This morning, while trying to pay attention in class (which, let me tell you, is significantly more difficult at 8:30am on a Saturday), my best friend texted me “I need your help.” Knowing her, she could’ve needed anything from a sweater from my closet or a ride to the emergency room. Today, she needed help analyzing a conversation between her and a boy she likes. Since I’m an expert on this subject, I happily obliged.
And the theme of my overall journey is something that I’ve been trying my hardest to live by as of late, and that is: do your own thing. In my mind, this is always accompanied by a lyric from one of my favorite middle school songs: who you are is not up to them. Although I don’t have a clue who the word “them” was supposed to be directed toward for the purpose of Cute Is What We Aim For’s lyric, but for me, it is directed toward society as a whole.
It can take a lot of courage to do your own thing and remind yourself that who you are is not for the rest of your friends, your classmates, your family, or society to decide. The norms that we are forced to live by everyday are instilled in us from a very young age, and we don’t have a say in any of that. Now, I’m not suggesting that drastic societal changes are necessary in order for people to live by their true identity; I’m only suggesting the notion that who we want to be is a choice.
Even though we don’t feel that our actions and choices are entirely our own sometimes, we need to remind ourselves of one simple thing: who we are is not up to them.