I always think it’s a bit sad the way people try to control and put down those they don’t approve of. I don’t mean criticism of ideas on the level of ideas, or of harmful behaviour in the realm of actions. I mean the sniping, passive aggressive, cowardly put down, directed at the person who is sensed to be a potential outsider. Directed at men it often takes a castrating, vilifying tone, at women a shaming and vicious one. You may as well just call them “paedo” and “slut”, because that’s about the level of implied discourse. In fact sexual slurs around outsiders are a common weapon (and you should add the “queer” terms of abuse too) reflecting a desire to wound, shame, and exclude, probably reflecting the insulters’ own issues.
We’re taught way too often that conformity is credibility. Despite there being real windows of lucid perception in youth, it is unfortunately also a truly backward and mean minded age. The cool outsiders have usually had to pay dearly for their position, which they can’t help anyway, and get few rewards for. It’s one of those really crap things in life, that the stupid, bullying moms and dads, and the stupid, bullying kids, are the ones who get the rewards and easy time all too often. The shadow side of clan and family is thug rule unfortunately (don’t gangsters all “love their moms” as the world goes “ahh”?), whether by violence or manipulation. Dress it up how you like, it’s the same old shit.
If teenagers bear a hefty brunt for daring to be individual or different, another window opens later in years quite often, in that time called mid-life. There are actually reasons for that astrologically, such as the Uranus return (more rightly an opposition) that occurs in the 40s, and other things that follow in the 50s like the Neptune and Uranus trines, and the second Saturn return that happens near to 60. And we have the stereotype of the mid-life crisis.
That very term though is so psychologically illiterate. It’s like all it cares about is the outside, the appearance, what you can use a person for. Because honestly, who has not been going through crises all their life? The term is actually a kind of punishment for daring to grow, and showing it. Look at that woman, who does she think she is, dressing like that, getting big ideas, thinking she can start dreaming now? Look at that guy, making a fool of himself like a kid, like his life is starting or something. Aren’t you someone’s parent? Shouldn’t you be less of an embarrassment? Shouldn’t you be forgetting about sex and art and adventure? Shouldn’t you be more useable?
The answer is no, and it’s called who that person is. If you couldn’t tell before, it says more about the world than it does about them usually.
I feel like I was lucky growing up. I had a cool older sister, and it was the 70s and weird was pretending to be in, convincingly enough for it to make a difference. I went to a liberal comprehensive school in Fulham. I never thought that “old people” should behave any different from me, and I never thought that children weren’t individuals.
But I know a lot of the world is not like that. People get bullied and demonized and treated cruelly at any age, by conformists of any age (and they always think that they are the real grown ups, and the people with real credibility).
If you are on the wrong side of this, take it from an old freak. Those people might not change, but you do. You grow, they go. Others will be back, but you’ll learn to ignore them. You’ll keep growing, you’ll keep being yourself, and you’ll find company. It will get awesome, even if it’s difficult sometimes.
You won’t have a mid-life crisis. You’ll just outlive the requirements of conformists.