“We have PE next? This day just gets worse.”
“I woke up at six this morning. It was hell.”
All phrases I’ve said more than once recently – and none of them phrases that I actually agree with.
I don’t mind quinoa, exercise, or early mornings. I actually love getting up early, and sprinting when I’m stressed. So why do I pretend to agree with the opinion of the masses?
Reform would be easier if this was a conscious choice, but it isn’t. I find myself reacting and agreeing with the opinions of my friends reflexively, without even a pause or a consideration into whether I actually support what I am saying.
Most people know that as individuals we are conditioned by society and the media to have certain hobbies, to like certain things, to act a certain way. This is proven by the trends you see in the clothes of teenagers, or in the varying frequency in use of words like ‘swag’ and ‘yolo.’ Everything our friends, colleagues, family, celebrities and role models like and share can be seen by us, and all of it has incredible influence on our own thoughts, and our opinions on the world around us.
What’s interesting is that a disinterest in early mornings, exercise and superfoods is a common motif within teenager culture, but showing this ‘popular opinion’ in a different niche of society will be as disapproved of and frowned upon as some of my opinions are now. When everyone in your workplace visits the gym twice a day, “ugh, quinoa” becomes a one-way ticket to Alienation Town. So while it seems like supporting a popular opinion is the way to stay relevant and ‘cool,’ even the term ‘popular opinion’ is as variable as the people expressing these views.
As a young person trying to figure out myself and my place in the world, this reflexive reaction scares me. I don’t want people to think I’m someone I’m not – but what changes can I make, when agreeing with popular opinion comes so naturally, not just to me but to everyone?
I’m not afraid of being different. Really, I’ve been a ‘weird kid’ long enough to know that in the grand scheme of things, being yourself is the way to go. But all my life I’ve been floating along being a weird kid by default – not that ‘weird’ is necessarily a good or bad thing – but I haven’t asserted my idiosyncrasies, or stood up for my own little, unpopular opinions.
Having unpopular opinions is a part of who I am in some respects. And, as odd as it seems, being yourself isn’t just sitting back and existing – it’s reacting and interacting with the world around you in a way that says, “This is me; this is my opinion; it’s not popular, and neither am I. And that’s okay.”