Just be yourself. This saying or mantra or string of words has been bouncing around in my head for awhile now. Just be you. But what does that even me if you don’t exactly know who you are? I’ve always been envious of people who have a strong sense of self, who know who they are and what they like and dislike and who know the direction they want their life to take. We all know those people who have such a strong sense of self that it makes you question and wonder about yourself. To be honest, I’ve never really known who I was and I’ve always felt like an outsider, like I’ve never really fit in with anyone or anything. I’ve always been the ugly ducking or weirdo sort of bouncing on the perimeter of belonging and knowing thy self. I’ve had moments where I felt I was on the verge of figuring this complicated being known as myself out, but with no such luck or success. I’ve spent years trying to fit in and I did so by assimilating, by observing the people around me and becoming these people. I’ve been everybody else except myself. I believed that by becoming these other people I would somehow magically, like a poof of pink smoke, discover who I was and life would be dandy. Of course, we all know that life doesn’t work like that and it takes work, time and an ounce or two of patience to figure it (or you) out.
I remember back in high school, I was so desperate to fit in and to be liked that I became this entirely different person and in the process, lost who I was (to an extent). When I tell people about my experience in high school they all tell me, well that is what being in high school is like. But is it really? I remember one day coming home, it was a rough day and I had been picked apart by a couple of mean girls and guys and I told myself, no more. It was that day that I started to change myself to become like the “pretty” girls. I grew out my hair, started straightening it like the others girls, I started to wear my makeup the same way and my “sense of style” was identical to all the girls around me. I was literally a high school robot, going through the motions just to fit in. The same thing happened in college, I was desperate to fit in so I would watch (not in a creepy way, hopefully) the “cool” girls and try to be like them in hopes that maybe I would finally find my place. Obviously neither were successful. Now, looking back at those experiences and memories I constantly ask myself why? I always believed that I had this strong sense of self and it was until recently that I realized that that “strong sense of self” wasn’t real. It was and has always been tied to me wanting to be someone else instead of taking the time to get to know myself. I think deep down I’m scared to be myself, to get to know myself because what if that girl is strange and unconventional, what if it isolates me even more and I never truly find my place in this world. I think that is what we all fear, always feeling alone and like we never belong, which is why we become other people. I don’t know how many girls I see who try to be like the Kardashians or like the supermodels of this generation. It saddens me to see so many lost souls who are so afraid to be themselves that they try to be other people instead of just embracing themselves and their weird quirks (that sadness extends to myself as well). When I finally realized the fear that I had been hiding deep inside my subconscious (because I didn’t want to deal with it) that is when I slowly started opening up to the idea of just saying, fuck it, I’m going to be me. So I cut off my hair.
I used to judge people who had unconventional hair, whether it be shaved or dyed some unique and bright colour. I used to judge mostly out of jealousy because I always wished and hoped I would have the balls to do something so risky because that would mean I knew who I was and I was secure enough in that knowledge to do something like that. For me, hair is always the measure of someone’s security and acceptance of themselves. I know you are being you and no one else when you are fearless with your hair. It’s weird but it’s true. When I started my road to self-discovery (excuse the cheesiness), the first thing I knew I had to do was cut off my hair. I had been so attached to it and defined myself by it because it was the one thing that made me “fit” in. So I sniped it all off and it was the most liberating thing I could have ever done. That was the first step to figuring out who I was. I felt comfortable, at ease and dare I say it, confident with short hair. It was me. My long hair was hiding my face and hiding who I really was. Who cares if no one else has short hair, it’s me and that is all that is important. Since that moment, I have spent time getting to know and understand what I really like and isn’t influenced by some outside source. I am no longer ashamed of wearing glasses and having a big nose (most of the time, I still have insecure moments but that’s called being human). Those aspects are me and are what make me unique. I’ve discovered that I love books and I love to read. I’ve rediscovered my passion for writing and sharing stories. I’ve embraced my feminine side and now allow myself to show it. I used to be afraid to be feminine for whatever reason, I guess I didn’t want to look silly in a dress and brightly coloured lipstick. I know these things may seem small and insignificant but for me they are the small stepping stones to finding myself. There is still a long road ahead of me but I am slowly figuring out and understanding the power of just being yourself.
There is a power in embracing your quirks and weirdness, it makes you confident and genuine. It allows you to make real connections with yourself and with the important people in your life. There are days when I still feel like an outsider but the more I get to know myself the more I feel like I belong. Part of the reason why I wanted to start this blog was to create a community of people who may or may not know who they are but have a place to go where they can read and share their story and feel like they belong. I wanted to create a place where weirdness is embraced and accepted. I wanted everyone to feel like they can be themselves and belong to something. I hope one day we can live in a world where being yourself is the norm with no judgments, I feel like we have made progress in that direction but there is so much more to be done. If I can contribute by being myself and being okay with it and embracing and accepting others sans judgment then that may be a tiny step forward towards that goal. If you take anything from this post, take this, just be yourself (even if you don’t know who that is yet, do something that makes you feel good in your skin and makes you feel like you) because you are amazing and beautiful and enough. You don’t need to be anybody else but yourself, life is too short for that. And if you feel like you won’t belong or are too weird, just say fuck it and do it anyway.
Much love and weirdness,
PS: Thank you for all the support and kindness after my last post. It means the world to have been able to share part of my story with you all.