Last week I witnessed a youth program that was designed to allow teens to help teens in trouble. The problem was that no one could address someone by name, they could only use initials. This made for some awkward conversations to say the least. Are we so afraid of people finding out what we do that we try to pretend that we are invisible? That’s not easy to do, especially with social media.

I have yet to see a Facebook post that was done with just someone’s initials (to protect the innocent). In fact, on social media and when no longer standing before another person, some people get great big brave word muscles and fail to remember common courtesy and polite behavior. We’ve all seen it and maybe, just maybe, we’ve participated in it ourselves.

We have become a society of disconnect with a side dash of lack of emotion. Do you really care as much as you did as a child? Do you find yourself becoming a ball of stress over complete nonsense while ignoring things that are genuinely important? Sure you have and we need to find a way back.

When I go to a restaurant with a waiting line for a table I like to offer any empty seats to the next people in line. Does this sound terrifying or uncomfortable? Well it’s not. It’s amazing what a total stranger may have to offer. I have heard some of the best stories, funniest jokes and learned some amazing life lessons from a stranger.

This holiday season don’t stress about gifts and how much money you feel the need to spend. Stop the massive brainwashing of commercialism and remember that simply visiting someone or taking a friend out for a dinner and a movie might be just what the doctor ordered. People need people, we are creatures of contact and are not loners by nature.

Stop letting fools try to ruin things by boycotting “Baby it’s cold outside.” I can think of a 1,000 other songs that make me change the radio (which is my choice). I read a fun post that said if this is the only song in 79 years that offends you, you haven’t been listening. Isn’t that the truth! And who cares if someone gets offended.

Every one of us perceives things differently, that’s what makes us unique, so we should be celebrating differences instead of trying to fit everyone in a tin can of blandness.

I love being different. I want you to love being different. I want you to tell your children and grandchildren that it is perfectly okay to be weird or strange, excessively creative or shy and quiet.

We are a world of misfits, and like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, we all need to accept those differences and make the best of them.

Remember knowledge is power and if you are easily offended, go buy yourself some big kid britches and grow up.

 

Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.