We are extremely lucky to live in the Western World. Developed countries have so much to offer to us. We pretty much can get anything we want, whenever we want, however we want. Sometimes, there are so many choices, we get lost or confused…..or annoyed (which reminds me, one of my next posts will be about shopping so stay tuned!). The privilege we have to live in such a society (let’s think about it here for a minute, it is a privilege, many people in under-developed countries envy us) can also be a curse. What I mean by that is that having everything handed to us on a platter makes us lack originality. We have become dull, plain, boring. We do not use our brains as much as we should and we just go with trends. With follow the herd like sheep and don’t question anything really unless it is something extremely important. In the next few paragraphs, I will mention how our society bores and traps us in its conventionality, how it makes us less interesting and most importantly how a buddabamama goes against the norm whenever she can. Some might call it rebellion. I just call it using my heart and soul.
I’ve always struggled with fitting in this society. I struggled because, I really always wanted to do things that I wanted to do and not be pressured to do otherwise. Let’s say that it probably originated from my odd childhood. I always wanted to burst out of my shell, exit the world I was in. I still remember vividly reading a story in High School called ” The Black Sheep in the Family”. I do not remember who wrote the passage but it described me so well and for the first time in my life, I felt adequate. I thought, wait, maybe more people are like me… How amazing? Maybe if the people around me didn’t SEE me, others would. I just needed to find my blissful environment and like-minded people.
I was never one to conform to the norm. To me the word norm is scary and ugly. In my family weird is more of a compliment than an insult. Weird to most people means odd. What’s wrong with being odd? Creativity is an important part of our happiness. If we cannot create, then why are we here? What is the point of living our lives, just going with what the crowd does, buying what everyone buys, celebrating the same way people celebrate? Why not come out of our bubble once in a while and try something completely different? Why not do something NEVER done before? Why is that so scary? I think it all comes down to comfort. We are so busy, tired, sick, frustrated, what is presented to us is plain and simply appealing because after living our exhausting lives, we do not have time for creation. It takes time, courage and thought to create. No, we don’t have time for that. Instead, look, there is something on the TV, I can just call and order it and it will come to me so fast, I won’t have to worry about anything. I don’t have to come up with my own idea. It would take me forever to figure out how to make something like that….? Right? The good thing though when it comes to products is that the best thing that can ever happen to you to trigger creativity is lack of money. If I don’t have the money to buy something, I will try to make it. Often, if I need something, I will think, “How can I make it”? It is usually an adventure because I am not the most crafty person. When my daughter was younger, we wanted to buy her a little table and chair so she could do her art. Everything in stores looked too commercial and expensive so I told my husband that we should make it ourselves. He was very reluctant ( he is the least daring person in our family). I had a vision to use an old side table that was passed on to me from my friend Ella. It was a dark wooden table with beautiful legs. I dragged my husband to a store that sold only unfinished furniture. We found the cutest little chair to go with the table. Then we went to Lowe’s, picked a color we know she would love and got to work. My husband was dreading the whole thing. He had so many doubts and fears. We stayed up late, sanded, coated, painted the table while our daughter was sleeping. The results: amazing. She had a great birthday and a decade later, she still has the table (now covered with hair accessories and jewelry) and she treasures the fact that she can pass it on to her daughter or granddaughter in the future. The best part is: I had won my husband over and from that day on, he has been a lot more supportive of my crazy ideas.
That is just one example on how I always think outside the box. I won’t lie to you, I encountered many nay-sayers and people who try to discourage me (my husband used to be one of them). What I would recommend those of you who are brave enough to be creative is to just ignore, ignore and ignore again those who try to stop you. You could spend an hour trying to explain those people that you have a vision, that your idea will turn to gold, they will never understand until they see it. SO: don’t waste your time on them. If you are lucky enough to have been blessed to have the ability to free yourself from conventionality, then you owe it to yourself to just do it and not worry about how others will judge you. One thing for sure is that you can never please everyone. So why try? The person you must please first is yourself. It took me a long time to come to term with this simple notion.
My husband and I were both raised with some sort of religious upbringing. I was raised in Catholic country with a mother who didn’t care much for organized religion but with a Muslim father. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. What a combination!!! The good thing is that because of that and all the crazy things I was asked to do, I sort of deviated from the whole idea of religion. I mean no offense to those who are religious. I have the utmost respect for people’s choices and free will. What makes you happy, you should continue to do. However, religion is not for me. I do not find any comfort in organized religion. I never believed anything that was sort of shoved down my throat. It makes a lot of sense actually. If something is somewhat forced, you will rebel. When I went to college, I found my peace by taking a non-western religion class and reading up on Taoism and Buddhism. I am not a Taoist. I am not a Buddhist but I identify with those two ideologies the best. But I still don’t go to a Buddhist temple. I am content with my beliefs. They are original. It’s a little bit of science, a little bit of spirituality, a little bit of Buddhism (my blog name is starting to make more sense now doesn’t it?) a lot of nature appreciation, and lots of love and compassion. If I may, I recommend anyone who is reading this and who feels inadequate in their religion or faith to do venture outside the norm. You do not have to be the same religion as your parents. If they love you, they will accept you whatever you feel comfortable in. If you are afraid they won’t, it is not your issue. It is theirs. This is your life. You are with yourself more than you are with them. You will be the one raising your children, not your parents. You will be the one passing on your experiences so make them worthy of them.
