I have been a lover of going against the grain my entire life. Not always did I put it into actual practice, but rebellion was something my relatives were fairly worried about in my childhood and even puberty. “No, Anca, don’t do that. It’s dangerous/forbidden/not right/not allowed by God. We’ve always done it like this.”
It happens that I fall into the trap of following the wave, and let’s face it: we are all doing it. We follow things that are mainstream and even writing articles about not doing mainstream things can become … mainstream. Underneath, however, it can be my own way of revenging the childhood authority I couldn’t question (or I did, but only in my mind). Certainly though, I have a stand for it. Naturally, I don’t want to bend the law just because there’s a question mark to everything. I don’t question myself the need of having traffic lights, for example. :) Rebellion of the mind might be more appropriate, and not without a cause! I’m following the “system”, I’ve been following the traditional education and I have a normal job, so you might as well ask: “Well … where’s your rebellion? You’re still a bird in a cage.” Yes, but my cage is full of games, art, sunshine, and colour.
I like doing things a bit differently, quirky, and I’m not afraid of having fun while being in the moment. I remember I had to deliver a training on “Thinking outside of the box” for some students, and I really wanted the session not to be boring and typical. So I literally wore my underwear (bra and undies) over my normal clothes during an entire hour and a half. People still remember it nowadays.
I also remember a different example. In the 9th grade, I wrote some lines of code in my Programming class that were not at all similar to the answer my teacher had. When I compiled it, it used to give me the right result, but my teacher insisted it wasn’t ok, because it doesn’t follow the traditional way. Maybe I gave up too soon, but who knows, I could’ve become professional at it. Now I find it very far from who I am at the moment…
All these moments shaped me in these years, by my own will or not. The more aware I become of it, the more I take the decision I want to happen to my life. I don’t want life to happen to me. If this means I will not follow all the rules, I’m fine with it. Weirdly, people around are not always comfortable with ME not following all the rules. And with them, I like to have fun!
When I have to take a decision and I need an objective approach, sometimes I tend to do the exact opposite of what people advise me to do. If they suggest me the safe way, I go the risky way. If they point to the risky way, I sail on the surface shore. It gives me a kind of thrill to just do what I’m not “supposed” to do, to defy conformity.
Perhaps craziness is also involved in swimming against the wave. I don’t know. And there are times when I have dull or uninteresting moments and that’s ok. Our lives can’t be made up only of hypes. There has to be a balance somewhere, this is why in the wave, there are always people who go with it, and people who go against it.
It’s the maintaining of equilibrium between being too creative, and too boring, too progressive, and too conservative. In this midst of water, regardless of the way we’re going, what if people started thinking for themselves from time to time? It’s easier, of course, to take a fact for granted and rely on whatever they’re relying, but this also begs the question: since you can’t always think and verify for yourself (e.g. that renewable energy saves more CO2 than fossil fuels) if you’re not in the field, how do you develop critical thinking?
I want to believe critical thinking doesn’t mean being against everything. One can develop a critical thinking even when discussing in favour of something. It might not even be as big as critical thinking. It doesn’t have to be a genius approach. Think me wearing my underwear over my clothes was that smart? :) But it delivered the message.
So maybe behind the whole “rebellion” act of questioning the authority or putting a mask for our insecurities, there lies the simple act of feeling alive, of thinking freely and authentically, of wanting, in our insignificance, to step on the Universe’s nerves, with our tiny sharp shoes.
Although it might not get the “attention” it can be valued at, I like being the red tulip in a field of yellow tulips. It can be that for my survival, this is not necessarily good, but that’s exactly why I enjoy it: I want to survive the way I see it, and not how other people think I should. If for me, survival means dedicating myself to a purpose and not procreating, then so be it. It’s my life. And going against the grain is part of it. It’s funny how people think there’s an entire roll of paper written out for us in golden letters, which tells us the exact way to design our lives. Maybe rebellion means knowing there isn’t.