Different and together

Photo Credit: CameliaTWU via Flickr
My husband asked me the other day if I considered myself a conformist or a nonconformist? And I didn’t have a definitive answer because it depends.

For all of my talk about breaking and making your own rules, I’m also a rule-follower a lot of the time. It depends on why and what feels right and what’s important in that moment.

Life is full of choices and categories.

And it’s easy to believe that there are only 2 possibilities in each case. Not only that, but it’s also easy to believe that we have to choose one or the other, otherwise we don’t belong anywhere (and biologically, in our hearts or limbic brains, we all want to belong).

Conservative or liberal.
Feminist or patriarchal.
Pro-choice or pro-life.
Black or white.
Christian or atheist.
Good or bad.
Yes or no.
Right or wrong.
Techie or luddite.
Selfish or selfless.
Conformist or rebel.
Agreeable or contrarian.
Intellectual or artistic.
Either you are with us or against us.

But choosing sides doesn’t get us anywhere except more entrenched in disagreements. Like in politics, if you follow the media, you might start to believe that there are only extreme left or extreme right points of view. And either you’re on the right side or the wrong side. But in reality (the real kind, not the stuff on TV), most people fall somewhere in between. The land of “it depends”. The blurry middle.

For most of us, choosing sides can leave us feeling out of place (because we only sort of identify with one side vs the other). So what if we stand in the blurry middle together instead of choosing sides? That’s where we’ll find belonging and solutions.

Let’s be different and together, not the same and separate.