“Her life improved dramatically when she decided to break the rules and find beauty where she had been told there was none.”
I have this on a magnet my mum? gave me a while back. It is accompanied by a pencil sketch of a dandelion. Presumably to indicate that most people wouldn’t consider something often referred to as a weed to be a source of beauty.
I often don’t realize how far I exist outside of the boundaries of what’s considered “normal” society until I interact with it to some extent. I don’t watch television except in binge form now and then. I don’t subscribe to a streaming service, or have a robot lady voice cue up music for me. My phone and my car do not chat with each other. I am not a demographic that advertisers seek to sell things to. I don’t wear makeup or buy new clothes. If I am listening to the radio or watching something on the tubeyoub and an ad comes on, I immediately turn it off/mute the sound. It’s not just noise to me, it’s an assault that many people around me seem to have folded into their realm of being.
I am not alone in these habits/qualities/traits. I well understand that. I just so often forget that there are people out there who don’t wake up with a desire to smash the patriarchy every day. Who don’t question that perhaps capitalism is a flawed system. Who don’t consider that people should be allowed to love who they love as long as it’s consensual and an equalized power dynamic, however that looks for you. Who believe that their skydaddy is the best skydaddy and all other skydaddies are mythological stories someone made up to justify non-consensual imbalanced power dynamics.
There are many things which exist both in our heads and out of them, some of which are true, and some of which have been warped along the way to become something more than true. They have become canon, iconic, a baseline for everything that comes after it. Consider the template for fairy tales. Once upon a time. A good proportion of humans know what comes next. Or think they know what should come next.
And that’s what it is, a lot of the time I think I should know what comes next. I’ve made a decision, arbitrarily, that I have an awareness of how things should be. And I impose that belief on the world around me, expecting that many people feel the same way I do about dandelions, that they are beautiful flowers, which make for good wine, or the leaves as a digestive aid, or the roots as a liver detox. I see them as good and necessary, where someone who thinks lawns should be immaculate and grassy to the exclusion of all other things, sees them as an annoyance to be eradicated.
I’m not saying that I’m going to suddenly start peacefully coexisting with “normal” (what is normal but a setting on a washing machine, really?) society as readily as I do with dandelions, but perhaps an effort to avoid making up my mind that something is true wouldn’t go amiss.
And if I am going to make decisions arbitrarily, perhaps I would be better served by choosing to not get upset when someone doesn’t see dandelions the same way I do. Perhaps their mum never helped shift their perspective with the gift of a well timed fridge magnet. How fortunate for me that mine did.