New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
  • Subscribe to newsletter
  • Follow me on Pinterest
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Become a fan on Facebook
  • Follow me on Google Plus

Totally Together

It’s Okay To Be Different

January 17, 2013 by  

being different is ok

Darth Vader in Barbie Dream House

Darth Vader in Barbie’s Dream House

Why are we programmed to think that it’s not okay to be different than everybody else? Why do we care so much about fitting in? Why do we worry incessantly about what other people think? Why do we try to impress complete strangers? Why does a critical statement from a casual acquaintance or even from an anonymous Internet person stick with us more than praise from a close friend?

Why do we waste time, energy, sleep, and calories trying to squeeze into an impossible-to-fill mold?

Why is there a mold in the first place?

As very young children we try to bend our personalities and our behaviors to fit into preset stereotypes — you’ve got the rambunctious toddler, the quiet preschooler, the bookworm, the artist, the jock, the social butterfly, the brainiac, the playground politician.

in college it’s the same — there are the partiers, the studiers, the rebels, the drifters, and the nerds.

When you’re pregnant, you begin searching for “like-minded” pregnancy friends. You scour Internet message boards and engage in circular arguments about whether medicated or un-medicated birth is the best. You identify whole-heartedly with a group and that becomes Your Identity.

but then things change. Complications arise. Now you’re scheduled to have a c-section. And your friends, Your Tribe, no longer sees you as a good fit. You’re the one who had a c-section. And you are starting to realize that you really had nothing else in common with this group, this tribe, this close-minded group of like-minded people.

And so after a while you look for a different group of like-minded people. Maybe it’ll be the soccer moms (no, they all wear Ugg boots and you once saw a YouTube video on how Uggs are made). Maybe it’ll be the Vegan Moms (no, they make you feel bad about giving your kids Fruit by the Foot). Maybe it’ll be the Crafty Moms (no, because they spend all their free time at Michael’s and spend more money on brown paper and raffia than you thought possible).

and so you drift some more.

Until one day, you realize that you are Happy. You are Happy with who you are —- you work out here and there, but not enough to be considered a gym rat. You eat pretty healthy, and buy organic fruit for your kids, but also buy Cheese in a Can, so you aren’t  a foodie. You like HGTV but would rather watch others work than sand down the porch, so you aren’t a DIYer. You’re pretty thrifty and somewhat cheap, but loathe cutting coupons, so you could never be an Extreme Couponer.

and then you realize that not only are you Happy, you are The Normal. And categories and molds and trying to be something you are not is what’s Abnormal.

what a relief.

Post a comment · 9 Comments »


9 Responses to “It’s Okay To Be Different”

  1. Sarah on January 17th, 2013 10:56 am


    Thank you. That was wonderful and reassuring. And exactly!

  2. The Cocktail Lady on January 17th, 2013 2:50 pm

    You are wonderful and your post was awesome! xoxoxoxo

  3. Ginger on January 17th, 2013 6:49 pm

    This is one of the best things I’ve read today.

  4. jfb57 on January 18th, 2013 4:41 am

    Thank you! Just what I needed this morning – a reminder that I am me & that is OK!

  5. Sasha on January 18th, 2013 4:41 am

    Yes! Thank you! Wnderful for its content and brevity and getting straight to the point. Could you write something like it that teenagers would relate to?

  6. Debbie on January 18th, 2013 8:53 am

    Thank God that ‘normal’ is okay!!!! :)

  7. toby on February 3rd, 2013 1:47 am

    Great article! And I love the photo, too – my brother’s He-Man and his friends were regular guests at my Barbie Dream House :)

  8. Mandy on February 27th, 2013 11:45 am

    Have we met? Lol! You described me perfectly! Just found you via Pinterest, will be following :)

  9. Melissa Grandt on April 29th, 2013 2:31 pm

    I love this! My youngest is all about princesses, baby dolls, dragons, Fluffy the 3-headed dog from Harry Potter, the Incredible Hulk & Thor. She’s 3 and completely an individual. :-)

Leave a reply