I will always be myself. I will never apologize for that.
I remember being a sensitive child growing up - not so much for my own feelings as for others’. I was careful about things I said that might upset or hurt someone else. I avoided confrontations at all costs and for the most part, turned the other cheek. I was peaceful in nature and kind to everyone, regardless of who they were or how they treated me in return. I was never a pushover though, but I picked my battles. I was generally pretty laid-back and agreeable on the outside.
But on the inside, I was tormented when I wanted to say so much but showed restraint.
Looking back, I guess you could say this was a self-preservation technique to get through the woes and drama of middle and high school. Although I will admit I became bolder and more outspoken as the years went on, it was rare that I'd lose my cool. I rarely became angry when people were mean to me. I forgave those who hurt me and I held no grudges. I was a fierce friend and I surrounded myself with positivity. I may have been voted 'friendliest' in the yearbook, but everyone knew I wasn't one to stay quiet if my buttons were pressed...and this usually happened when I witnessed silence in the face of injustice.
I hate apathy with a burning passion. More than anything.
As I got older, I realized two things start to change in me: I valued closer, authentic friendships, and I developed a stronger sense of self in the context of society. I learned what I supported, what I tolerated, and what I absolutely despised in the world. I developed strong opinions and a passion for things that matter, and this is part of my personality today. I became more vocal about issues that bothered me, and my real friends loved me just the same. I started seeing people's true colors when I spoke my mind and stood up for what was right. Unfortunately, they weren't always pretty. That didn't change a single thing, though.
Because I'm not here to please anyone. For that, I will never apologize.
I don't care who you are - I have my own beliefs and values. I'm not sorry that I won't change who I am to suit your standard.
I'm not sorry that my world/political views are different than yours.
I'm not sorry that I don't think the way you do.
I'm not sorry that I don't meet your expectations.
I'm not sorry that I'm different from what you're used to.
I'm not sorry if you think any less of me because I refuse to be anyone else but myself.
I'm not sorry we aren't as close as we used to be - or maybe no longer even friends - because I am who I am.
I'm not sorry I don't live to please you.
At least I can say I never pretended to be someone I'm not to conform to your vision of the way people should be.
I was raised unconventionally, in a family some might think of as a little odd compared to what is socially "acceptable" nowadays. We were basically nomads, my parents were hippies, and my brother and I grew up seeing the world in a completely different way. I wouldn't change a thing about it, and I wouldn't want to be anybody else. I certainly don't judge anyone for the kind of life they've lived, and I think our differences are what make humankind beautiful.
I know I'm different than a lot of people where Adam grew up, for example. When we watched Beauty and the Beast, my husband and I turned to each other and at the same time said that I'm just like Belle! I'm different! I don't fit in! I don't belong! And that's okay. Because frankly, I don't want to. I know I'm probably seen as weird to many people, and that's understandable, because I'm foreign to their idea of what is "normal". I don't agree with most of their opinions and political views. I have different goals and dreams. I'm loud, outspoken, and lil' sassy. I think, talk, and do things that some of them would consider unordinary. And so what?! I don't want to be normal and predictable. It's boring.
I'm literally the complete opposite of some people, and that's okay. I still have love in my heart for them, and respect them the way that they are.
I wish I could say it was mutual, though. Not really, not always. Instead I've been mocked for standing up for human rights at a peaceful march. When I've spoken out against social issues, I've been told to sit down, shut up, and give up. When I've denounced hatred, racism, xenophobia, and intolerance, I've been made to feel like an incompetent tree-hugging hippie. When I've expected common sense gun control, I've been made to feel that my voice - and my right to question and oppose issues that concern me - doesn't matter. My compassion for refugees is mistaken for weakness. I've been dismissed by people and met with their condescending intolerance, disinterest and contempt. It's been implied that I'm just an overly-emotional woman (would I be more appealing to you if I stuck to making sandwiches in the kitchen?) who cares too much about too many things. Well, c'est la vie. Think whatever you want, but please, don't patronize me. I'm a big girl.
If you feel you're one of those people, this post is probably for you. This is me telling you I won't apologize for being who I am. In fact, you made me who I am, so thank you for that. This is me telling you we can still be friends - as long as you respect me (because God knows I've put up with you). This is me telling you I won't miss you if you decide you don't want to, though. I'll still love you, but from afar. And if you're still my friend despite our differences, you're a rockstar and thanks for everything.
Because I'll always be, unapologetically, me -
take it or leave it.
"Be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Did this post resonate with you? Can you relate? Let me know in the comments below!
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