When Chris and I first met, or really, when we first spoke, we instantly formed on bond based on three things:
- We both really liked the clothes from Express and Guess.
- We had a penchant for rebelling against norms and trends. (For instance, Chris refused to wear any clothing line whose name started with H or A) ((I’m looking at you Abercrombie and Hollister)) (((and I dyed my hair to anything but blonde, because being blonde was sooooo typical, like ew.)))
Yes, your observation that we were extremely annoying in our youth is accurate. Your other observation that this was in the rampant heart of emo-ism is also accurate. And yes, our attraction was covalent. Just kidding, when I hear the word bond I instantly think chemistry, and had to throw that in. Plus, if anyone knows us, they know we’re obviously a metaphorical ionic bond.
There is a point to this, though. From early on, I always felt different than everyone else, and I could tell that Chris was too. I think somewhere shortly after, Chris succumbed to wearing a Hanes shirt, and my hair dying frenzy finally brought me back to a dirty blonde, but our desire to see the world from another angle was instilled in us.
Sometimes I would wonder if I was so strongly against doing something JUST because other people were doing it, if that was really an opinion or simply a reverse opinion. And if the latter, whether that would bring me ultimate happiness? Again, I was pretty emo, man, I spent a lot of time brooding and overthinking.
But there were benefits to doing things differently. When we gave up having cell phones right before the first iPhone launched, we were the weird people you couldn’t call as smartphones became the norm. We learned during those years: to rely on in person communication to one another, to be resourceful (hi, iPod Skype calling!), and most importantly, we were able to pay off all student loans and debt. We did a few other things too: we downsized to a 500-square foot apartment, learned to make mostly plant-based simple meals at home, and drove pretty “historical” cars, if you will, for many years. I think it was rooted in a rebellion of what everyone else was doing, but we felt so good about the direction our lives were going in. There is a simplicity in our minimalism, even though we didn’t realize we were being minimalists.
That time span of close to 6-7 years taught us to understand what was making us happy, versus what made us feel accepted, and there was a big difference in that. From there we agreed we that being the outlier didn’t have to leave us on the outside. We had to have a sense of humor about ourselves. And an honesty that when something just wasn’t working any more, like our phone situation, we could re-evaluate and find a better solution.
My mom made it a point to support us through our many “out-of-the-box” ideas, even when she didn’t agree. Not without letting us know exactly how she felt, but she understood paving a separate path. When we made the decision to forego wedding planning and instead elope in Colorado, she had a lot of opinions about that. There was a lot of tension. The part of me that always just wanted to please her and make her happy wavered, but my gut knew it was the right decision. Ultimately, I do think she sympathized with our plea, she just also wanted to share the moment with us.
Being different is good, as long as it serves you and truly, you alone. That took me some time to realize and embrace, that difference for the sake of difference isn’t worth it, if it doesn’t make you happy. But staying true to yourself, regardless of standing out is important. That creates the diversity among us making up the cohesive collective. And we can appreciate one another for those differences without minimizing our own choices and decisions, or negating our voices.
Be true to yourselves, my friends, but remember that everyone is just as much entitled to that same privilege.
And those are my Sunday musings for today.