BEDA

BEDA 2013.2 #2: Complexity of Life

“Reality resists simplicity.”
John Green

I woke up this morning to news about the principal of St. Margaret’s Secondary School insisting that three of her students (who have shaved their heads for the Cancer for Hope movement) wear wigs to school. Reasons cited included how it was agreed upon earlier that the girls will wear wigs, and quoting the principal, how “punk, unfeminine, or sloppy hairstyles” was affecting their “turnout” as young ladies.

I’ll leave the arguments against such actions to the greater majority of the Internet, but this issue had led me to think about something I remembered from one of John Green’s videos on vlogbrothers – On the Separation of Conjoined Twins and Top Six Conjoined Twin Pairs in History. Using the topic of conjoined twins and the medical community’s incessant need to “correct abnormalities” or the obsession to make things, well, “normal.”

Somehow, my mind drew a parallel between these two, the underlying issue being our latent obsession in making everything, for lack of the better term, normal or socially acceptable, whichever floats your boat.

At best, it’s societal pressure to conform to be accepted – conditional love, if I may – and at worse, some kind of subconscious attempt to control how people should live their lives.

Most of us go through our lives with our could-haves, would-haves, and should-haves, half the time held back by the notion of what seems to be “normal”. I’m not talking about death-defying stunts or activities here, I’m talking things that may just be something you rarely see. And it does irk me to see that things like going bald in a Girls’ School or dying your hair wacky colours or tattooing is seen as different and therefore, bad.

What’s bad or not does not lie in the appearance or the presentation of the person, but his/ her personality. And I’m sure our educated society has eyes and brains enough to know and see this. It’s only a shame that sometimes, we limit ourselves with our own “education.”

Many of us will hope for a simple life where everything is just there for us. Why not? Save ourselves the trouble, right? But as I quoted from John Green, reality does resist simplicity. People, in their individual units, regardless of how collective you would like to view them, are unique, and the reason why you don’t live a black and white life of monotony (unless you choose to). And try as you might, you cannot really find a person who’s purely on either side of the spectrum.

There must be order, I agree. But there’s also a line before you cross into “I-don’t-like-rock-bands-and-therefore-the-entire-world-needs-to-know-they-are-evil” territory.

Therefore, let me leave you with this question – If societal expectations weren’t a problem, what will you define as “normal”?

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