When I was in college, I sought to be as unique as possible. If something was normal, I would do the opposite. If something was socially acceptable, I would scorn it.
Of course, it completely escaped me that I wasn’t really being original, I was simply conforming to a different set of rules.
I find it ironic that once I joined the frum world, which, from the outside, might appear like a society in which being an individual is frowned upon, and where conformity is paramount, that is when I was able to start really learning how to be an individual.
For me, removing the facade of individuality, the outer trappings which I spent so much time on, gave me the freedom to really discover who I was.
—Featured Photo by Rupert Britton on Unsplash
2 thoughts on “How Not To Be An Individual”
I’m glad it worked for you. Lately I find that I’m struggling to be myself in the frum community; I’m just too much of a misfit. If I wasn’t mentally ill/autistic/geeky/etc. maybe it would be different, but I feel I missed too many of the community’s life stages (yeshiva, early marriage, parenthood, etc.) and miss shul too much because of mental illness. Although the outside world can also be very conformist and I don’t really fit their either, so I don’t know what will happen to me.
Well, it definitely hasn’t been without it’s challenges, as my many Hevria pieces explored. Though, yes, definitely being married and having children make it easier. I understand that it can be much more challenging to find your place in this family-centric society.
If it’s any consolation, at least you’re missing shul because of a physical reason. I know that many men miss shul just because they’re tired, or it’s hard, or the weather is bad.