Thursday, 29 June 2017

Be Yourself?

We often hear phrases, sayings thrown around like "they're just jealous", "be yourself- everybody else is taken", and "believe in yourself". For most of my life, I have dismissed all of these sorts of utterances as clich├ęs. Everybody says these things, and I think that most of us don't follow them. We don't believe in them. They're stupid, untrue, idyllic.

Lately I've begun to realize that they're not so wrong after all.

For years, for my whole life, I've been afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. I've been afraid that people will laugh at me when I tell them who my favourite musician is, what movies I've cried at, what I think of things. I think I've been hiding. I often resort to saying "I don't know" or "I don't mind" in situations where I know what I want, but feel I can't say it. Me being non-committal in this way can make me seem passive, disinterested, despite my intention of being open and inoffensive.

Yesterday, I decided to say "yes" when asked to hang out with a friend in the evening, instead of hesitating about the fact that I hadn't been given enough advance warning. Unintentionally, I said what I thought, I let myself be free in saying everything that I wanted to. I danced in the dark, because that's what I like to do. I didn't worry that my dance moves were sub par, like I normally do. I normally start dancing, and get progressively worse when I start to think about how bad I must be.

When I go on hikes, I'm always afraid I'll fall. I'm afraid when I have to climb, that I won't be able to. I'm afraid to ask questions, and so stutter when I raise my hand. I trip on hikes, and get scraped on climbs, only because I am afraid. Not because they're dangerous.

Yesterday, after I let myself free with someone new, someone who had seen a lot of me, but never, maybe, the full me, she grinned at me as we parted ways. She told me that she'd enjoyed herself, enjoyed my company in a way she had never before.

Usually I might be insulted, at first I was confused. I didn't understand her phrasing, and then it hit me; she had a good time because I being myself. I was not afraid to speak. I didn't make up fake, agreeable opinions. I wasn't loud, or boisterous, I was still myself in outlook and thought, only in a less guarded way.

I worry that I'm a boring person, so much that I perpetuate it to the point of truth, by not allowing myself opinions of my own, a fashion style of my own. I make myself boring by the thought that I might be. I'm probably not your average person, the things I like to do may seem stranger or unfamiliar, but people are always interested in that. It makes a much better impression on people when I tell them about how much I like writing, and when I whip out my DSLR in front of friends who I've never discussed photography with. A much better impression, than when I tell people "I don't have any hobbies" or "I like to look at the internet in my free time- no favourite YouTubers of course."

In short, I'm still learning how to be comfortable in myself, but all the evidence I've gathered over these soon 19 years is leading to the same answer: It is not stupid to be yourself, it is not stupid to encourage others to do the same. We are not going to live that long, not one of us. We may as well try to be happy.

Do you have any advice on being true to yourself, or any ancedotes you'd like to share? I would love to hear them.

Anna x

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Thank you for your words x