The Limits of Conformity

By Tyree Brown

Growing up, it is usual to believe that one takes time to figure out who they are and what’s their potential in life. While for some it may be early and for others into adulthood, I will always feel that my potential will take an eternity.

It took me several years to reach this understanding with myself. In a world where it so easy to conform, settle or be satisfied, the idea of always trying to achieve more could be a hard accomplishment.

It’s especially hard in middle school when not only the body starts to grow but also the mind. At this period, I was especially a victim to conformity. Believe it or not, I wasn’t always this defined, good looking piece of chocolate in front of you all today.

Going into seventh grade, I was noticeably bigger than the other children, coming in at about fifty pounds overweight. Being in a place where people lack in maturity and differences are not always accepted, I was bullied and hazed. To say that this doesn’t have an everlasting fact on a person, would be a lie.

However to what affect this has on one is what makes the difference in life. At first, this effect was negative.  For a long time I let my weight and my self-esteem choose how to live my life.

Eventually I chose to be like my abusers. I inspired to be like them in hopes of being in the popular crowd that didn’t have problems with bullies. But in reality, I was only becoming the things that I hated growing up.

This went on for several years. My own opinions and character were shadowed by a layer of insecurities. What was the next trend? Should I even say this? How will they look at me? So many questions traveled through my head. There were so many opinions but none of them seemed to be mine.

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But it wasn’t until high school when my general outlook on life appeared.

To be anyone other than yourself only makes your life harder.

It took me embracing my mistakes, my flaws, and insecurities to realize that it is acceptable to make mistakes as long as they are yours to make. It is impossible to grow as a person when you’re only building with someone else’s thoughts.

Conforming only killed my character, limiting me only to what others wanted me to be. This brings me back to my initial point. There is an importance in eliminating the barriers that society, enemies, living conditions, or even you place in your mind.

Currently, I am not done personally growing. There is always room for improvement. I will never believe that I am at a place that is considered adequate.

When I graduate, it will never be enough. When I find a career, I will never be done. When I retire and my life could be considered successful, I will not be done.

There will always be something new to be discovered no matter age or status.  

When I thought about this, my character, my values, and my writing flourished. When I write, I know something could always be better. This same mantra is tied into my life.

With each day, I think What could I do to top my last? If I ask myself this question every day, there is no limit to what I can succeed. 

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