I’ve lived in Gauteng for 4.5 years now. I say Gauteng and not Johannesburg because I was in Pretoria (Centurion) for more than half that period. In the first 2 years or so of living away from my home, I missed Durban. I was so isolated in Centurion due to being so far away from the few friends I had who lived in Joburg.
Durban is tiny (compared to Joburg), and my house was in such a central location that anywhere more than 15 minutes worth of driving was considered far. So having to travel for 40-50 minutes from Centurion to Joburg to see my friends was such a mission. Unfortunately I had to do it because I was the only one living that far away, but it was precisely for that reason that I felt so isolated because I hardly made the trip to Joburg at all.
Things changed when I moved here, and the independence made me grow into who I am now, to the point where I’ve realised that I’ll actually never move back to Durban. I realise now, looking back at my ‘protected’ life in Durban, that I always did things differently. I just never had the opportunity to even think I did because I lived with my parents up until I was 25, and they strongly influenced both my thoughts and behaviour. Its not that they didn’t support me, but being with them never let me have quite the same level of freedom I have now.
So what were some of the things I did differently?
- I preferred Lego over dolls. I never liked dolls. They were just fake babies that lay there and existed. I wanted to make things and have them move.
- I thought that Julie Andrews was the best human being to walk the Earth.
- I loved Bollywood. Only the ignorant think that they’re all just love stories with people running around trees. Educate yourselves.
- I preferred computers and video games over anything girly. Other than romantic comedies and chick flicks, I still do. It does not mean I’m any less of a woman.
- I listened to Enya as a child rather than the popular bands of that time.
- I wanted to do everything from going into Outer Space to becoming an archaeologist who’d study dinosaurs, as well from becoming an artist to a professional tennis or piano player.
Do I still do/prefer the above? Hell yes! I think most kids want to be different things as they grow up, but the thing with me is that I still want to do all those things. Alright so maybe the tennis player bit is unrealistic right now, but why not the rest? As for Julie Andrews and Enya – they were from a different era that, to me, were better. I can still watch and listen to them now with the same enthusiasm. What they did is timeless, unlike what was popular with my peers that lasted only a limited period of time.
Over the years I’ve come to realise that there is actually no point in trying to like what everyone else does. Why should we? We go through school trying to be like everyone else in our class, and feel silly if we do or say something different. It is usually because they make us feel that way.
The thing is, the best human beings don’t try to belittle others because their thoughts and ideas are different. Those that do are just suffering from an inferiority complex and want to bring others down in order to make themselves feel better. They’re usually the insecure ones with the bigger mouth (we all know what they say about empty vessels), hence have control over those that don’t.
I’m not saying do what I did or like the same people or music, but don’t always try to fit in. Everyone is looking out for themselves and if you try to be like everyone else, you’ll end up losing yourself along the way. Still loving the things I loved growing up and not moulding into what the ‘friends’ wanted me to be is the best thing I ever did.
What today’s youth need to understand is that its not the end of the world if you don’t conform to what everyone else is doing. You are not a sheep, so don’t act like one. Real friends won’t try to change you, so its easy to get rid of those who try because it just means that they aren’t really your friends.
If we were all meant to be the same, surely we’d all look alike too?