Learning not to cock-a-doodle-doo in public and other social scripts

Rooster in keralaI recently met with an incredible group of strangers and poured out my guts to a select few women who did the same.

We all have these underlying battles we don’t even realize are there until the moment comes where they a) explode or b) are gently coaxed to the surface.

Before A or B happen, these battles passive aggressively show up in our lives in ways we can barely notice but deep down see a smidgen of.

Anyway, so one thing I’ve always struggled with are the varying social scripts in my life. Here’s my long-winded explanation. For example, when you’re a child, play and exploration are encouraged. As you get older, you learn certain things are not OK.

Like the day I was sitting in a grocery cart as my mom pushed me through the store. I started cock-a-doodle-dooing like a rooster.

Why? Because I felt like it.

I was taken aback when a couple nearby giggled. Then my mom taught me that cock-a-doodle-dooing is not something one spontaneously busts out doing while grocery shopping.

(Maybe I should have known better being 16 and all at the time. Just kidding. I was around 3 or so.)

Now this was a healthy lesson that probably applies in most social settings.

But things got complicated as I learned completely opposite social expectations from one circle to the next.

In one social circle, you have to respect your elders and your opinion is not valued at all. (That didn’t always stop me from talking, however.) In another social circle, people look at you weird if you don’t assert yourself and behave as an equal.

There are a host of other things, but that gives you an idea.

Up til I was about 11, every day in my house we ate rice, fish, curry and  vegetables for dinner. (Really, I don’t know if this is true, but it’s my perception.) I wondered what other people ate for dinner. There were a lot of things about my life that I felt were different, but because I never lived someone else’s life, to this day I have trouble knowing what is normal for everyone or what was just done in my house.

Because of this, my inclination upon entering a new social group has always been to observe, learn what’s normal and fit in while still trying to be myself as much as I perceived was permissible. But in some instances (OK, many?) I am overly cautious and hold back more than I should.

Surely that’s not unique to me, though.

Just emptying my bucket of thoughts…

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