Sunday, May 9, 2010

Anomalies Abound

We’re all the same.

What a downer. That might seem a little harsh, but consider, everyone is always saying how everyone is unique. Let me take you back to a time in high school, a marching band of about 180 students were sweating on the football field in the summer heat. We stood in some grotesque formation with the sun glinting off the instruments clutched in front of us. The drum major clothed in her colored tank top and shorts yelled across the field, “Do you THINK you are SPECIAL??? Because you AREN’T!!!” The band stood at attention and no one budged as the band director verbally berated us. It’s a moment emblazoned in my mind.

It has long been a thought of mine that we are all terribly striving to be different. Girls dress gaudily to draw the attention of boys (Girls have been doing this since the beginning of time). Boys work out to grab the attention of the girls (When have boys not shown off to grab attention of girls?). We are in love with ourselves (Narcissism). Perhaps if we girls shock the world with a dress that happens to double as a fish net, we’ll win world acclaim (or perhaps we’ll become the laughing stock). I cannot even try to speak for the boys (those esoteric weirdos). Have you ever considered that perhaps in all of our striving to be different – to be special – that we have really just completely fallen into the same mold as everyone else on the planet?

We’re scared silly.

In the movie Strictly Ballroom, Scott Hastings battles fear. As Fran says, “A life lived in fear is a life half lived.” In the movie, the dance federation fears change and creative innovation of the dance steps that Scott creates. Fear rules our lives whether we see it or not. We fear what people think of us. Girls are afraid that boys won’t notice their fish net gowns (in fact, the boys look right through it). Boys are worried about their lack of muscle tone or some other inability. We are so self-
focused that we would never notice that we are being ruled by fear.

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.

Why do we as people struggle so to be different? Yet, in the same moment, we fear things that are different from us. We’d prefer to be ‘the same, but different.’ Can we have such a safe difference? We are afraid of slipping into the darkness of the curtain instead of beaming in the spotlight. Why can we not accept the fact that we are the same in our fears? There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been seen or done before or dreamed of before.

A professor of mine went to an art museum with his daughter. As he stood in front of a very abstract modern art piece that to an untrained or even trained eye was just a canvas with splotches of paint on it, he said to his daughter, “I could have done that.” She replied, “But you didn’t.”

First of all, know that we are all the same. Secondly, do not live in fear. Thirdly, anomalies abound. Fourthly, sit down some evening and watch Strictly Ballroom.