All this brings me to our daughter’s first holiday season. We did not live in Los Angeles at the time where so many people have different faiths and no one is surprised if you do not celebrate Christmas. My husband and I had a huge dilemma ahead of us. We were not religious but were both raised celebrating Christmas. We didn’t know what to do so we did nothing. We figured our daughter was young enough that she wouldn’t remember anything. The only thing she really cared about was being loved anyways. By the second holiday season, we had it almost figured out. Because we both enjoyed Christmas as kids and because of the pressure of society and family, we figured out a way to make ourselves and everyone happy. We decided we would celebrate seasons. We decorate our house according to each season. We do have a tree with decorations matching our personality (we have yoga figures, lots or papier-mache animals, pictures of our dog, etc) and we do exchange presents. We keep our decorations sometimes until the end of January. We taught our daughter the meaning of Christmas, Jesus, etc, even though we are not Christians. There is nothing wrong with educating our kid about every religion. She knows about Ramadan, she knows about Jewish traditions, she knows most religions. We however put no pressure on her. We figured, if we do our job right, she will make her own choices. And she did. One important thing for us around the holiday is to bring our creativity to the season. We make collages with things we love that represent the season and holiday and hang them on our walls, we make our own crafts, we make our own wrapping paper sometimes. We shop in odd stores. We buy useful things. The holiday season is a celebration for everyone. I do not like to buy things that will only benefit the receiver. As much as we can, we buy things that will make an impact somehow. We also do not like the pressure around Christmas. Family can be stressful sometimes. My husband always tells me story how crazy is Christmases were, having to spend so much time in the car to go from one part of the state to another just to spend Christmas with everyone. We don’t do that. The world won’t end if we don’t follow the traditional schedule. We eat whenever we want, with whoever with want. One year, we got Middle Eastern take out and ate in our car before we unexpectedly decided to drive down to see my husband’s grandparents. It is to this day the best memory I have of Christmas. (This is for you Luella, whenever you are). The best things in life are not planned, they come out of blue or come out of pure sheer creative craziness.
So, we have originality in product creation which can range from kitchen stuff to jewelry, clothing, anything for the house, anything, you name it!, originality in our own personal choices such as religion, traditions (what is your own personal touch on birthdays, holiday celebration?). Now, let’s touch on originality of thought pattern. People sometimes find me unpredictable and to be honest, I like it that way. I sometimes piss people off because I hate planning and I will just call someone up at the last minute and see if they are free. If they are not, I move on. Never upset because I know I am unusual. That’s just how I like it. I can be extremely traditional but also very “out there” in my way of doing things and seeing the world. I like to question everything. I tend to first go against the crowd until I have time to analyze things. I never rush to buy new popular things. I do not have an iPhone. It took me forever to even get a smartphone. I do my homework carefully before getting into anything but most importantly I will listen to my gut. Being used to going against the norm makes it easy to do this. I am sort of a pro at it. It does take time to feel completely ok with oneself. There is so much doubt at first. We are human and we want to please one another. We are also creatures of habit who sometimes just need to be part of group. It is only natural. Fear not, with a little bit of practice, you will soon find comfort in being different. Different changes the world. Originality is our future. Status Quo is an old thought. 2012 is a time for evolution, change, higher consciousness. We don’t have to just be fed whatever is giving to us, we can stray from that and get better nutrients for our brain. If there is just a slight question or doubt coming to your mind, then it is worth exploring. Under no circumstance shall you dismiss it! *smile*. I was raised eating meat at least 3 times a week. Now I am a Vegetarian, close to being Vegan, except for my love of cheese. My eyes were opened by allowing myself to watch very uncomfortable documentaries (that is a whole other post). I question and study what I hear or read from news network. Pretty much, a good rule of thumb is to question everything and anything that is on TV. Curiosity goes hand in hand with originality. If you dig into whatever it is you are watching, buying, thinking, you will most likely be better off. It is quite ok to not go with the crowd. You are born alone. You will die alone. It is ok to be alone in your search for truth and it is ok to be the first to come up with an idea.
My advice to everyone who is reading this is, don’t sweat it. Embrace yourself and explore your mind and your choices. I do things that seem strange all the time. People think I am crazy, only for a few years later to realize I was right all along. Ask my husband, he has tons of stories, especially when it comes to odd health remedies or advice on food/bad food. I think original people are ahead of their time. Do not give up on yourself because no one understand you. Your time to shine will come. But always remember that what matters the most if that you are staying true to yourself by being original. No one can ever take that away from you. So cherish it. Don’t be ashamed of it.
Now because I love you all so much, I leave you with one of the songs that inspired me while writing this. Remember, this world was made more fun for all of us to live in because of amazing people who dared to dream and explore, think out of the box, or challenge authority!