Recently, I have been thinking back to the mid 1980s, during the three years after I got out of the marines and before I left for England. It was during this time, I asserted my individuality, which wasn’t a cool thing to do in 80s Reagan America. Needless to say and I know I’ve said it before, I got a lot of crap off people on account of it. Back then, it wasn’t cool to have long hair or wear way out clothes, in my case, it was those Native American moccasin boots. While I suffered no bullying in the physical sense, I was the subject of teasing and exclusion, simply because of my dress sense. However, most people who were perpetuating the teasing and exclusion seemed to think it was my fault because of my dress sense. Often, I would hear the line: “If you don’t want people hassling you, cut your hair and don’t wear those boots because people will give you grief for it” In response, I would site the First Amendment and freedom of speech and expression. The counter to that was that it was the First Amendment right of those who were hassling to express what they thought of me.
Deep down, I knew I was in the right. After all, I had spent four years living under very strict haircut and clothing regulations so it was my right to be my own person. What I should have said, and this is the problem with me, I can’t think of comebacks on the spot but have to go away, mull things over in my mind and then come up with a good response, was “Why should I give up my freedom of expression just to placate someone else’s intolerance?” That is precisely why I didn’t bring anything on myself. It wasn’t me who had the problem, it was those who for some reason, didn’t want to accept my hair and clothing style. After all, wearing clothes doesn’t harm anyone in most cases, unless of course I’m wearing clothing with a lot of spikes on them.
Some back in the day might state the social faux pas I committed at the college spring bash, when I got really falling down puking drunk. Yes, I made a mistake but I quietly went to a bench and slept it off. Unfortunately, some people thought that all future bashes would be banned on account of my actions. If that had been the case, I would have gone to the powers that be and told them to ban me but not others on account of my transgression. It might be argued by some that I did bring things on myself on account of that. I might have agreed with it and then I went to college in England. I told some of my new English friends about that day and they all assured me that I would not have been the only person in that state that day and everyone would have laughed it off. So, I didn’t really invite any hassle that day, just more intolerance from others.
Throughout those three years, many persons stated that I wouldn’t have so much hassle if I were to change my clothes and cut my hair. Yes, it would have been very simple for me to do that, so why didn’t I? Answer, my anxieties told me that if I have to cut my hair to suit others, I might as well have stayed in the marines. I had no haircut regulations so why should I adhere to any people try to force upon me. Was I being stubborn? No, I don’t think so, I was just trying to be my own person.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462218087&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird