I have always felt different.
Even as a very young child, I felt different from other kids. I felt like I think different.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to notice that I had been raised quite different from my peers.
My parents encouraged me to think critically, to be strong-willed, and opinionated (as though they were positive traits). We had interesting debates around our dinner table, we talked about world issues and issues in our neighbourhood. We frequented downtown to visit family and friends who lived a different lifestyle from our suburban one. We talked about homelessness, prostitution, mental health, abuse, politics and law.
We were encouraged to get angry about things that didn’t feel right.
We were encouraged to ask why? And then to keep asking until satisfied with the answer.
I was never really great at school. I loved to think and formulate arguments, but studying materials I could not see the relevance in was very difficult for me. Maybe if I had a better memory, or could concentrate without distraction…or maybe if I could find it in me to just do what I was being told to do, I would have been more academically successful.
I don’t believe I was ever perceived as being an intellectually deep person.
I never felt like I fit in when I was in school. I didn’t really have good friends to grow up with. I remember intuitively feeling people talking behind my back and conspiring to hurt me. I learned over time to trust that feeling, as it had not let me down.
I remember looking forward to university- I was excited to be immersed amongst other free thinkers. But I think I got lost there. Not being strong academically can make it difficult to sit amongst the people I was hoping to find.
I did watch them from afar though.
I noticed a paradoxical world of extremes. A world of extreme conformity masquerading as individuality; and a world of individuality being forced into a world of conformity.
I noticed a whole lot of characters. I was amused by the nutty professor persona, and the cool nerds, and the people too attractive for school. I wondered if this was a giant joke on me, or if this is they way people actually are. Could these people be authentic? If so, are we doomed?
Over the years I struggled with conforming myself into a world that I thought I needed to participate in. I got the messaging loud and clear, that this is the way life goes. And, in order to be successful in life, you pretty much need to just follow the formula.
When Kundalini began to rise in me, I got angry and confused. My feelings slowly evolved. I started to feel an incredible sense of self-assurance (some might even call it self-righteousness) that my thoughts and feelings- regardless of how different, were perfectly valid.
As I started to embrace that I could be content with being different, I became choosier about people I associated with. I became confident in my core values. I refused to waiver in my beliefs just to make other people around me more comfortable.
What I have learned through this process is that, it is not a matter of some people being right or wrong, but it is a matter of people being true to who they really are or people continuing to conform to who they think they are supposed to be.