Everybody is special.
Dare to be different.
Why try to fit in, when you were born to stand out?
Being different isn't a bad thing. It means you're brave enough to be yourself.
So many quotes are the same idea. The idea that different is beautiful, different is special, different is you. The idea that being "different" than everybody else is what makes you unique and irreplaceable in the world.
But do we mean it?
There's an app that you can get on your phones for mom. Basically a moms only forum/chat room/facebook. The idea of it is you can ask questions and have them answered, post updates and have them liked, and even meet other moms in your area. For the most part, it's not a bad little app, and I've been able to have a few questions answered as well as answer some questions myself.
But recently, I had an encounter with a bunch of the moms on there that got me thinking about this entire "different" concept.
A woman was posting questions about sex, asking about libido after having kids, what can she/should she do while her husband is away on business (which apparently is a lot), how to cope after a childhood trauma, and how would you handle catching your kids masturbating and/or looking at porn. If you ask me, all of those questions sound like parent and mommy related questions to me. Apparently, I was wrong.
On the "catching your kids watching porn" thread, she had mentioned that she had not only caught her son watching it, but also caught him masturbating, and started describing how she basically handled the situation. Somewhere along the lines of, "Porn isn't reality," and "Don't use a sock, cause I won't be washing that." These other moms went ballistic.
Some of their responses included:
Are you a pedophile?
Are you a guy?
This is disgusting.
You need to be deleted from this site.
This isn't a sex app.
How could you talk about your kids that way? You're a horrible parent.
You are a horrible human being and shouldn't be around kids. You disgust me.
Are you mentally ill? You should be locked up.
I wish I could call the cops on you and have your children taken away.
All of those are responses I'm coping from my phone. No lie. Straight up. Then another user went as far as to make another thread about how disgusting, perverted, and horrible this person was and started a campaign to have her reported, deleted, and blocked from the app. And I immediately went into defense mode.
My responses (part and pieces of a few):
Wow. Everyone calm down. While I'm not saying the profile might not be fake [some were claiming it was], there are plenty of other posts and threads on this site that involve sex. No one is jumping up to report them.
She parents different than you. What may seem TMI or wrong to you, may not be for her. Just because someone if more open about things you may find offensive, doesn't mean she a bad parent or person.
Sex, catching your kids masturbating, and/or watching porn is a part of being a parent. If you're uncomfortable with what she was asking or talking about, block her. You don't need to name call, bash another parent, or go so far as to start what can only be described as a hate thread to have someone kicked off the app.
Report her if you want, block her if you feel the need. I've never said to just deal with it. I'm just saying this didn't need to turn into a witch hunt over something so trivial to some, and huge to others.
But if she is real, I'm saddening and sickened by the hate heading her way. This was taken too far and everyone is jumping to the worse possible conclusion, where as she might just be different than you. Her boundaries are different, her parenting is different. That doesn't automatically make her worthy of a hate thread.
Needless to say, everything got turned on me. I apparently didn't read any of her posts, had no idea what I was talking about, and am a pretty awful parent if I thought what she said was "okay," and something that needed to be put all over the internet.
Um. No. I'm pretty sure I never said any of that. I'm pretty sure I said name calling and a "hate thread" was unnecessary because she was different and more open about things that others may consider private. I NEVER said I agreed with anything and everything she said or posted. But alas, because I stood up for something, I got pinned with being part of the problem.
It was shortly after I backed away from that conversation, that I started thinking about being "different." The first thought that came through my mind was, "I guess I have to be a Stepford wife to fit in with other moms anymore." And that scared me. Especially after having EVERYONE tell me that being different was the way to go and the way you should be.
But is it true?
I think in a lot of ways, in a lot of situations, and with a lot of people, and this hurts to say, it's not true. While people may tell you to be different, they really want you to conform. They want you to fit into their already pre-made form of different. And if you actually are different, you're screwed. Very rarely do people truly appreciate "different." I try to be one of those people though.
When I was younger, I was walking around the mall one day with my step-mom and we saw a bunch of teenagers. They were dressed head to toe in black baggy clothes, chains everywhere, piercings galore, and hair that was not only various colors of the rainbow, but also about 6-8 inches tall in mohawk glory. My step-mom nearly stopped dead in her tracks in shock. I remember her saying something along the lines of, "How did their parents let them out of the house? I better never catch you in that," and "Do they know they look ridiculous?"
While I'm not a fan of the style myself, I wasn't about to knock on it. I told her, "They're just different. They aren't hurting you any. What does it matter what they do?" The subject got dropped as quickly as it came up.
Now I'm no saint to not judging. I know that there are times I think to myself, "Really? Those shorts with those thighs?" Then I remember, I'm part mermaid myself so I should shut up. But I do try really hard to not only respect people's decisions, even if I don't agree with them myself, but to also value that.
Whether you believe in God, Buddha, Mohamed, Chaluth, or a pretty pink unicorn that breaths rainbows, you have to admit we are all made differently. If we were made to fit in some pre-made mold, wouldn't we already have come out that way? Even if you don't believe in anything, you have to recognize that NO ONE is the same. We all think differently, look differently, talk differently, believe differently, act differently, and are different. No one has the right to shame some one else for it.
Again, I know I'm not perfect in that idea either. I still have trouble with it. I actively have to remind myself sometimes that just because they are different than me doesn't mean they deserve anything less than love and respect from me. Because without their different-ness, we wouldn't have the amazing world we have today. So strive to, if not embrace those that are different than you, at least respect their decisions. They were brave enough to throw that mold in the garbage... Are you?