If I Don’t Conform, I’m Not Stupid

You know what annoys me? The fact that sometimes, I want to do things JUST to fit in with other people.

I study Psychology (Well I recently started) and it’s called Conformity. It seems so clinical, giving it that name, saying “everyone does it, so don’t worry!” Maybe I don’t worry, but it still annoys me, especially when I feel like I’m separate from everyone else and if I JUST TRY, I’ll fit in more and not feel so… Wrong.

By the way, I’m sorry about all this negativity in my posts lately. Because of the stress of school, and my varying moods that go from “Wooo I’m actually feeling good!” to “Fuck everything fuck work I’m too tired” have left me drained. I’m kind of scared you’re getting tired of all this, but if I don’t write this down, the feeling will go away and come back worse the next time. And anyway, locking feelings in isn’t healthy; I’ll post a more positive post tomorrow!

It’s like this: I occasionally feel like I’m so incredibly… Uncultured, or nothing, compared to everyone around me. I can’t help it. And I WANT to be more, so that I can understand what people say, but also because I want to further my knowledge.

Growing up, I didn’t watch films much, or much at ALL. I listened to books, read books and made up stuff, the classic ‘imaginary friends’ business. Not watching films became normal, so that now, I can name only five films I’ve watched and liked. Everybody around me watches them – and it’s not even because I’m blind, because you can get audio description.

It’s just that I’ve never felt as immersed in a film as I do in a book, because it’s not the same. Pretentious, right? So, people talk about films, the latest things they’ve watched, and then they ask me if I’ve watched this film or that film and I always say no. They seem shocked, as if not watching that film is UNTHINKABLE, and immediately assume it’s because I can’t see when the majority of my blind friends watch films all the time. It makes me want to watch every single film, because I want to be able to share in the discussions of plot and characters, and because I want to discover new characters and the emotions attached to those films, as I would in books. I feel like I’m missing out, because there are SO many films I haven’t watched and sometimes I pretend I have, to not feel so inadequate next to these people who, when I say I haven’t watched Up and Breaking Bad and The Lord of the Rings and SO many others, I feel would immediately judge me. Perhaps they wouldn’t, but being surrounded by references you just don’t get is frustrating.

I’m studying English Lit. It’s one of my favourite subjects, but I haven’t read many of the ‘classics’. Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, no Shakespeare plays for FUN (just the required reading in class), 1984, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men. People in my English class have – not all of them – but when I think of what I haven’t read, I feel panicky. Books are some of the best things in life, and I love them, but my book taste makes me feel like I’m not just on the level of a lot of my classmates. I feel clunky next to them, unrefined – and yes, I know it’s a bit stupid.

I like young adult books. The books that make you think, smile, laugh, cry. Fantasy, science-fiction, adventure, but that all seems to pale in front of the classics. The classics are great, of COURSE, but if you haven’t read many of them you kind of feel like you’ll fall behind, when everyone talks about how beautiful the writing of a book is and you haven’t read it. I want to read so many of them, but school’s way too demanding: “Read a book for fun!” It’ll improve my learning and my interest and I NEED to do that. My book taste doesn’t make up my worth as a person.

Music is another huge one. For some reason, if you like certain artists, you’re seen as having a certain personality type. I don’t listen to Twenty One Pilots, Melanie Martinez, Halsey (though I like her songs), and I like SONGS, but not specific bands. Often, I feel like I can’t join in with music discussions, because of what I listen to: a mishmash of assorted genres, when so many people I know love BANDS and SINGERS and can relate to each other through them. I want to listen to it all, to see if I’d like it, but I feel like if I do that, I’ll waste my time because I might not. Close-minded maybe, but I want to listen to my chosen songs without feeling insufficient.

I am so, so sick of wanting to just be like everyone else. Being miserable because you haven’t watched Orange is the New Black or read Wuthering Heights will just make me hate myself.

If I want to read a book, listen to a song or watch a film, I’ll do it because I want to. Not because I want to feel normal, not to feel somehow validated. I think that I’ll always feel somewhat behind, in the sense that I haven’t done so much that everyone in my school has, but I’ll just deal with it and find interesting things to read in my subjects. I’m not dull or wrong because of it.

Don’t feel stupid, just because you haven’t watched that TV show or don’t listen to that band. Just because your friends do it, doesn’t mean you have to; nobody should make fun of you for having your own interests. If they do, ask them why they’re saying those things about you when THEY’RE not you, and they can’t understand what you like. You could never deserve to feel worthless just because you aren’t the same. And if everyone’s different and unique in your group and you feel like an outcast even then, it’s okay.

I’m not the bastion of being different, because I always conform and do things that’ll make me be able to talk about things my friends talk about. But I think we ALL do that, and realising that you do doesn’t make you terrible. It just makes you human.

They always say, “Be yourself.” Sometimes you can’t, because you don’t know who you are; giving yourself time to figure that out and do your own thing whilst you’re at it is SO important. Only do something if you REALLY want to: not just to talk about it with people you know. Actually enjoy it.

