Conformity: A Disease?

May 1, 2009
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It’s 2:45, and I’m driving home from school. Well, not driving really. I’m in the passenger seat. In the driver’s seat is my mother, chatting away about this and that. I’m watching the same old scenery as we drive by it. The same old silver Volvo in some remodeled driveway. The third stoplight out of the seventeen total along the way home. The same McDonalds, though this one has changed it sign since last week. In my ears are the apple headphones that came with my apple iPod. Because you know, no other kid in America has an iPod. Maybe I should be thinking about the unfortunate who can’t afford an iPod, but I’m not. I’m thinking about how many other people who can afford and have the same iPod as I do. We pull up to our Tudor style house, which was built in the 30s. I notice other kids on their way from home, riding in a dully modern SUV, or a nice but normal sedan. Normal. How I abhor the word. I don’t hate it because I want to be radically nonconformist or anything, I hate because it is inevitable. We pull our blah white minivan into our two-car garage, which is brown and is stuccoed on the outside. Stuccoed. It may not be a word, but it is now. I lug my unreasonably heavy backpack into the house, and my sister runs downstairs to plop down on the couch and fry some brain cells. Yeah, my life is pretty normal. Some would say, “Why is normal such a bad thing?” or “Don’t be so ungrateful. You are very fortunate to have what you have.” Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means ungrateful. But the question that constantly plants itself in my head is “When will something exciting happen to me?” I live in the 4th precinct of Minneapolis, so literally exciting things do happen often, like high-speed car chases and the like. But none of this applies to me. Maybe I’m self-centered. Maybe I’m looking at the big picture rather than the little details. Whatever the situation, I feel overlooked and, well, normal. People will tell me that I’m special, but in essence, isn’t everyone special to someone? Again, maybe I’m self-centered. Or an attention hog. Is it too much to ask to be special to many people? Like many youth of America, I want to be rich and famous. Not for the money. Not for the fame. But because those people are different, somehow a little less normal. Here’s the catch. At the same time, I feel so different from other people, almost to the point of being ostracized. Strange? I know. I listen to music that nobody’s ever heard of. I read books by authors that unsettle some people. I like to watch independent films. Sure, there are others out there who have the same interests, but it seems like I never run into those people. I don’t play sports. That may not sound like a big deal, but at my school it decides the fate of your entire high school career. Who’s popular, who’s not. It’s true, and pensively so. This article, the grammar and wording sounds like it was written by someone without much schooling. But this is how I try to separate myself from the crowd. Fact is, my English scores are above average. Average. Another word I loathe. I understand that we must have highs and lows and averages to create some kind of grading scale, to compare ourselves. But again, isn’t it sad? It shows similarity to stereotypes. But grades are good, and stereotypes are frowned upon. Why does society do this? Social classes, stereotypes, grades, they’re all just demeaning. They lay bare everyone’s shortcomings and achievements until everybody is the same. Sure, everybody looks different, talks different, and thinks differently. But socially, everybody in their class is the same. I just want to make a difference. It sounds cheesy and overused, but honestly, I really want to affect someone’s life positively. That’s all. If you get nothing out of this article except rambling, at least take with you the idea that America is suffocating under a blanket of conformity.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

raindance72 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm

This really was a great article! Love reading pieces on conformity that send such a message :)

Critics Corner Review: Use paragraphs! Your writing is great and you're only holding yourself back by avoiding (ugh....I'm gonna say it, I hate myself!!!) "normal" formatting.

purplecrazed This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 9, 2009 at 8:31 pm
Loved this article. It really sends a message. I've never been one too fit in, because I'm too different.
It does make me wonder why people so much want to be the same? What's wrong with standing out.
Anyway, thanks for the good read :)
ScreamingOutLoud said...
May 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm
I know exactly how you feel. I am tired of seeing the same thing every day. and people wasteing there time to be "normal" thats what kills me the most. when people go out of their way to fit this cookie cutter image of normal. in my life expirences i have learned that i will never fit in. So i might as well stand out.
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