Born to Stand Out
I was watching this old Amanda Bynes (remember her?) movie with my little sister the other day. It’s about this hippie-ish girl who goes to England to reconnect with the father she’s never met. But there’s a catch–he belongs to a posh, political family and Amanda’s character is forced to reform to their standards. Anyway, there’s this scene in the movie where her British love interest is talking to her and he makes the remark, “What I don’t get, is why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out?”
Now I may be the first person to find a rare gem of wisdom out of an early 2000’s teeny-bopper film, but I happen to think those words offer some great advice. Life is supposed to be filled with people standing out, not fitting in. There shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all mold for how someone is supposed to look or act. We’re all different.
Have any of you ever read “Bridge to Terabithia”? I think I first read that book when I was in fourth or fifth grade, and it has been one of my favorites ever since. I was absolutely enamored with the character Leslie. For those of you who haven’t read the book, the only way I can think of to describe Leslie is that she is someone who is full of color. She lived in this little rural town full of people who all acted and thought the same, but she was different. She didn’t care what anyone thought, she embraced life with passion and joy. And, in the end, it was her unique perspective that had a profound impact on the main character, Jess.
Anyway, the reason I’m bringing it up is because uniqueness is something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately. It’s so hard to keep from falling into a rut and becoming just like everyone around you. As a teenager, there’s always pressure to conform to a certain image. Everyone dresses the same, and laughs at the same jokes, and hangs around the same people. In order to be a part of that “group”, it almost feels like it’s necessary to be like that, too.
After a while, I feel myself starting to lose my identity. My unique perspective on life. And then, all I can do is step back from it all and try to get a look at the bigger picture. Am I going to let the mindset of this group of kids shape my view of how I am supposed to be? Was I created to be one of them, or a part of something bigger?
I know that God has a plan for my life that I don’t know yet. But sometimes, when highschool is the only thing in your immediate vision, seeing beyond that can be pretty hard. It’s difficult to keep in mind that there is a whole world out there, and that this is only a small part of a big scheme. It’s not easy to keep a grip on who I am. That’s when I have to pray and ask God to always remind me.
I’m the girl who listens to Jimi Hendrix and has wild, curly hair. I’m the girl who is terrified of rollercoasters and will eat funnel cake until I puke. I’m the first person to talk when an awkward silence sets over everyone, and the last one to realize when an argument has gone too far. I’m the weirdo you see dancing in the grocery store aisle. Right now, at this point in my life, this is who I am. And I might change one day (hopefully for the better!), but until then this is who I want to stay. I’m flawed and confused and silly, but I know that God made me like this for a reason. And you know what? Whoever you are and however you may act, He made you for a reason, too. We all just need to stop trying to fit in, when we were born to stand out.
[Photo of the Shangri-Las]