You are not welcome, get lost. Don’t touch me. Many of us have experienced that feeling of being unwelcome. It comes in many forms and at many levels. Sometimes it is a consequence that is well deserved, reserved for criminals, predators and other such ilk. Other times it is an outworking of small minds and people who are emotionally illiterate or just plain bigots. As I move through this blog I must say that at times I am sure that I have been guilty of making people feel unwelcome, perhaps even deliberately. I would hope however that I have been upfront with it.
Have you ever walked into a room and it goes quiet, people look away, they look guilty, you get the feeling they have been talking about you. Alternatively, your texts are not returned, emails stop, phone calls disappears. Even worse is in relationships, touch disappears intimacy is gone and yet nothing has been said, one just gets that awkward feeling and one just doesn’t want to be there any more. Another version of this is small town syndrome. You cannot get a job, rent a house, no one visits or in my case an ultimate humiliation no one turns up for your birthday party.
These are all experiences I have had all of those experiences and a few more besides. So the theme for my next few blogs will be persona non grata and how that reflects on those around us rather than the one who suffers the ignominy of that experience. Some of the situations I will share are pretty personal and I acknowledge that they may even embarrass and quite possibly annoy or engender anger. I will try not to identify anyone and if I do end up being offensive and anyone feels that it is unfair then please feel free to drop me a line or give me a call we can discuss it. Likewise I have been getting quite a bit of feedback from people saying they love my blog but they don’t agree with everything I say. Well I am pleased that we don’t agree, Ralph Waldo Emerson said “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines”. I would however love to engage with people where I am not agreed with and to enter into a discussion instead of remaining comfortable in my opinions.
So before I go any further I guess perhaps I should give a little background as to where I am on this subject. I am not a conformist. I have never been a conformist, in some way or another I am always bucking some expectation. As Rita Mae Brown says “I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” My lack of conformity exhibits itself in many different ways, as a child my non conformity was shown by what some people may call conformity, I took pride in being good mannered and polite. Some of those things are ingrained in me, I most often hold doors open for people, offer to help in situations and do the right thing and oh and please don’t make me vomit by calling me a “good man”. From an early age I took the side of the underdog, part of that was influenced by my Father and an Uncle and their emphasis on social justice. Part of that is also to do with my beliefs and what I think the bible instructs us to do. This has often come at cost.
I have been paying the price for my non conformity in many ways for many years and whilst I would at times dearly love to be seen as part of society, to be included, normal and by some peoples measure whole I know that the cost of such conformity would be immense. Jiddu Krishnamurti said “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” I remind myself of the cost of conformity often by trying to live to the following maxims. I want to be condemned for my passion not my mediocrity and that if I have nothing left in my life apart from my integrity then I pray that God gives me the strength and the grace to know that this is indeed enough. I wish you well in your journey of life.