Tag Archives: choice

Unity, Uniformity, Unicycles, and Unicorns

Hey, friends! How were your collective weekends? Wonderful I hope! Want your Monday to get just a bit better?

Ok… this:


Thank you, beautiful Internet! Thank you, Google Image search! Thank you, unicorn on a unicycle (with a unibrow) for being so very, very awesome!

Not really the point though. Just awesome.

The real point is unity. And I’d like to juxtapose it with uniformity.

I started thinking on this line of thought at church this weekend. The priest was trying to make a similar distinction during his homily. To be perfectly honest with you, I wasn’t really buying what he was selling. So I re-wrote it in my head and now I’m bringing it to you– get ready for church, y’all!

(Oh man, I sound like I have a total God complex or something now.)

So here’s my homily.

I’d never really thought about the difference between unity and uniformity. They both mean same-same, right? (That’s what my friend Emily used to say when she was real little, we’d look for ways we were same-same. And it reminds me of the movie Return to Me when David Duchovny’s super lame date says “green green, matchy matchy!!”)

Except now that I think about it, it’s same-same, but in a different-different sort of way.

Uniformity is the jeans from the Limited Too (omg, do you remember that awful, awful store) I wanted so very, very desperately to fit into so that I’d be like the other girls in my grade. Unity are the girls who didn’t care whether I fit into them or not.

Uniformity is getting just enough wrong to still get an A, but not an A+ (of course Rachel Vonck got an A-plus!) or an A- (oh my gooooosh, Rachel Vonck got an A-minus?!) to try to avoid being made fun of. Unity is having an AP Biology study group made up of people exactly. like. you. A-pluses all around!!

Uniformity is going through the motions and trying to get ahead. Unity is blazing trails for yourself and others.

Uniformity is doing anything and everything you can to fit the mold. Unity is recognizing and embracing the ways in which you stand out.

Uniformity is what governs the Mean Girls world of middle school. Unity is what probably should.

Fortunately, when you get over the need for uniformity at all costs, unity kind of comes naturally. And it feels oh so very, very much better.

The priest basically said that uniformity is rote, unity is choice. I can kind of see that, but I also kind of disagree. Because I think they’re both choices. Uniformity is the choice to squeeze into awful and tiny pants because the label is right, to not perform to your full potential because you are afraid to be teased. It’s about what’s on the outside, instead of what’s on the inside.

Unity is about what’s on the inside. On the inside, I’m a unicorn with a unibrow riding a unicycle. I’m a t-rex eating a t-bone in a tent. I’m a muggle practicing magic against the Ministry’s wishes. I’m an a-hole whose too fond of alliteration to accept that this has gone too far…

Wishing you a happy, happy Monday! (Unless you had the day off– then I’m jealous and I hope your day was merely happy.)

My Smile, My Choice

I’ve been working on this post for kind of a while, but have been struggling at keeping it from turning into an angry rant. You see, I recently pinned a little saying on Pinterest that I think is so important and I have embraced it as something of a blog motto– a blotto.

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.
{The Art of Simple}

Buuuuutttt… I kind of want to talk about something that SUPER bugs me. So what’s a girl to do? Flip it, that’s what!  I did it when I talked about the 23 things a while back. And I’m going to do it again here. Get ready for this masterpiece!

When I smile, my whole entire face kind of goes with it and it always has.  When I was in high school, a friend once said, “Can you even see when you smile?”  The answer: not always.  My eyes get tiny when my cheeks go up, I can’t help it.

Smiling Eyes
Eyes… So… Tiny…

On me, not smiling when I’m happy just doesn’t look natural (seriously, I have wedding pictures to prove it).

Not smiling on my wedding day? Practically impossible.

But smiling when I’m not happy?  Don’t make me go there.

My smile is mine to give away when I please and I firmly believe that I am under no obligation to anyone to provide a smile on command.  If I’m not feeling it, I don’t have to do it.  And when people tell me to “smile” it annoys the pants off of me.

Don’t tell me to do it– give me something worth smiling about!  Then we’ll talk.  Or maybe we won’t, maybe I’ll just beam at you and we’ll call it good.

Either way, I think that the smile command has roots in the good girl, the pretty girl, the happy, compliant, silent girl.  And all of that is probably the reason for my general disdain.

A while ago, one of my coworkers was patted on the head and asked to be good (not literally, of course, but that was definitely the point) because of my “bad” behavior in the past .  I can’t help but think that if I had I been a man and behaved the way I did or had my coworker been a man attending the meeting after me, the message would have been very different… or perhaps not been conveyed at all.  She didn’t need to be told to be good or that I had acted badly. Instead, my actions should have been viewed as a product of an unfortunate situation– one that, if not repeated, would give no reason for anyone else to behave similarly.

Again: change the situation if you want a different outcome, don’t just offer up a meaningless command.

Asking our girls to smile for us is, in my mind, akin to asking my coworker to be a good girl as an adult.  That’s not really ok.  Because why would you ever want someone to be disingenuous?

Little girls need to know that it’s ok to express their feelings, even if not verbally, then at least on their own dang face. If we note a frown, perhaps we should be asking why. From there, perhaps we could work together on a solution, or maybe just offer a little bit of support.* But what good does telling someone to smile do except to suggest that whatever has caused them not to smile is somehow invalid?

So I guess what I’m promoting (because I’m promoting, not bashing, remember?) is this: the right of women everywhere to express their emotions on their face. If they’re happy, smiles are welcome! If they’re not, no one has any right to expect it, let alone ask for it. So who cares if you have “b****y resting face” as the kids are calling it these days– your face is your face, and I’m sure it’s lovely regardless.

And as Roald Dahl says: If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

Perhaps we need more good thoughts of which to think!


*Or you could try a really awesome joke. Here’s one of my favorites, my sister (the blood-related one, Sister Engineer) made this one up all by herself:

What did the robot say when I asked it to clean my room?

I don’t know, what?


Good one, Ab. Pure gold 😉

Or if that doesn’t work– consider a little song, like this one my little brother made up (to the tune of You Are My Sunshine):

You are my dinosaur, my only dinosaur

You make me happy when skies are PURPLE

You’ll never know, dinosaur, how much I love you, dinosaur

So please don’t take my dinosaur away!

They both make me smile, anyway! (Literally smiling right now! And with good reason!)