I don’t want to force you to feel a certain way; I know what it’s like to feel like you need to do everything how everyone else does. I’m not trying to be stereotypical and tell you that being unique is okay, because you already know. I’m saying that no matter who you are, you can like what the fuck you like and do what you like without it making you feel you’re nothing.

From Elm πŸ™‚

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29 thoughts on “If I Don’t Conform, I’m Not Stupid

  1. omg this is so true!
    I actually picked one of my a-levels because i knew people who were in the class and i regret it so much and wish i had picked a similar but different one because it was more my thing and it’s wayyyy too late to change now πŸ˜„

  2. YAS ELM.
    I have never been much of a conformer; not now, and I don’t think I’ll ever be. I just hate the thought of giving up who I am to become this absolute zombie for everyone else. Like seriously, no. I was bullied relentlessly throughout the entirety of primary school about liking AC/DC and KISS and Fall Out Boy and even Twenty One Pilots before they became a massive thing (what hypocrites) and I stuck with my music choices then, as I continue to now. It’s the same with books; people used to be – and still are – shocked when I tell them that I love reading, probably read 100 this year alone. ‘But where do you find the time?’ I find the time whilst you’re out at parties getting drunk, whilst I’m at home with chocolate and chips because the thoughts of parties TERRIFY me.
    But anyway, great post!!! I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here πŸ™‚
    Trish xx

  3. Yes i get that feeling when your friends talk about a movie/show and you don’t know it and they’re like HOW COULD U NOT? R U CRAZY? and there I am thinking I need tor watch it straight after school!

  4. I once had a phase in high school when I identify myself as a non-conformist but I’ve slowly learned I was just consciously non-conforming because my friends are too so I guess I was also conforming. (whoa that went confusing fast XD)
    Anyway, now I’m just loving whatever I love, not caring whether others like or don’t like it or if it’s mainstream or what. Great post Elm! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, and a great response! πŸ™‚ Yes, conforming when you try not to conform is a thing – I do it after all, sometimes. But yeah: loving what you love is a great thing to do, especially when you don’t worry about what people think of you.

  5. You must’ve noticed I comment a lot on your posts. That’s because they’ve become scarily relatable lately. I wanted to pursue literature because love reading and writing, but I haven’t read ONE classic. I like young adult genre, too. I don’t listen to the artists you mentioned and they seem to be the craze around everywhere. Most of all, even I hate that I try to fit in with people by doing and saying things I don’t want to. So, it’s like you’re reading my mind or something. Please never stop writing.

    • It really makes me happy that you can relate, honestly. I always feel like I’m the only one that feels this way, so to try and make myself feel better, I post what I’m feeling in the hopes that others can understand. Yes, I know how you feel πŸ™‚ And I always, always love your comments.

  6. I can definitely relate! One of my pet peeves is when you say you haven’t watched/done something and people are just like WHAT as if I’m stupid… It’s so annoying so I’ve started saying ‘What?? You’ve never been the queen before? Damn, you have not lived’ xx

  7. *hugs& OH I REALLY FEEL THIS. I barely watch any films besides Studio Ghibli and I am especially worse at TV programmes haha. Sometimes I feel like I have really different interests to people in my friendship group…but I think I sometimes need to remember that’s okay. And I went through this weird phase of only listening to, like, ‘critically good’ music or whatever because I thought my music was bad. But YES to all you said — we should read & watch & listen to things because we want to!

    • HELL, yes!! πŸ™‚ Ahhhh I’m so glad that you can relate! I went through phases of listening to the music my friends listened to, too, because I thought MY music taste was awful.

  8. I don’t know why, I think it’s because I’ve started my GCSE and I’m in the top set, but I feel so dumb compared to everyone else! And I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason? I think it’s all of us over-thinking everything! And by all means, read the book, I find books are always better that the films anyway! And people who act shocked are, quite frankly, being rude af. You should be allowed to do what you want, and I think the best thing to do is not to worry about anyone who is horrible/ mean β€οΈπŸ’• Lu

    • Hell yeah, exactly! And I know what you mean about GCSEs; I had the exact same thing, and I’m finding the same with A-level. But don’t worry – we’ll get the hang of it. Some people really are just so rude β€οΈπŸ’–

  9. I relate to you about the music so much! A lot of my friends like Kayne and other rappers but in my opinion, I feel like a lot of the songs are about the same things;sex, girls and drugs so I don’t listen to them. Instead, I listen to old Indie-Rock bands which a lot of the people my age haven’t heard of or they have but from their parents so when it comes to music discussion, I feel very left out. But that doesn’t make me want to change my music taste because of what anyone else likes and I still continue, to this day, to dance around to The Beatles, haha πŸ™‚
    Also, this post is really brilliant and I really need to catch up on my reading, haha πŸ™‚

    • Okay, YES, you relate I’m so so happy! πŸ™‚ Eeekk. Yeah, I don’t wanna change. I’m me and if people don’t like that, then I’ll continue BEING me. I’ve missed ya by the way!

  10. Definitely. I won’t conform blindlessly, but I won’t non-conform blindlessly either. I’ll just do whatever makes me happy. πŸ™‚

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