Not too long ago, a friend referred me to a book she’d read. This is what she said:
The writer makes me think of you.
It’s a woman who decides to go for it, in a big way; to be herself and the hell with anybody who doesn’t like it.
I have to admit, I hear some version of this more often than most people –have for my entire life– and, while I take it as high praise, it always puzzles me.
Here’s the truth: I can’t be anyone BUT myself.
As Popeye once said, I yam what I yam.
What surprises me, though, is that people remark on it as though it is unusual.
That part about “the hell with anybody who doesn’t like it” in real life isn’t quite as reckless as it sounds. I quite understand that people judge, we all judge, but I also get that we live in a world of chocolate or vanilla. Some people like chocolate, some like vanilla, and if someone doesn’t care for my flavor, well, it’s still all good, as far as I am concerned. I might wish it were different, but I wouldn’t send them to hell because of it.
I don’t feel particularly original, either.
Now that I see the words on the screen I realize that I DO feel original. We’re all original! I can think of each friend of mine and see the original beauty that s/he possesses.
M. and I have had some long discussions on the subject of “always be yourself” recently. We get that some people don’t feel they can be themselves for fear of disapproval, rejection, judgment and bigotry. These things are very real.
But by being ourselves, speaking our truths and letting others know that it’s perfectly ok to be who they are, we can begin to knock down those walls that prevent authenticity. We can model the idea that the world doesn’t come to an end if someone doesn’t like you.
As the saying goes, Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.