I’m doing a whole bunch of thinking about myself lately, so expect more of this kind of blogs. I try to keep away from sharing personal reflections in my blog, but to hell with it all now; I’ll write about whatever I want and whatever needs to be said. This particular matter is about what exactly “be yourself, be you” (sometimes “Girrrl, be you, do you!” I like both, whatevz) actually mean.
Everyone tells us to be ourselves. (Hell, even this patriarchal society that’s the bane of us women tells us to be yourselves – but then it goes around and says, “No, not that way.”) But for once, I’m not going to talk about the shitty lies that society tells us (women) about how to be and how not to be. I’m talking about when our closest friends, our loving family members, our mentors advise us kindly not to worry about what everyone else thinks and says but to just be ourselves and just be happy with who we are.
The thing is, not all of us (if any of us ever, really!) know who exactly we are, how to be us, how to “do” us. We don’t always know ourselves, so how do we BE us, how do we DO us? The good news is, y’all, it’s totally all right to not know yourself or to not know how to be yourself. Some of us will eventually figure out who we really are and how exactly to be ourselves, and others might never figure it out. Both cases are all right, because the ultimate thing is YOUR comfort, YOUR own happiness with yourself, YOUR own sense of empowerment. To get to that point inf our lives (I’m personally not there yet, I don’t think), we may have to be “someone else” in the process, we may have to be like someone else. How else do you learn who you are and what you want if you don’t make mistakes on the way, if you don’t go through self-reflective modes that challenge you and make you wonder if that’s really you?
On a similar note, it’s not easy to love ourselves. We go through this shit called life, we make serious mistakes (I don’t believe in mistakes, though; I believe in lessons learned from experiences and choices that we would not want to repeat as we mature and wisen up), and those bad experiences and choices make us hate ourselves. I’m learning that even that is all right. You can’t learn to love yourself until you’ve seen why it is important to love yourself because you’ve seen what hating yourself does to you. Hating yourself destroys you, and since self-destruction (or even destroying other people and things) isn’t healthy, you can’t help but direct yourself to self-love.
The point is, it’s totally all right to be confused about who you are or to not know who you are and thus not know how to be yourself. Allow yourself to be confused. Allow yourself to question yourself. Allow yourself to wonder who and what you really are and whether something you’re doing is really something that “you” would actually do or whether you actually want to do it. Experiment! Experiment with different beings, different personalities to learn which one(s) empower you the most, which one(s) you’re happiest in. It’s also perfectly all right to change into several personalities and modes of yourself to figure this out if you want to figure yourself out.
None of what I’m saying is to give anyone permission for anything, of course, or to validate anyone else’s feelings or experiences and choices. But it’s something that needs to be said out loud because I think many of us could use the reminder that it’s okay to be lost and confused, to not know who exactly we are and so the whole “be yourself” is useless to some of us sometimes because we haven’t quite figured out how to be ourselves. The whole “be yourself” isn’t at all something wrong and unnecessary or useless, though, don’t get me wrong. It’s just terribly confusing for those of us who’re still trying to figure our own selves out. But the advice itself is good and it needs to stay that way. But without the whole “no, not that way” piece of shit.
Also, death to patriarchy.