Monday, July 9, 2012

Rebel With a Cause?

Although I am best known for being a die-hard fan of young actresses such as Hilary Duff, Christy (Carlson) Romano, Anne Hathaway, Ashley Tisdale, and, obviously, Victoria Justice and Jennifer Stone, during my first two years of middle school, at the age when most people are drooling over the opposite sex, my favorite celebrities were all guys.  Specifically, the three members of the old-school Christian band dc Talk--Michael Tait, Kevin "K-Max" Max, and Toby "TobyMac" McKeehan--were tops back then; they, along with anything Nintendo, were the inspiration for everything from school projects in classes ranging from art to computer science to even science, to the ever-changing images on my binder, to even most of what I did in my spare time.  I liked all three of the guys, and I still do to this day, but my favorite--at least, since I could tell the guys apart--has always been Kevin Max.  Sure, he has had his share of critics--a coeval Christian friend once called him "the guy from dc Talk that never really did anything"--but K-Max's music is amazing, in my opinion.  What I like even more about him is his willingness to be different, and refusal to fit the mold.  CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) Magazine even called him a "Rebel With a Cause" on a cover of their April 2001 issue, which featured him and his two fellow band members.  I find such a lack of conformity wonderful, since that's the way I've lived my life since I was quite young.
Unfortunately, people tend to consider being a rebel a bad thing.  Most folks consider rebels the people who flagrantly violate school rules, government laws, and Biblical commandments without another thought.  Webster defines a rebel as "one who rebels or participates in a rebellion," and it defines rebelling as "acting in or showing opposition or disobedience." Am I showing opposition and disobedience? You bet! However, it's not against Biblical teaching or the laws of the land; instead, it's against the people who won't get off my back about why I shouldn't watch this or should do that, just because it isn't "normal," "age-appropriate," or "what everyone else is doing."  You'd be surprised how many individuals, of all ages, won't lay off on such feelings.
If I had to guess why that is, I'd have to say that individuality--the only right kind of rebellion--has a negative connotation to some.  For example, take a look at this quotation:
I really represent individuality.  Kids should think for themselves.  Not to be like your friends who think they are individuals, but to be like you.
 That sounds like something I would say, but it's not.  So, who said it? Steve Jobs? Shigeru Miyamoto? Kevin Max? Lizzie McGuire? Victoria Justice? Siobhan Magnus? Nope, none of those are even close; the quotation was actually taken from a personal "ad" in the back of my sophomore yearbook.  I can't be sure who purchased it--it looks like one from a mom--but the student it was dedicated to was known both by pretty much everyone at my high school as the quintessential weirdo.  Why? Well, in short: This young lady--at least, back then--thought she was a vampire.  Her purse was in the shape of a coffin, and she wore powder on her face and had a black L. L. Bean backpack with the word "SPOOKY" embroidered on it.  I didn't hang out with her--in fact, most of what I know about her comes from my yearbooks--but it seemed like she had some issues.
To be frank, I was a lot like her prior to my high school years.  When I was in second grade, I told everyone I was a computer.  Of course, no one believed me, and I really knew that I wasn't; I just said it to see what kind of response I would get, and some people did play along.  In third and fourth grade, I loved The Magic School Bus, which would have been fine...if I hadn't believed it was real and been very vocal about it.  Such actions made me an outcast, which makes me glad to this day that I currently have as many friends as I do; if you'd asked me back then how many friends I thought I'd have in high school or later, I would have said few, if any.
Unfortunately, there are still some people who take one look at me and decide I'm an idiot.  Case in point: Today, I randomly got a friend request on Facebook from a high school classmate, who I will call "Hadji".  I didn't really know her, but we had thirty-two mutual friends, and I've struck up great friendships with fellow alumni I barely talked to back then, so, I figured, why not? However, she removed me within less than three hours of my confirmation.  Do I know why? No, but I wouldn't be surprised if Hadji didn't do it for the same reason "Electricity" (remember her?) did what she did back in December 2010: taking one look at all my posts about young female celebrities and "juvenile" entertainment, thinking, "This guy is an IDIOT!", and clicking the "Remove" link as fast as she could.
That may sound bad, and it is, but I've seen it all before.  When people get to know me, whether online, in person, or any other way, they immediately either think I'm wonderful, hilarious, smart, and original...or they decide that I'm stupid, boring, weird, and creepy.  Can I control what they think? No; frankly, I feel that most of those negative feelings are rooted in others' immaturity, but convincing them of that is a lost cause.  Hadji is just one of several who have chosen to despise me...but there are many more who have chosen to be my friend, and, with them, I don't need Hadji.
In conclusion, let me say this: There was a commercial some years ago that featured a young mother who said to her infant daughter "baby talk" phrases such as, "Is Daddy Waddy home from worky jerky?", and "You must be hungry wungry; let's go get some breaky wecky!" When she and her husband get to see a play by themselves, the mother comments on it, "Nice use of iambic pentameter...wameter?"  That poor mom was so used to talking to her young daughter that she couldn't say anything without speaking in such a way.
I bring that up for one reason: I was raised in a home that was largely devoid of certain things that "everyone else" or "every guy" likes, such as sports, cars, and graphically violent and/or obscenely sexual entertainment, which makes it quite hard for me to understand why others find such joy in any of it.  However, when others were involved in such activities, I was pressured to "join in," and was criticized for not doing so.  The problem is: You can't expect someone who doesn't understand the appeal of that stuff to appreciate it, no matter who else is doing it.  In fact, attempting to "join in" would do nothing but give me an opportunity to make a fool of myself, just like Miss "Pentameter...wameter?" in that commercial.  I know; people will think I'm weird for refusing to participate...but that's judgmental on their part, and what does the Bible say about that? That, in my opinion, is truly being a rebel.
Any comments?

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