Non-conformity and Social Norms

I often wonder how we can become a more loving, caring and accepting society.  As I move through my life I run into more and more judgemental people, and often wonder to myself “why?”  Is it ignorance?  Their belief system?  Their values?  The way they were raised?

I like to live my life not caring about what other people think of me.  I like to push the limits on social norms what is “acceptable.”  I think back to my first job.  I worked in a retail clothing store, but not one a typical 16 year-old would work in (it was no Wet Seal or Forever 21).  I worked in a store that will remain nameless but let’s just say it targeted the older, professional female population.  I had gotten this job because my parents were friends with the manager, and she was willing to work with my busy high school activity schedule.  Anyone who shopped in this store will know that it was famous for “matching everything.”  So basically anyone that shopped there not only bought the red-squared printed shirt, but the matching earrings, necklace and socks. Additionally, if you saw someone dressed in an outfit like that walking down the street, you knew what store it came from.  You get the idea.  The dress code was pretty basic for the employees – dress clothing, dress shoes and no visible piercings or tattoos.  Seems easy to follow, right?  Something you should know is that this was around the time that nail polish took a risk (about 1995-997) and started creating your “not normal” colors – blue, orange, yellow, green, etc.  I, of course, felt that this was amazing and bought every color possible.  I matched my nail polish to my outfit each day.  Then it happened…”Nikki, that nail polish is not really “professional, and we don’t want our customers to stop shopping here.”  SAY WHAT?  I was young and my parents were still technically the boss of me, and they agreed with my manager.  I was just so angry.  Who decided that my nail polish wasn’t “professional?” It wasn’t in the dress code that I couldn’t wear funky colored nail polish.  So I pushed the envelope – yep – still wore it, and challenged the dress code.  I was probably pretty close to losing my job due to my “non-conformity.”  Then one day I was unpacking the boxes of stock items when guess what I found?  You got it – “unprofessional” colored nail polish.  Needless to say the disagreements about my nail polish stopped and I now got a DISCOUNT on fun nail polish.

Through my story today I want you to take two things away.  First, stop and think about how you are judging people on a daily basis.  Who are we to say what is right or wrong?  What people can wear or who people can love.  Secondly, feel the freedom of being non-judgemental.  Feel the freedom of life.  Take risks – whether they are small or big.  Go ahead – wear that funky nail polish and don’t worry or care about what others think!


  1. Missy Ross says:

    I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you! You haven’t changed at all since that time and as an adult, that is hard. You still believe in what is important to you and from what I can briefly see through FB, you are raising your children to do the same. Good for you and keep writing. I enjoy your posts daily!!

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