Sunday February 3, 2013
No cookie cutters, please
CRAZY, SEXY, HONESTLY
By IDA NERINA
I FEEL like milk today. Not as in drinking it. But like it.
Like the white stuff that’s been strained through, pasteurised and homogenised. Uniformed. Like one of those girls in turquoise pinafores so we’d look just like any other student in school. Stripped of fancy hair ribbons or trinkets, with stripe-less white shoes and those plain white socks to match.
Maybe a cleaner working in building maintenance with those gross-coloured, oversized shirts so we can recognise them as such. Or a prison inmate who has nothing but a number across her shirt. Stripped of any individuality. Paving the way to a homogenous human race.
We face this in school as we strive to understand who (or what even, given the short life lived at this stage) we are, and I find it interesting, to say the least, that I am still faced with it at this stage of my life.
What is it that people fear about a person’s individuality that they feel a need to label, compartmentalise and file them away? Rather than recognise them as a person with their own idiosyncrasies, foibles and preferences which give them their own voices to their own personalities?
Does it make life easier for “you” when you face them if you handle people impersonally? Faceless, colourless data. The monotony of a factory-line worker. Like the cookie cutter VJs or presenters we often see. Because people are comfortable with the known, I think we tend to forget it is so important to retain individuality and be open to change.
I admit, I sometimes forget to practise this myself, but when I’m faced with a wall, I realise it’s the other person who probably put it up. Because they are uncomfortable with accepting me as I am, and they try to stuff me into something they can recognise and place me in their rigid little box.
As I try to understand why this wall is happening and I am perturbed by the situation, I realise it’s my own resistance to being another paper doll in blue pinafore, again.
Look, whilst I admit I am (was) a “traditionalist” at heart, who loves calling the same plumber my family has called since I was a kid, the same florist for my flowers, the same grocers for my needfuls, even the same hairdresser to be coiffed, I realise we move on, grow up, grow old even. We explore different things; we learn different ways to do things. People move on and grow.
Life’s lessons surely teach you to be individuals and to be who you are. Why would you want to strip someone of that hard-earned, life-long right?
I am proud of my flexibility. I am open to accepting ideas and thoughts from others that may differ from what I am used to. I am exhilarated when I am put out of my comfort zone for the most part. (Of course, as I typed this out I’m reminded that the logistical problems I face daily are mostly frustrating.)
But I take them all into my stride and place them in my very flexible and accommodating jelly “boxes” and deal with them accordingly. If they need to be dealt with at all.
Example. As I write these words, I am faced with a situation on the project I’m working on where one of the directors has decided to change her story. On the day of shoot. With good reason, I feel. So, much as it may pose problems in terms of logistics and schedule, we are all dealing with it and making it work for everyone.
For a moment, we are taken out of our comfort zone, and that causes a little panic all around, but we respect her need for the story that she wants to tell, in the way that she wants to tell it, and the way that she works best in.
So we make the changes necessary in order to assist her to tell this story. I think that also translates to us making allowances for one’s right to be an individual.
I think that’s the beauty of creativity - understanding, appreciating and respecting individuality. And making it all work, no matter what.
And the truth is this: You really work in mysterious ways because things have a funny way of exploding into something wonderful when we are not so rigid and we open ourselves to how others exercise their creativity.
I am grateful for my individuality. I embrace my idiosyncrasies and perfectly imperfect human foibles. And I think, as uncomfortable as it may be for us, we need to respect others’ needs for their individuality and learn to be open and fearless enough to accept them, even if it shakes us out of our comfort zone.
Be fearless folks. Get rid of the cookie cutter. Get out of the box.
Having put it off for far too long, Ida Nerina has finally surrendered to diversifying herself creatively. She continues to be grateful for life’s small mercies. And short people. You can follow her innocuous ramblings on fakebook and other rampant psycho babbling with that blue bird, as she seems to have become a twit with a camera – and deft with her fingers too. Speak to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.