I was a really well-mannered kid. I always did well in school, I was polite, hardly ever caused any trouble, and was well liked by my teachers and had friends. So what changed? Why did I feel the need to rebel at all? Well, I hated myself, so I guess that’s where rebellion started to swell. It was like a pulse. It was a part of me that I was denying, one that I could feel knocking on the door of the interior of my mind hoping for release. I have been reading a lot of poetry lately, and apparently now feel like I’m full of wit…man. If you understood that joke, congrats on graduating high school, or just you know, bettering yourself with literature that isn’t your daily horoscope.
So, rebellion, what is it and how is it a good thing? Think about art. In the past two hundred years of art history, every “era” or genre of art was either accepted (elaborated upon) or completely rejected by the new generations of artists. So in a way, rebellion is progress. It is not easy (as most progress comes with many hardships) but it is incredibly rewarding and will be appreciated for years to come.
Nothing in our world is black and white unless you’re a panda, but then you’re a fuckin’ panda and your life is great. It’s the same with rebellion. Am I the Marilyn Manson of the millennials? No, not even close. But I still push boundaries in some regards. I push them when they need to be pushed, or when I feel passionate about the subject. But the key is learning when rebellion is used for the betterment of you or another person and when it is wasted energy.
A common misconception with defiant behavior is it does not need to be loud. Rebellion is not (always) anger; it is quiet rejection. Sometimes to get your point across you need to speak with volume that matches the intensity in your heart, but sometimes it is more effective to offer your dissention with a collected demeanor. I go against societal norms in a handful of ways, but the one that comes up most often is my sobriety. Alcohol and recreational drug use is a pretty ubiquitous part of every society I have experienced in my travels. And when I am pushed to use by the bartender, club kid, or random passerby, instead of getting mad or offended, I thank them for the offer and tell them “I am an alcoholic and drug addict so I don’t use anymore.” If they still don’t understand, that’s when a bit of a pushback is necessary.
A few months ago I ran into a fucking idiot man at a bar in Prague who struck up a conversation with me when he noticed I was drinking water and said, “OI! WHERE’S YOUR BEER?” When I told him that I was sober, he called me a pussy and told me that life was short and to live it as hard as you can. So, I asked him if he had ever experienced someone close to him die from an overdose. He hadn’t…so I told him to fuck himself because he clearly had no idea what living “hard” can actually mean, and how easily “hard” can turn into “scarred”, and how fucking quickly “fast” can turn into “passed”.
Defiance from society has two extremely positive attributes. The first is learning to pick your battles and how to protect your wellbeing. The second is drawing in genuine attraction with how you present yourself, both with outer appearance and by projecting your personality.
Actively seeking to be counter-culture solely for the persona of being “counter-culture” is not actually a form of rebellion, that’s the over-produced hipster that can usually be seen frequenting coffee shops in Silverlake working on his screenplay and smoking a vape pipe, because he loves the irony of using a technology-driven device shaped like an antiquated vessel. If you see someone who dresses with a gothic aesthetic and giggle with your friends at how “attention seeking” their behavior is, you can fuck all the way off. Why do you dress the way you do? Clothing is nothing but expression, and while you think your pleated khakis may make you look respectable, I think you look boring as hell. I dress the way that I do, wear piercings and don tattoos because It is who I am, and will hopefully attract people with similar interests to me. And here’s a little secret, it works.
By presenting yourself in the most honest and truthful way you can, it is inherently a form of rebellion. By being courageous enough to be your authentic self despite the boundaries of society is one of the most rewarding things you can learn to do for yourself. Think of rebellion as covalent bonds. Covalent bonds happen when atoms share electrons in order to gain stability, think of yourself as one of these atoms sharing yourself with others and gaining stronger relationships because of it. It’s science bitch. So wave your freak flag a little higher.
This rebellion that I am talking about is so much more than “teenage rebellion”. That is angst. That is spiteful dissonance because you’re unhappy and want to cause a ruckus just for the sake of the noise. This is strategic defiance in order to help you achieve a fuller sense of self. To create a quiet pride and the will to fight over the things you love. That is rebellion. That is you.
Much love & many adventures,