Do you know Gavin Degraw? He is a musician, a really good one. You probably know him best or were introduced to him through the theme song of One Tree Hill. The song that I am talking about is I don’t want to be.
I was listening to that song recently and I was just thinking on the lyrics and I think the song talks about something that everyone can relate to.
I mean we all want to be ourselves. I feel like the most inner conflict we experience in life is when we try to be someone that we are not or when people try to make us into someone that we are not.
Now I’m not including anything bad in this like, ooh I feel it in my bones to be evil and commit horrible crimes… err nope. But more just basic things. Honestly it’s so basic and yet you’d be surprised how many people aren’t themselves.
I’ll use myself as an example. I’m a little weird and I have very distinct tastes. I know how I like to dress and all that. I like accessories and colour, and earrings. Those are all pretty simple things; it’s not that hard to be myself right? Wrong!
I grew up in strict-ish households and so I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced or to wear nail polish or to dress a certain way. However I was the kind of kid who rebelled so I painted my nails anyway, and I dressed how I wanted within reason and I wore jewellery, another thing I wasn’t allowed but I like colourful bracelets and rings.
Now the way I wanted to dress wasn’t scandalous or anything but just not what my mom liked. So we’d clash over skirts or dresses, and I was also a tom boy but I never got push back from my mom for being a tom boy, I got that from society. It’s so weird. I kind of sit in the middle. I can be girly but I also can be a bit of a tom boy. Anyway my mom and I came up with a compromise and society… hmm society is something that took longer to deal with.
I would get so worried about what people thought of me and how I dressed or my personality or the music that I like or the fact that I’m a huge blerd (black nerd) and very proud of being African. I had a good reason to be worried because I was bullied about those things or people would judge me based on those things. However as I got older I realised I liked that I was different and I liked myself. I also cared less about what other people thought because in the bible it talks about how people shouldn’t judge and how people should look at their own lives before looking at someone else’s and it’s true! So when I realised that I was like, “I will just be me and if people don’t like it they don’t have to be my friend or deal with me at all.”
My life got so much easier after that. I thought I was the only person who dealt with this (ha ha) but then my friend was talking to me recently and she made a choice that might seem like nothing to others but I knew was a big deal to her. I asked her why she did it and she was like, “I just want to be me.” And it really struck a chord with me, wow; another person just wants to be themselves!
I feel we all struggle with this. It may be your parents, your community, your church community, your friends or your significant other that is putting you into a box or is making you into the person they want you to be. But you know what, life is short and who has time to live someone else’s dream? Who has time to live life according to someone else’s map?
Yes, humans have a lot of things in common but we’re still individuals. We still have things that make us unique and we should embrace them. What works for others may not work for you so live your life according to your map!
And as always be kind to one another; treat others how you would like to be treated (from bible verses). Now that I know what it feels like I try not to push my ideals onto others. I try not to mould other people into me. I try not to judge. I also try to be kind and respectful wherever I go.
Life is hard enough, and I feel it’s even harder when you’re being someone other than yourself.
One last example: I was in a relationship and it has since finished. The biggest problem of that relationship was that we weren’t being ourselves. We kept trying to fit the other person’s ideals and we became people we weren’t supposed to be. When we broke up and stopped… omd it was freeing. I still had crap to deal with from other areas of my life but suddenly it felt a little easier.
So yeah, be yourself. I hope this post helps someone.
Also listen to Gavin Degraw!