How to be happy in the world we live in is difficult to put into words. To become someone who is happy, is to have that of a ‘normal life‘. However, a normal life is dependent on the context of an individual. One person may think having a family with children is normal, another may believe monogamous relationships are normal.
To defy normalities is to allow ones own individuality to become present. The first seminar in BCM311 (subject at the University of Wollongong run by Kate Bowles) allowed me to realise that this individuality is the driving force for the majority of my actions in life, while the value of being spontaneous has been in the passengers seat. This defiance of societal norms fuelled my decisions, my most recent was an alteration to my appearance.
Getting my ears pierced.
When I made this decision, I was nervous. My parents sending me texts, confirming my decision multiple times and my friend pushing me to do it. I’ve been contemplating sticking a needle in my ears for a few years now, but I never expected myself to do it. I told myself, ‘Do it Kris. Just do it, don’t care what others think about you.’. It was one of the large steps I took to finally putting myself first and realising the values which I uphold in my life.
Thoughts of doubt and fear plagued me at that moment when deciding.
What if people didn’t like them? What if I looked stupid? Would I get laughed at? How do you even clean them?
Putting those thoughts behind me, I did it. I couldn’t be more content with my decision. It just adds another piece to the Kris puzzle which most likely will never be completed (I am horrendous at puzzles).
The words which come to mind when thinking back about this action would be individuality, being spontaneous and the ability to be happy within ones own skin, being true to ones self.
Patterns in the life of an individual are a funny thing. They are similar to a road which winds and bends, and a rollercoaster which slowly goes up and comes crashing down. They form a journey, which creates the context for their future adventures.
I have realised through this exercise that I made spontaneous decisions based on whether they will affect my relationships with others and how I will stand out when being compared to others.
This is therefore relevant as my family has always told me to be myself, always be a good person and always treat people with respect. To always take every opportunity you are faced with, be a ‘yes person’ and give it everything you have. This is where I have identified my spontaneous nature.
My social circle would identify me as being a bit different to the rest. They embrace my quirks and nature, and somehow understand that I am sometimes argumentative and spur me on. I am always weary to try new things, say strange things as I believe they may react badly or in someway contort the meaning of my actions into something negative.
However, I believe it is these people who invest their time in me (willingly I might add) and support my quirks and attributes that have created a (somewhat) confident individual person.
A person I am happy with (not to say I love myself or anything but to identify that to be happy I must be comfortable with myself- I hope that sounded better then the way I typed it).
With society imposing norms on individuals and conveying to individuals how conforming and blending into society is normal makes ‘me’ want to stand out. BCM311 has (within 3 hours) made me understand more about myself then I have in the past month. What an insight.
~ krisesandchrosses ~
I’m so interested in this story because it captures something for me that I’ve been wrestling with for a bit: getting a tattoo. It’s not a simple matter! There are body zones a tattoo won’t necessarily show off to advantage after middle age. So you think quite carefully. And you think about irreversibility. And you think about what people will think. Then you think about what your kids will think. And surely at a certain age it’s better to have a tattoo that you got while you were younger that still looks great? And on and on the overthinking goes. You find yourself looking at tattoo websites, you wonder about symbolism, you think about things you might want not to be associated with for ever.
So I was on track to get a tattoo with my oldest friend to celebrate a significant birthday. Result: she has a tattoo. And I … don’t.
Your post has really got me thinking about this cautious element to my own thinking, given the value I place on risk. It’s also got me thinking about narratives of non-events, not things that happen, but things that don’t happen.
The observation about patterns forming a context for future thinking is exactly where I think narrative helps us develop an intentional sense of identity for the future. Lovely post, thank you.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you so much for your feedback and own story! I’m glad you found it relatable. I’ve also had an internal struggle with the idea of getting a tattoo, I feel like the piercings were my first act of defiance. Next I’ll be getting a tattoo, but I may need to think about what and where a little bit more carefully haha.
I’m interested in this word “defiance”. I wonder if that’s part of something to think about. What needs defying, in this world? What are we trying to assert, and against what? Gestures in relation to the body (piercings, tattoos) are very often caught in this tension between standing for something and standing up to something. Reading your comment I realise I still want a tattoo to mark certain kinds of milestones of living, and it’s the “defiance” aspect that then causes me to overthink. But you put it positively, and I think there’s a case for living defiantly.
LikeLiked by 1 person
In my opinion, people defy norms to define their individuality, to assert their individual worth to society. I think it’s also interesting how we seem to remember moments of defiance more so then moments of conformity.
It’s fascinating how simple decisions such as getting your ears pieced can have such an impact on who we are as people and how we identify ourselves. A wonderful read.
LikeLiked by 1 person
“To defy normalities is to allow ones own individuality to become present.”
This quote seriously stood out to me and I love it. I often find myself stuck in the circle of what is “normal” like getting a job, getting married, having kids etc. and I hardly stop to think about why I am making decisions and if they are purely for the “norm”.
You have a wonderful way with words, this blog was so nice to read and I was genuinely intrigued in the story you were telling and your reflection. I don’t have much to say but just know that you are in my eyes incredible at writing.
LikeLiked by 1 person
[…] individuality is a value has been relevant throughout my life and past decisions (see my post on Individuality). It is my choice to have secrets. These secrets shape who I am as a person, and I am fearful that […]
[…] In class we identified a value which we uphold in our life through our decisions that we make. This was the start of my own journey in writing personal narrative styles. The importance of self-reflection in any writing is imperative to understanding yourself as I found that individuality was a value which I upheld in my life. […]