Embrace Your Weird!
7th July 2017
Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.
~ Cecil Beaton
The Cambridge dictionary defines 'unique' as "being the only existing one of its type or, more generally, unusual, or special in some way". 
When applied to people, this means that everyone is unique! Every person is different. We are all special snowflakes, even identical twins have something a little bit different in looks. But more importantly, it is your mind that makes you unique. You are shaped by your environment, your upbringing and the way you process information as it is presented to you. That's why things that are seen as normal in one part of the world are not in other parts. Each family has different dynamics and situations and your brain filters information based on your unique genetic make-up.
For a planet full of unique, individual humans, we seem to 'follow the herd' quite a bit, my question is why? Why are so afraid to live our lives as our true selves? Psychologists categorise this into 2 areas of influence; 'informational social influence' where people don't know, understand or have all the information so they just follow the crowd and assume they know the right answer. The second area is 'normative social influence' or compliance where people want to be liked and accepted so they change their views to fit the group, even if privately they disagree. 
Why is this conformity an issue? Because it stifles creativity and curiosity. People become too scared to pursue a new idea in case those ideas or they themselves are rejected by the group. It also means that the ideas presented with the loudest voice gain the most following and therefore are accepted as 'right' or 'normal'. 
Have you ever seen an epidemic of stupidity? Where people are all agreeing with some stupid idea like the earth is flat against all contrary evidence and even when the evidence is irrefutable it still takes time for the new idea to take hold as the 'norm' as one by one people change 'herds'.
As dancers, have you noticed trends in styles of movement? At first it seems weird, unfamiliar and unpleasant, then you start to see it more, from other people and then you find yourself liking it and even DOING it yourself! Is it wrong? No, I think it’s healthy to explore different viewpoints and dance styles for yourself; does it sit well with you? Does it fit with who you are and how you move?
People that sit outside of the 'norm' are labelled as weird, and weird being. Personally, I think they should be acknowledged as being at peace with their uniqueness - rather than fighting it. Really, these people are the trendsetters, the brave souls that know themselves and are not afraid to stand by their ideas publicly.
Don't follow the crowd because you don't know or you want to be accepted; do your research and search your soul; what's right to YOU?
Embrace your weird.