I know that you gave up on matching socks years ago, but as I was tidying up a very messy room today I thought about this principle and the socks seemed a good analogy for it.
Matching socks are about conformity. About agreement with a social norm. Socks are sold in matching pairs, the idea being that we want two identical coverings on our feet. We never question that, and it has become accepted and expected practise.
Apart from when it isn’t. So many people actually don’t match their socks up each day, and they hide away their non matching socks under shoes or boots, and it’s only when for some reason those shoes come off that we see their non conformity and its often accompanied by a wave of shame felt by the non-matcher who is suddenly exposed.
That is all wrong.
For starters – matching socks don’t matter. They don’t change your life. They are just a thing. A neutral. They are a matter of personal preference and should never be a reason for a person to be judged.
Secondly, non matching socks do not need to be hidden. If you want to do something differently, come at it from a new angle, choose not to follow the well trodden path because it makes no sense to you, don’t feel that needs to be hidden away. It’s not anything to be ashamed of. It’s just a pair of socks.
The principle extends to so many things. You never read a book without reading the ending at approximately the end of chapter one. Admittedly Kindle has made that more of a challenge, but it’s just how you like to read. That’s ok. The fact that your book club ridiculed you for it, in jest, made you wonder if you were doing something really strange, but even if you are – does it matter? It works for you. It’s the right way.
So much of life feels like matching socks. We get uptight about things that really don’t matter. There was a time when you tried to get your children to dress in matching clothes so that they’d fit in and look like every other child ( and so that you’d look like a reasonable mother 😉 ). With the middle one you had to give that dream up almost as soon as she had opinions because she wanted colour and spots and stripes and odd socks and funny hats and it made her happy. You could see what was more important in life – and it wasn’t the matching socks.
You don’t need to fit the norm. Your children don’t need to fit the norm. There is no need for any of you to wear matching socks …… unless you want to.