Before I begin, let me just say: If I would identify with anything, it would probably be a “nonconformist.” Ugh, even saying that irks me.
Not new age. Not a fashionista. Not a feminist. Not a minimalist. Not a liberal.
I’m a damn independent.
Titles limit yourself and your potential.
Although there are aspects I relate to in each of the above, I do not fully identify with them. Life is all about balance.
Growing up, I was always the one teased for the music I liked, the guys I dated, the hobbies I chose, the stylish clothes I wore, and my dry, more mature sense of humor as a kid. I even wrote about this five years ago for my friend Broke Ass Stuart’s website. I certainly didn’t “fit” in Northern Michigan, no matter what I did. After a while, after moving back for a couple of years as an adult, I stopped caring, started a fashion blog, and walked around Front Street in a feather skirt on random Tuesday afternoons.
Did I get stared at? Yes. Did women give me dirty looks? You bet. But guess what? They weren’t making friends with people all around the country, working with amazing brands, and getting free clothes.
Dare to be different.
Anyway, if you can’t already tell, this made me bitter growing up (which isn’t a good feeling at all), so after fifteen years of bullying, I ran as fast as I could to a college where I didn’t know anyone.
Life has always been easier following my heart, not the crowd; even when I found myself alone in the process.
So, how would I be a “nonconformist” today? Well, for one, I’m 33 years old and don’t date. I have no desire to have kids, buy a house, or settle down. My Friday nights don’t consist of happy hour or group activities; they’re spent reading, solo dining, or exploring Boston, taking pictures and gaining inspiration for my writing work.
So, back to identity.
I was on Twitter the other day and I saw someone’s bio. It read something like this:
“Husband. Father. Son. Friend. VP at Important Company. Lover of Beer. Fan of Movies. #1 Celtics Watcher.”
Rolling my eyes, I moved on. Then, later that afternoon, I was on LinkedIn and noticed someone I respected (or so I thought) who used the word “junkie” in her profile. Oh, no, girl. No.
Gurus. Junkies. Mavens. Director of First Impressions. Digital Prophets (sorry, Shingy. I had to). Don’t even get me started on the title of “CEO” when someone has a freelancing company or 3 person business.
What is with the titles? Why?
I suppose people want to identify with something; and in turn, they want others to identify with them, too. However, it’s not necessary. This isn’t the fault of these people, it’s society as a collective.
Why is fitting in so important?
Now, I would rather go hungry and fall behind on bills than work in corporate America (and I have), but there is a happy medium. You can find a job you enjoy, a way to make money, or work with others in a way that fulfills your purpose. But stop worrying about how it looks or what your title is.
However, I suppose, if declaring you are a “Dad, Friend, Movie Lover” fills your purpose and makes you feel good, that’s cool, too. But please, don’t rely on these things to satisfy your own self worth.
You’re so much better than those titles.