Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
I love the variety and paradoxes of life and embrace who I am. I am a meditation and yoga teacher that loves to have a beer and yell the odd profanity at the televised football game. I appreciate dressing up and being feminine just as much as I love putting on my ball uniform and cleats and getting dirty. I think the world needs less comparing and competition but I tend to be aggressively seeking a win during a euchre game.
My son has always honored himself and not payed too much attention to the opinions of others. When younger, his sister and I painted his nails. He choose a dark blue shade and felt very rock star. At school, a teacher suggested that nail polish was not for boys and asked why he had some on.
He said, “why not?”
During one of our usually family dinner discussions, we were recently contemplating the categorical labelled box of what people think others should be. We both agreed and are okay with being “different” and not put in one classification. Liam said “It’s like I say, 'you do you and I will do me and it’s all good.'”
I love my son’s saying and the complex-simplicity of it. I asked him if he wanted to write about it for this week’s article and he agreed.
This is an opinion article is written by son, Liam Spencer.
“As a teenager growing up in one of the most progressive and diverse generations ever, there are a lot of options on who you could be. As a history enthusiast I can’t help but to compare the generation I’m growing up in to the generations of the past. I look back in time and see societies based on conformity culture with a dictation of how to dress, how to act and the expectations of a young man.
Now the diversities are weaved throughout our country with never-ending social groups, clubs, hobbies, and choices. Unlike the mass conformity of the past, we now see some of the most powerful countries with very little conformity on such a large scale.
Stats Canada states that as of 2011, 20.8 per cent of Canada’s total population were born in foreign countries, which is the highest among all of the G8 countries. But with such diversity there are still pressures and discord for many that reach into non-conformity within their communities. But as you look closer, moving attention from the society as a whole to the individuals within that society you can still see and understand why conformity exists.
Individuals will often share some of their hobbies, beliefs and cultural standards with each other and within these social groups they will act and live their lives very similarly. However in some instances people are compelled into conformity just to fit in or find social confidence. This is obviously a common theme in high school, but I believe into adult life as well.
With a country that is producing possibly one of the most accepting generations of all time, we still have quite bit of judgement which leads people to abide to a social norm or avoid social stigmas. As a teenager living my life in this generation, I believe I have found a honest way to live life. I think it’s important for me to live my life my way and allow others without judgement to live theirs and make decisions for themselves. I feel free to live life how I choose to and allow others that same freedom with the respect of their choices and lifestyles.
My motto is quite simple; “You do you, and I’ll do me”.
Growing up in the 2000’s cluttered full of gender stereotypes, social norms and open opinions was quite interesting. I learned what was considered normal and to be honest found it quite boring. That is simply my opinion as some people may love living a more traditional life. I chose to live my life how I want to, not necessarily against the grain but whatever way my grain is textured. When I decide what is right for me, not too many things can change my mind.
Growing up with a single mom and a sister raising me, I was used to having my older sister wanting to paint my nails or do my hair and I didn’t mind it. In Grade 5 and 6, I dyed my hair a bright fuchsia pink and loved every minute of it. Now at almost 19 years old, appearing like a small town typical jock, there are so many more layers to me. Sure I love my stereotypical “burly” sports of football, rugby and hockey, but I also love to play medieval multiplayer online games. I love sci-fi and fictional novels, obsess over shows like the Last Kingdom and to be truthful I enjoy movies like the Notebook or Dear John because I can appreciate the talent, emotion and message behind them. I try to respect everything that I don’t really incorporate into my life and give props to people who do the same.
Sports that can sometimes receive less favorable recognition in high school such as tennis, curling and badminton have my utmost respect for the impressive concentration and acute reactions these athletes have.
So basically I am saying, typically a stereotypical jock won’t share too many character traits of Sheldon Cooper or other Big Bang Theory characters, but I proudly do. Of course along the way I’ve had some flack and comical comments made toward my interests or hobbies but I really don’t care because they make me happy. What more do I need?
This is how I choose to live my life and when others disagree and voice their opinion I don’t think twice. How odd would it be for me to be different and adjust MY life because they have an opinion about it? Who says I can’t be caring and sensitive, the lead in the school musical and a strong man destroying opponents on the football and rugby fields? I am limitless and will not allow others to place limitations on me.
Perhaps we should all try to embrace our true selves and support others doing exactly that. We could try to be less judgemental and more appreciative for everyone's life choices because whether you agree or not, it makes someone happy. We don’t need to change our life to fit theirs but rather just support, understand and accept.
Try to challenge yourself to think less about what others are thinking and wanting in their life and more about what you are thinking and wanting in your life. Live your life how you want to in ways that create happiness and enjoyment, without regrets. Just be you and let other be them.”
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