My sophomore year of college was a grand time, it was the during an early Indian summer in 2010. I was somewhat engaged in school at Western Michigan. I was working at a gym, enjoying my newfound friends, and focusing on me. During this focus, I often felt compelled to skip class and partake in an adventure. Most adventures just meant me, hang out with friends, getting into “college” shenanigans (insert whatever recreational activity you preferred on those days). One day, I wanted to get a tattoo. I had a few already, but wanted the words “I am me.” and “Be you.” tattooed on my ankles. My friend Katie and I skipped Intro to Sociology and walked down the hill to the on-campus tattoo and piercing parlor. That’s when I met Matt, my tattoo artist who has inspired me to cover my body in art (one day). But let’s get back to being you.
Who are you? You are a sum of your genetic composition, your childhood experiences, and your sociological paradigm. So, you are who you are because your DNA says you are. You have a certain physical essence that you will never really change…at least I hope you don’t change it too much because that’s kind of like losing yourself, and that stinks. You have the experiences that made you become the person you are today. Too much good can leave you naive, or close-minded, and too much bad can leave you pessimistic,or hurt. The way you interact, in your culture or community, help to shape who you are on a day to day basis as well. We all are who we are because of this combination of individual experiences that create ourself. We are forever changing beings who have the ability to shape their future, within reason, of course.
How often do you find yourself muting who you are to appease other people? How often to you find yourself not doing what you really should to do because of one excuse or another? How often do you accept the indecision making of you own mind? Do you even consider those things, or have you muted your own instinct to fit your sociological paradigm? I feel, as a young female, living in the United States, that I have found myself in those places often. Over the years, less often, as I’ve learned to be me. Our culture promotes individuality yet emphasizes generalizations and categoricalization of our “Self”s. You fit a demographic, and with this demographic, we market you certain goods to grow our economy. If you don’t agree, then well, I recommend taking a marketing class because that is in the books.
I don’t want to rant about the reasons we have become this way, I want to empower both you, the entire human population, and myself, to be who we are. As long as you’re a good one. Find your passion. Speak the truth. Accept the path and focus on the present. Appreciate the individuals in your life. Give back. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Don’t succumb to road rage, we’re all going somewhere, right? Wish the best onto those who upset you. Bring joy to those who bring joy to you. Smile. Say thank you. Pay it forward. Find and engross yourself in your passions. Be a lifelong student. Stretch. Support your local farmers. Laugh with children. Dance. Eat. Breathe deeply. Be grateful. Be you.