DON’T BOX ME IN (PART 2) #opesays

This is for you, if like me, you have never felt good enough. You try to conform and fit into the mould, but just don’t fit. No matter what you do, it just seems like you can never be good enough. They just don’t understand you and what you’re about. Perhaps it’s the way you do things that rubs them the wrong way or it’s your gentleness, your dressing, your chattiness, your mistakes, your disability or even your personality. It may be your parents, your family, your friends or even total strangers. They try to make you conform and just fall in line.

I watched a movie some days ago titled ‘Like Stars on Earth’. It was the story of an eight year old boy ,Ishan , who didn’t feel  good enough. No matter how much he tried, he couldn’t read like his mates. Several times in class, the teachers would call on him to read a passage  and he couldn’t even make out a word. To cover up his inadequacies, he became naughty and stubborn. He would play pranks on his parents and teachers , and got punished often as a result. On the other hand, he was a bubbly  eight year old boy, a bundle of sunshine. There was one thing he knew how to do so well, he could paint. His paintings were so good , that people who saw them didn’t believe they were the works of an eight year old.

His father however continued to warn him, that he if didn’t stop his naughty behaviour, he would send Ishan to boarding school. Sure enough, Ishan broke the last straw and his father sent him to boarding school. The first few days in that strange environment were too much for the eight year old, and he cried a lot, totally homesick. Hope came, however when the school got a new art teacher, one of those rare species who think outside the box. The teacher noticed Ishan was always quiet and he proceeded to find out as much as he could about him. He discovered that Ishan was not dumb as people supposed, he was only dyslexic, thus his inability to read or write correctly. He then put Ishan on special lessons teaching him how to read and write. In no time  , Ishan’s school work improved. His naughty behaviour completely disappeared. The teacher was also wowed by Ishan’s artwork. The school then  had an art competition, which was judged by a master painter. Your guess is as good as mine who won it.

Why are you trying so hard to fit in , when you were born to stand out ? The creator has made you to be different and unique, but as long as you live, the world will try to foist conformity on you. Look around you, even nature relishes diversity. That the creator made each person’s finger print unique should tell you something. That no two leopards have the same spots should buttress that point. There have been such gems like you among us, who have changed the course of the world because they could look at the world differently. Their thinking was out of the box and not everyone understood them. They were told they weren’t good enough, just because they were found wanting, an exception to the world’s rigid standards. They were different, but despite that, they persevered and emerged to be such successes that the world applauded them.

You have to break traditions and deviate from the norm to achieve anything worthwhile. We are all conditioned to conform and not make mistakes, but the man who’ll move out of that lane, will learn, grow and achieve something great. If there was no difference in our world, nothing new would have been created, no new lands ventured and discovered.

“Two roads converged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference”-Robert Frost. Your ‘road’ might be the one less taken, but your difference will announce you. Be true to yourself because there’s only one you. Do not discard the beautiful robe of uniqueness the creator has gifted you with, and don the cloak of conformity. Use your difference to achieve something great. Use your ashes to create beauty and watch the world applaud you as you do so.

Today, if you see someone different, stop and ask yourself, “In what way would this rare specie change our world  ?” Refuse to judge  , even if you are tempted to. Welcome difference, embrace difference, and perhaps our world would be different.


Opemipo Adebanjo

@opesays on Twitter

This is a weekly column that runs every Friday. It is called #opesays. Join me to talk about issues that matter from motivation to love to politics to religion to life itself.

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