On being different and not giving a rat’s arse

guy on stilts

Sometimes you meet people who are so different, so comfortable in their own skin and so in tune with their own eccentricities that you want to emulate them. But in doing so they would no longer be different, which would ultimately take away from the very thing that attracted you to that individual in the first place and would also make you nothing but a sheep. Why be a sheep? Where’s the fun in that?

I was reminded about the power and significance of being different this week and wanted to give my two cents as to why it is such a brilliant feeling to be comfortable with your quirks and foibles and why you shouldn’t give a rat’s arse about what anyone has to say about them. After all, we all know they’re just jealous anyway.

On Sunday afternoon I found myself in London’s West End, walking past the National Portrait Gallery towards the underground when I saw a 9 foot tall man. Maybe even 10. I didn’t measure him and it seemed inappropriate to shout out at him from the other side of the road “hey Mr, do you mind telling me how tall you are, I’m thinking of including you on my blog and I want to get my facts right”. That ish might play in some parts of the world, but this is London, we don’t make eye contact with those we know let alone actually speak to strangers. Most abide by this unwritten rule but of course for every tube journey or sandwich eaten on a park bench, there’s always the one person, possibly from somewhere out of the city and more sociable, like Aberystwyth or Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr – I’ve heard people are very friendly there – who has no qualms with looking you head on and engaging in pleasant conversation.

“It’s hot in this really tiny, claustrophobic train, isn’t it pet?”

You try to nod politely but in a way which discourages all further means of communication but nope, suddenly that minute movement of the chin opens the floodgates and a tube full of passengers are staring at you in shock as your new best pal breaks the rush hour silence, ignores the METRO in her hands and delves straight into your personal life, asking such intrusive questions as “Are you on your way to work pet?” and I don’t know how you cope with being trapped on the underground like a sardine every day”. I mean really, the injustice the rudeness of it all! Making conversation?!

But no really, fair play to the strangers on the train who aren’t afraid to be different. To break the silence and strike up a conversation, maybe I should have taken a leaf out of their books, crossed the road and asked the 9 foot tall man why he was walking around on stilts. He’d probably have had a really interesting story to tell. He may have wanted to know what it would feel like to be 9 foot tall. He may enjoy looking at unsuspecting balding men’s heads or thought it would make an ingenious mode of transport to get to the Tesco Express round the corner.


I’ll never know why he felt the need to be so different and so tall because I didn’t dare ask. I greatly admire his difference though.

lady creating sand art in London

We all have things that make us different. It could be loving a band that none of your friends have even heard of let alone appreciate, it could be a love for creating sand art outside of tube stations like this lady at Camden station or it could be a great appreciation for neon lycra leggings even though they have never been fully appreciated by any fashion house or pop culture during our reign on this earth. Needless to say you don’t mind because you’ve learned to appreciate your differences and don’t give a rat’s arse about what anyone else thinks about it.

If you’re not at that stage of not caring quite yet, I hope you get there soon because there is nothing more fantastic than feeling comfortable in your own skin and being able to be you, letting those around you see what makes you unique. Because we are all unique and that is what people with warm to, why they will buy your books, attend your workshops or choose to be your friends, because they appreciate, admire or are intrigued by what makes you tick and what makes you different. Because nobody wants to be with a bunch of sheep.


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  • Reply Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) September 24, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Oh how I LOVE this! You’re so right – we shouldn’t care what others think – but I think we’re programmed to. We justify to ourselves that we need to follow the herd because we’re not good quite as good as others, not quite as practised, as honed, as experienced, as valid. We kid ourselves sometimes that we’re part of that crowd, that we ARE being ourselves or perhaps that one day we’ll get there. But we’re ALREADY there. We’re valid, experienced and honed in our own perfect way. We just need to recognise it. Wise words from you Tin, loved it x

    • Reply Tinuke September 24, 2015 at 9:55 am

      I love this comment so much I feel like copying and pasting it into the main body of the blog post and quoting you Michelle!
      I particularly like what you say about kidding ourselves about being part of a crowd. I felt that way quite a bit as a teenager and loved the moments when I gave not one ish about convention and just focuseed on being MEEEEEEeeeEE!

  • Reply Ebabee September 24, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Very wise words indeed!. Fabulous post and love the way you’ve put it. We are all so different and we should always celebrate that. As you get older (or at least as I have gotten older) I have realised just this – you are who you are and that is absolutely fine. It’s better than fine – our differences are what set us apart. And on how Londoners never make conversation – made me laugh out aloud – what’s all that about? I’ve lived here for 15 yrs and still don’t get it. In India, strangers will ask you the most intimate questions and that’s ok! Love this post x

    • Reply Tinuke September 24, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Thank you so much! So glad you got what I meant. London commuters are our own special breed of people aren’t we? I love the idea of having random people asking intimate questions on Indian transport – the same was true when I was in Dominica. I remember being on a bus and a woman making me hold her baby for the hour’s journey. I’d NEVER met her or the baby before that trip…

  • Reply Babes about Town September 25, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Apart from a farmer that is hehe (sheep, I mean)! Love this post, so true, it’s absolutely our little quirks and strange ways of being and individual spark that connects us to each other. You are one of those voices and people that stand out from the crowd, and long may that continue. Post title is brilliant too x

    • Reply Tinuke September 25, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      Long live individuality! I always feel lost in a sea of much louder, stronger, funnier, more brilliant voices so saying that I stand out has me grinning like a kids with a bowl of apple crumble…not only because I’m sitting here with a bowl of apple crumble as I type this… xxx

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