To be or not to be… yourself?
For quite some time humans have been speculating on the topic of authenticity. “Be Yourself” they say. Such a simple statement that has been digested in various ways by us all. I personally have struggled. Sounds pathetic? Perhaps it is. I don’t know. I do however have a hunch that its a hoax.
You see, when we are born we don’t know much. We learn as we grow. We get influenced by the people we are surrounded by so to an extent your beliefs are not your own. There are however somethings that are just naturally who we are.
I, for example, a female going through a quarter life crisis (or just a cluster fuck of rough patches) have struggled with this. I was brought up in a middle class family(we got broke when I entered my adolescent years). To an extent, I am privileged. One and a half parent christian house hold, a loving sibling, decent education and fair exposure. I’ve had my problems. Being bullied, getting raped, constant rejection from universities despite my good grades,living with psychopaths or narcissists (not sure which category they fall into). One thing about me that I did not necessarily learn from my surroundings is honesty. I am honest to a fault. Don’t get me wrong, I have told some lies to get out of trouble like calling in sick so I don’t go to work because I don’t feel like it. I also believe in accountability though that has not turned out well for me in life. But I have constantly struggled with being myself and fitting in.
I started reading self help books at the age of 16 because I always believed something is wrong with me. There must be a way to fit in. I liked the concept of being myself because it kind of sounded freeing. Seeing posts like “Your vibe attracts your tribe” (pssssshhhh) made me feel like maybe there are some people out there who get me. So I continued to “improve my character” *eye roll* so I can be a better person and attract awesome people. I did … a few … maybe two. But I just ended up in a lot of shitty situations. Bad friendships, shitty guys, dead end jobs, jealous relatives, you name it. Listen, I know humans are scum but I didn’t know they were that bad okay.
Because of all of these experiences (and a few more tough blows from 2019) I started to question my outlook on life. Should I be as honest as can be or just lie about everything? Should I care about people around me? Do I have to own up to shit? Should I be an asshole? Should I stop being myself? Am I too nice??
Then there it was. The last question. Am I too nice?
I did what any normal person would do. I Googled it. Fight me. Then I wondered, am I a good person? Then (you guessed it) I Googled the difference. Turns out my dumb ass couldn’t tell the difference all these years.
I realized that I was a people pleaser. I wanted people to like me so bad. In hindsight it’s disgusting. I believed in treating people well and being helpful but I guess I over did it. I broke my own boundaries for these people. I know, pathetic.
So I snapped. I decided to lay low. I stopped texting most people, posted less on social media, became less helpful (almost irresponsible) and indifferent. This was not a choice. It just happened.
I spent some months thinking about who I am, what I want, where I’m going and what I want to do with my life. I don’t have all the answers but I do have an idea about myself.
I have a bad side (obviously) that I probably never let shine enough during adolescent years. I should have beat some bitches up, honestly. I concealed it so much you’d think I was auditioning for Heaven’s Got Talent (bad joke, I know). I didn’t acknowledge that it has its place in my life. No I won’t go around hitting people but I should show them who not to fuck with.
My honesty is for me. People never liked that I am honest even if it benefited them. I couldn’t (and still don’t) understand why people claim they want honesty, be it in relationships, work, the media or whatever but fume at the slightest hint of it. Yes, the truth is hard. Even I can’t handle it at times but I try to be open to it. I also realized the truth is subjective. So if your classmate says you’re ugly, they’re probably not jealous. It’s just true… to them. Also people lie to themselves a lot more than you think.
I was naive. I thought my friends were my friends, adults were adults and family was family. I was wrong. I know now.
I need to respect my boundaries in order for other people to respect them. No exceptions or VIP passes to my personality.
I am still figuring out how to be myself especially in a world where you are heavily rewarded for being everything you are not. Where accountability is the enemy yet people ask for so much of it. Where every fake smile you give leads to a deposit in your account and every genuine smile leads to a knife in your back.