Why is perception important?
When your perception is so tightly fit that you start to wear skinny jeans so your bottom and brain match, you need to stop. Observe, watch, think, reproduce, repeat. Society and conformity are not necessarily your enemy, rather a line that you don't wish to cross out of the fear you'll be something you're not. Being yourself isn't bad, but putting up an act will keep you alive.
When I was a kid, I'd lie to my parents like what I did would get me killed. I was elegant with words. When I figured out I could add humility to make a lie more believable, there was no stopping me. If I did anything remotely bad I'd lie my way out of it. It wasn't so easy with my parents as they knew the charade and weren't so blindly willing to follow the tall tales, but society; society was so stupid that I could tell them four different things that contradict eachother and say they're all true, and they'd still believe me.
Naturally this sinful talent grew and I learned that using it to steal from the cookie jar, wasnt such a great way to spend my life. So I began to use it to learn about society. I felt at first like I was watching an animal in a cage, I could poke it with a stick and watch it bare it's teeth, or I could give it a biscuit and it would curl up and take a nap. An animal in a cage is most likely never going to like it's captor, and once this was apparent, I tried to find ways to make society LIKE me. Now this requires a little bit of tricky lying and tons of watching.
I began watching cliques. Seeing their quirks: what makes them laugh? What do they like? What do they hate? Who do they associate with? Do they have secrets I need to know? Things of that nature. Once I had watched for about a year, I became somewhat of an info broker. Someone needed to know why DaQuan fought Reesse? I'm the guy. People want to know the teacher who caught Ashley screwing a big black guy in the parking lot? I'm the guy. You wanna know the homework for a class I don't have? I can point at 12 people willing to sell it to you. I could tell you anything.
This info of course is the first thing that allowed me to mingle with anybody. Second was my acting. Since I knew about all the norms for every clique, I also knew how to act around everyone. Want to hang around in the ghetto? Play it chill, if they got beef keep it chill, but also smooth. Want to hang with the jocks? Push a couple freshman around, but don't brutally antagonize them (over-hazing is a turnoff for jocks). Want the popular girls to tell you a few secrets? Ha! They'd sell you their virginity for 62 cents so I could come up with about 62 ways for that. It's all really simple, but best of all: it's fun.
Just imagine, you're in tenth grade and you can already make all of the seniors want to kill eachother (play it innocent and dish out some vital info to both sides). Sure that life was great, but it's how I went from being a nerd in middle school, to a villain masqueraded as your best friend that makes me chuckle.
So if anyone needs any advice? Learn to act, analyze, and reproduce. Because society is not an enemy, it's a toy.