it when good health returns, overcoming an obstacle gives you confidence to try other challenges.
As a culture, we tend to be two-faced and hypocritical about conformity. We admire rebels and bad boys, and idolise the unique, while at the very same time putting untold pressure on these individuals to conform. In Australia, we have the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, where people are just as quick to tear a hero down as they are to build her up.
Conformity isn’t bad thing. People need to conform to a country’s laws or there would be chaos. But it is the unspoken rules are MEANT to be broken. You know, those rules that everyone ‘knows’ but won’t admit to. Don’t be a tattle-tale … but a whistle blower may being attention to a wrong that needs righting. Good girls should be seen and not heard … but women didn’t get the vote by being meek and quiet. When the unspoken rules try to push me into a box, I’m pushing back. I am no longer the woman who need a belt and suspenders.
I’m stumbling on the rocks on this new road. But I have new boots and I keep moving forward.