I feel like the title of this post is pretty self explanatory and so is the subject matter, but I wanted to talk about it anyway. As I’ve grown older and times are changing, being different is something that is very much celebrated and embraced now as opposed to being something that makes you a ‘social outcast’.
When you’re in school, the only thing you want to do is fit in. God forbid if you were to ever stand out from the crowd because we all know how that would go down. We wanted to fit in and be like everyone else – the popular kids, the pretty girls, you name it. Anything that was acceptable (most of the time it was being an asshole that looked down on everyone else) we wanted to be.
And then you leave school and you think…what the hell for?
I feel like once you leave school and education in general, you realise that in the real world where real things happen, popularity doesn’t matter, in fact, it doesn’t even exist really, it’s just a social construct. The moment I left school I felt free almost, like I could breathe, like okay, now I actually get to figure out who I am instead of shaping myself to be something other people will like. Of course, it took me a good while to shake off the conditioning of being in the school system for 16 years, but it started to wear off eventually. I’m 20 now and I’m still learning – I don’t think I’ll ever stop.
Anything about myself or my life nowadays that I look at and think…that’s a bit weird– I quickly dismiss and replace with the thought of “well, that’s different actually” and realise that it’s what makes me unique as an individual. How many other people do I know that do that? For example, if I fancy staying in on a Saturday night (aka most of the time because I’m a homebody) and drawing and reading instead of going out and doing the ‘normal’ things other people my age would do, I could look at myself as being a weirdo, basically, but I could also look at it and realise that it’s not weird at all, it’s just what works for me personally. It’s personally the thing I prefer to do, because that’s just who I am and there’s nothing wrong with that – it makes me different, it makes me an individual. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing what everyone else is doing if it’s what you genuinely want to do as oppose to doing it because you want to fit in, but if you are doing it for the latter reason then there is a problem with it because it’s not you – you’re not being true to yourself.
You cannot suppress who you are, if you like girls then you like girls, if you like boys then you like boys, you may prefer having a shaven head over long locks or you may prefer to wear black lipstick over red, you may prefer catching the bus instead of driving to places or you may prefer drinking hot chocolate instead of alcohol, you may prefer reading instead of partying and guess what? That’s okay! They’re the things that make you who you are and without them you’d be somebody else. I’ve spoken about it before in this post but I used to basically beat myself up over the fact that sometimes it felt like I’d prefer different things over everybody else – like wanting to stay in and read rather than going out sometimes and I’d be like Chloe…that’s no cool. No one does that. No one chooses to stay in and read on a Friday night over going out.
And then I learned to love myself.
The next time that scenario came up, instead of filling my head with negative thoughts of “you’re such a weirdo, that’s so uncool, why are you like this” I embraced it and thought about the fact that here I was on a Friday night with my windows open looking at the moon, playing my music and reading my favourite books. I romanticised it and saw it for exactly what it was, and I thought about myself sitting there and thinking actually, I like this. I like being the one to do this and choose this over something else, because it’s what suits me. It’s what works, I’m being true to myself.
If someone else told me that they preferred to stay in and read rather than go out sometimes I wouldn’t even bat an eyelid, judgement would never even cross my mind because I don’t see anything wrong with it and I’d be like yeah, you do you! So why can I not have that same mindset for myself? Why is it that when I’m the person in that scenario, judgement is the only thing that crosses my mind? And that’s when I realise that self love is a lot easier said than done, it’s like I can accept everyone else for who and what they are but when it comes to myself? There’s a problem.
Like I said, I’m still learning. I’m embracing the fact that everyone is different including myself and that it’s okay to be exactly who and what we are. I write a lot and I romanticise everything and I write poetry and press flowers and read books and research feminism and live in a little dream world but I also wear a nose ring and am in the process of covering myself in tattoos and most of my shoes are platform boots and “skull crushers” as my dear mother likes to call them but I also have long hair and wear hair extensions sometimes to give the illusion of having even more hair and I wear silver skull rings but I also wear Tiffany rings and my favourite place is Disneyland and sometimes I like to bronze and highlight my entire face but I also wear black winged eyeliner and I listen to Paramore but I also listen to Elvis on vinyl and sometimes I want to wear long skirts and off the shoulder tops and other times I want to wear band t-shirts and denim jackets and you know what??? It’s all okay !!! It’s all okay. It’s what makes me who I am and I love that. I embrace that.
I write letters to people and I run a blog and I enjoy being by myself and I walk around bookstores and go for long drives and spend hours at my grandparent’s house on Friday nights after I finish work and you know what? I like that. I’m not gonna keep beating myself up over not being as ‘cool’ as the girl on Instagram that shops at Pretty Little Thing and has thousands of followers and promotes fake tan and has a boyfriend with a flashy car. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but it’s not me. I can’t compare myself to people who are nothing like me and then beat myself up for not living the same life they do, I can’t compare myself to anyone because no two people are the same and I have to embrace the fact that I am who I am and I can’t suppress that. I have to be true to myself.
“I must write, or I shall die of grief”.
All my love,
p.s. – think of dogs – they’re the best things ever, right? we don’t pit them against each other or say that one is worth less than the other because it’s bigger or has floppier ears or a shorter tail than the others, they’re all angels in their own little way and we conditionally love them for it regardless. we are dogs (!!!)