I flipped quietly through this month’s issue of Teen Vogue, shaking my head in absolute frustration. Page after page, perfectly airbrushed women flooded the magazine, apparently setting a representation for what is “beautiful”. Once more, flicking back the pages of my mom’s InStyle magazine, I came across an article generally telling me how to “live my best life”. After being victimized by one bad cliché after another, I set the article aside, reeled by the probable truth that there are people who exist in this world who cannot think and settle on judgments for themselves. The human spirit has been broken and neglected by today’s standards and ideals. I believe that, no matter how hard anyone tries; my spirit cannot be broken by anything, whether it be an ideal set by society, or a hypothetical proposal stating how I am required to live my life.
I believe my spirit is different. I am convinced that the incessant desire to feel comfortable through being alike has inhibited humanity. Conformity has stifled imagination, creativity, and diversity; however, my spirit is one that refuses to be silenced.
My favorite question when I was younger seemed to be “Why?” My very first day of preschool, I needed to know why my clothes had to match. Really, what difference did it make if my clothes matched? My mom, being extremely patient, surrendered to my independence and I ecstatically chose what I wanted to wear, not what everyone else wanted me to wear. I strode confidently through doors of my preschool that day flaunting a striped yellow and orange shirt with pink flowered pants and bright blue slip on shoes crammed onto my feet over lime green socks. Still today, I am one who carries ridiculously large instrument down the hallways almost every morning without hesitation. I walk on, proudly disregarding the muffled laughter and hostile stares because I know the people who laugh are the broken spirits. They are the ones who cower behind their laughter, a crumbling spirit permeating through every harsh word spoken about those who seem “not normal” by certain standards, because clearly, being perceived differently from the person next to you is a terrifying concept for most individuals. Our job on this planet is to leave a footprint here when we leave. If all of the footprints look the same, we haven’t accomplished our job.
My undying spirit has dreams that cannot be killed by a simple statement such as, “You can’t,” because, “Yes, I can”. It is too strong to crack and too audacious to even attempt to conform. This is my human spirit, unique from the rest, able to see what others can’t, and willing to accept what others won’t. My spirit dances to its own music and dresses in its own clothes. My spirit is not yours to manipulate and conform. It is mine and it will always be mine, whether it is accepted or abandoned.
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