It's OK To Be Me
SELF PORTRAIT SERIES 2/52
Remember in elementary school, on the first day of the year, how the teacher always told everyone to circle up for the 'Get to Know You Game'? “Okay kids, tell us your name and your favorite color,” they said. Then, as each boy said blue and each girl said pink, you wondered if saying orange or black or any other color would make you look weird, so you said pink too. Or maybe, as an adult, you've felt pressured to say you didn’t like a certain movie or political stance? We've all been there. We have all felt pressure to be like someone else, to fit in, to be liked and accepted.
Let me start off by saying, I like who I am. I change my mind a lot, I learn new things and I think differently at times, but I like the changes that come. I am becoming more and more myself as time goes on. Maybe that's why older people don’t care so much about what others think and just do whatever the heck they want.
This week, I wanted to share an example of something I've recently accepted about myself: I don’t like the sun. As we know from last week, I hate the heat, but I also don’t really love the sun either. Every time it’s a sunny day, without a cloud in the sky, my heart sinks a little. I like clouds and shade and wind and moody weather.
My mom always told me that I could swim for hours and hours while she and my sister would lay out, basking in the sun. I couldn't stand laying out. Maybe it was because I wasn’t comfortable in my body and hiding in the water felt better, or that I hate the heat, or that I look like a lobster after 20 minutes in the sun, or that I really do love swimming. Whatever the reason, staying in the pool was way better that lying in the hot sun all afternoon. I still don’t know how people can do it. I'm a sweaty, red, ornery mess.
Coming to Terms
Now let me tell you, disliking the sun is not a popular opinion. I don’t share it often, because every time I do, someone gawks at me or makes a comment that reprimands me. For a long time, I truly believed that everyone loved the sun but me. It was one of those things that made me feel like an outsider. And as much as I try, I just don’t enjoy being in the sun. I know it might sound like a silly thing but I literally just gave myself permission, this year, to be okay with that. Have I thought for 36 years that I was broken? Yes. Have I tried to love the sun? Yes. Has it worked? No. Am I okay with not liking the sun? Finally!
There are two lessons that I've learned here:
- It’s okay to be you. It’s okay to be different - that is what makes you, you.
- It’s okay for other people to be different than you. That is what makes them, them.
I can't help but wonder what other things in my life I have suppressed? What other things have I not accepted about myself and why? What am I doing to become the best version of myself? Is there something I like or don’t like just because of other people? What do I accept or reject in my life that helps me find greater happiness and self acceptance? These are the questions I ponder over, and the deeper I dig the more free I feel.
Now I wanna hear from you. What are your unpopular opinions? What parts of yourself have you hidden away to fit in? What things have you tried to convince yourself you enjoyed because you believed you should? Have you come to terms with your authentic self yet? I want to know it all!