Challenge Social Norms!

Good Morning to you and hoping that your day is being kind and considerate. As I am still not well, I have had an easy start for the day, allowing for more thinking time, permitting me to create another blog where I look at what needs to happen to fix the world. With my illness it has not been the friends I have that are ‘socially acceptable’ that have been checking on me, but rather my mates, so that got me thinking (yes, I know – dangerous) about these mates who society have labeled as eccentric, black sheep, odd duck, loner, lost, forgotten, and the rejects, I simply call them friends. It is these people who are there for every protest march to right a social wrong, anytime someone needs a hand, be it cleanup after a flood, raise funds for a local group, or when you just require someone to sit and keep you company, in short, they are that friend. 

As a society we have weird guidelines that dictate the rules of our social interaction with others, never talk to strangers, it must be others with similar education standards and demographics, and so on, leaving me to ask “how do we make new friends?” Then we allow ridiculous guidelines to assign our socially acceptable friends, same political allegiance, religious commonality, and within the correct demographics. We rarely step out of these comfort zones. I know that society does not approve of you fraternizing with the enemy, for the bulk of my life I have been lectured because my friends have been ‘socially unacceptable’, simply because we challenged the rules ‘society’ expects us to live by! The answer was always the same when questioned, as young kids, (before I understood that the colour of a person’s skin or the neighbourhood they came from had any meaning) what often upset the ‘adults’ the most was “but I just like her/him” and as we matured, “it needs to be changed: it requires compassion: the public has to know: justice must be served”,  and often it was this belief that gave us the common ground for our friendship. Sound proof for me that people are connected on a far more basic level than what we assign to them currently with our ‘created requirements’. 

I have found that when you really do not care what others think of you, you are far more comfortable when you live by the standards you have designed for yourself, and yes, this is learned from much heartache, a broken marriage, a couple of ‘time out’ sessions, and having none of the normal social requirements for a woman in her 50s – a partner, my own home, great bank account, excellent holiday plans etc., but I can look myself in the mirror, hold my head high, and state “I have made a difference”. It is because of the social rules that we challenged, the way in which we refused to accept assigned roles and really did not care what others thought of us, that we gathered the power to alter what needed to be fixed.

Challenge yourself and take your family on an outing. Have a look for some social event in your community, be it a community open day, a protest march day (here in Australia we have plenty of the ‘marriage equality’ gatherings), or an open day at the local council park, and head out to meet new people. Smile, say hi and do not be afraid to chat to others even if they do not dress the part (remember Richard Gere sits as a homeless man in NY), explore your social boundaries, the worse that will happen is you get a day out with the family, but you may very will end up with a new friend.


gere-feature-2 (2)
Richard Gere, with the tourist who gave ‘hobo’ Gere some food. 

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