I have noticed that in our society, there is a “normal.” People are constantly judging every little thing we say or do and answering the same question in their head first. Was that normal or weird? For some reason, people think that they can determine what is normal or weird based on what most people do around them. Anything out of the ordinary can cause a first impression to go from great to terrible making that person to decide that they want to stay away from you forever. This issue in our community causes a lot of sadness and separation around us. People start to aim their social skills so that they can present themselves to others as normal as possible rather than just being themselves. The only people they can fully be themselves around are their true friends. This makes many people stay away from others because of this fear of being judged as a “weirdo.” This issue that isolates different people can be solved if people stop conforming to society to create this “normal” definition in the first place. The community as a whole should be seen as a diverse group of people who each have their own individual values and skills rather than the majority of people and characteristics being considered “normal” the people with different traits are considered “weird.” This conforming to society just separates people causing them to focus only on trying to be someone they are not. In the end, everyone slowly loses their individuality and differences.
In my high school, the marching band members were considered the “weirdos” around for absolutely no real reason. There are so many people who have a true passion for learning how to create music with different instruments. It is a hobby to them and they decide to put the time in to accomplish this goal while most people are too lazy to pick up such a skill. The only thing stopping them from reaching this goal is disrespectful “normal” kid in class calling them a “weirdo” for carrying around a tuba. In reality, the people in band have unbelievable amounts of commitment and they should be seen as harder workers than the majority of people. I have played trombone in the band before and know people who were greatly affected by the judgmental “normal” kids. One of my best friends, Thomas, dropped out of the marching band when he was on his way to becoming a saxophone prodigy because of the bullying. This could have been easily avoidable but should not have stopped him. The slack offs, who were probably mad on the inside that they refused to commit to learning anything useful, would yell out cruel comments in the hallway like “band geek” when Thomas was just minding his own business carrying his saxophone to the bus. After a few years in the high school band, he decided that he had had enough of the social stress his saxophone was giving him. Since he dropped out of band, the only effect and outcome of this situation was causing unhappiness to an innocent human being and stripping him of a skill that could have increased his future opportunities in life. Now he just wants to be viewed as nothing more than a “normal” student rather than having individuality and unique talents. Realistically, these social interactions are so insignificant that they should be ignored, but in the end, it has great effects on its victims changing who they are and how they choose to act.
This has not just affected my close friend, Thomas, but also myself in a similar way. I am the type of person to let loose when I want to have fun around other people. When I invite my friends to my basement and we turn up the music, I go absolutely wild and dance all over the place however my brain tells me to each individual moment. My true friends understand how I feel and love to join in on the fun all the time. In contrast, when I act this way at a party with strangers who have never seen me before, it is seen as out of place only because the majority of the people there are just hopping around very lightly and fist pumping. I have no problem with their extremely simple dance moves but to me, they just take absolutely zero skill to perform and I have far more fun moving my body around a lot more. When I dance all over a party though, the people seem to stare and make comments while my friends who know me well just dance along and having fun like they already were. Instead of noticing the differences I have as a possible addition to our society, the strangers use it as a reason to exclude me from the rest of the group. These people’s reactions only make me feel left out and out of place. I would love to stay the way I am but this may come with people feeling different ways about me. Naturally I want people to like me so my brain constantly tells me to just chill out and act “normal” as a simple solution. This means do not act out in any way to draw attention to myself and say only what other people say. If this continues everywhere to some extent, the world will one day be filled with billions of the same exact type of person limiting our world and the people in it to only having the qualities and characteristics that were not considered “weird” or “out of the ordinary.” The people who rebel against this conforming to society would only be far outnumbered and completely isolated from everyone else because of their unique differences making them the “weirdos.”
As my friend Thomas and I have had these very similar experiences and life changing events caused by society’s judgements, the world clearly has a problem. A common misconception that it is better to fit in completely makes everyone act like a flock of sheep filled with followers who are easily influenced and brainwashed. The University of Leeds did a study revealing our flock mentality. One article published in the Leeds University newsletter about the study summarizes their observations by saying “Their research suggests that humans flock like sheep and birds, subconsciously following a minority of individuals.” Since our society unfortunately functions like this, the world will continue to leave the misfits out socially unless drastic changes are made. This influence impacts everybody as soon as they are old enough to meet others and have new friends and it only gets worse as you get older.