A rebel isn’t someone covered in tattoos and piercings, or someone who wears outrageous clothes to make a statement. Nor is it someone who says scandalous things for shock value, or does drugs to prove a point. There is a world of difference between being a rebel and acting like one, mostly because rebellion has no clear definition.
The rebel lifestyle is perceived as cool, but only the one living it knows that life is seldom cool for anyone who dares to walk down that path. Much is lost along the way, and freedom comes at a heavy price, which not everyone has the courage to shell out.
The loneliness of not fitting in
The frustration of not being understood
The alienation that comes with “not belonging”
The darkness of being lost
The pain of losing dear ones
The chaos of unsatiated curiosity
The bitter taste of truth
So you see, it goes way deeper than head banging to rock and roll, and screaming your lungs out at someone you don’t agree with. It demands that you toe your own line, no matter how twisted, convoluted and far away from the crowd it is. It demands grit because there’s no one to shoulder the blame. The roses are yours to keep, as are the thorns. Consider it a fair warning that there will be more thorns than roses, almost always.
The journey, however liberating, can be excruciatingly painful at times.
This road isn’t for the faint hearted. In fact, it isn’t a road at all. It is a wilderness with no guiding signs and no footprints to follow, because not many people have been there before you. Sure, there have been many rebels, but none of them have walked your path. You get lost, you get found, you seek, you find. There is no one to answer your questions, but there are millions who’ll question your choices. You don’t know where you are, or where you are heading; all you know is that you have to take that next step and find out for yourself.
Rebels are labeled a variety of things – insane, unbalanced, reckless, foolish, impractical – but they truly give two hoots about others’ opinions of them. Their strong sense of self can often be intimidating for people around, which is why a rebel usually doesn’t have too many friends. They walk a lonely path, but they’re okay with it because pleasing people was nowhere on their agenda anyway.
It is this steely conviction – in themselves and what they stand for – that keeps the rebel bashing on. All alone.
The only thing rebels fear is safety. Safety of numbers, safety of the known, safety of stability. They aren’t scared of disappointments, or of getting hurt. They plunge headlong into situations, knowing well they may crash. They do. Often. But sometimes, they grow wings on the way down and take a flight. Every rebel hungers for that flight, no matter how elusive or perilous it may be. Rebels don’t protect themselves – they stand naked, vulnerable to the world, allowing every experience to hit them with spellbinding intensity so that they can learn more, feel more, and grow more.
This is not to say that they are invincible or that they don’t make mistakes. They do – more severely and more often than others. They aren’t ones to learn from other people’s mistakes, or for that matter, even their own. Hell, they’ll even make the same mistake twice just to see how it goes the second time. They fail a lot and fall a lot, over and over again, but in that rare moment when they don’t, magic is discovered. The extraordinary happens. Something wonderful is created and the world becomes a slightly better place to live in.