I’ve never been much of a ruler follower. That’s not to say that there aren’t good rules, there are. Stop at red lights, don’t beat your kids, and don’t kill people. These are examples of good and necessary rules, though there could be valid exceptions to each.
The rules that piss me off are society’s abstract, made-up conventions for the masses. For instance, the strict list of breakfast food items that I’m told I must adhere to. One can eat oatmeal, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, cereal, waffles, toast, etc. Well this list is stupid, and who came up with it in the first place, and why are they credible to make such important decisions for my entire life?
I really love spaghetti for breakfast. Chips and hot sauce is also a staple for me. A lot of times I’ll have a big salad, and once in awhile, I’ll have a patty melt from Whataburger. But never will I ever eat oatmeal because I just don’t like it and don’t want to. The judgment I get from people about what I eat concerns me. It concerns me that people care so deeply, and in such a negative way. And I’m not talking light hearted teasing here. The people who criticize my food choices oftentimes get visibly frazzled and upset about it, as if mad at the sudden realization that I’m not following the rules they’ve so blindly followed their whole lives, and desperately wanting me to fall back in line to make their conformance somehow valid again.
I once worked with a man who would stop by my desk each morning to see what I was eating just so he could get perturbed and give me a somber sermon on how those foods are in place for a reason. I couldn’t believe a person that petty and strange could exist, but then realized that the people on Jerry Springer exist somewhere also.
Another one that bothers me is the Christmas tree rule. Some will say the only acceptable time period to have a tree up is between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s. Then, sometime after Thanksgiving dinner and in the time leading up to Christmas Eve, people frantically rush around, stand in lines, fight crowds, and scrape for the best deals all in the name of the sweet little baby Jesus. Bullshit.
You should see the heads explode when I put my tree up in September. Again, people become judgmental to an alarming degree. How dare you not follow this abstract rule dictated by someone, somewhere that we do not know. But to me, this is just practical. Summer in Texas is brutal and very depressing for me. Fall and winter happen to be my happy place, so by the beginning of September when I’m ready to blow my brains out, the tree goes up. This reminds me of the happy times about to come. Also, this is when I begin doing my Christmas shopping. Instead of cramming it all in to one month and going broke, I spread it out over four months. No last-minute shopping, no crowds, no forgetting anything or anyone, and no going broke. AND I get pretty lights for longer. But I’m the crazy one.
Try making turkey and stuffing in May. People will demand to know why you’re eating that, and they will make a snarly face. They will go tell people how weird you are, not realizing how weird it is to care in the first place.
Try leaving at 4:55 instead of 5:00 on the dot, and watch your coworkers melt into an acidic pile of disdain.
Like your white wine room temp? That’s not how you’re supposed to drink it! This needs to go in the fridge asap! Touch it and die bitch.
I’m only naming a few, but I bet you could think of another ten right off the top of your head. We encounter society’s rules all day but have failed to notice anymore. Blindly falling into societal norms, no matter how dishonest they are to our inner, unique being, and scorning people who don’t do the same.
I’ve found the same thing happening in my art, which I expected. People often ask why I would paint this, why I didn’t do this instead, and so on. I have to continually remind myself that the people trying to make me eat oatmeal and paint a beige landscape aren’t my tribe and probably aren’t doing shit with their lives.
They’re not the free thinkers of the world, and they can’t have influence in my life. These are the same people who say things like, you can’t, or that will never happen, or you should just – fill in the blank. These are the people who keep us small, and keep us from realizing the greatness in ourselves and in others. The breakfast Gestapo isn’t just here for your spaghetti, they want your soul. If you think I’m exaggerating, just try eating a piece fried chicken for breakfast and I bet I see the aftermath on YouTube. But if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t a member of the beige army, and I’m so happy to have you.