November 2, 2015

Being Your Own Person: Why It's Hard and Why It's Important



In fifth grade, my teacher had us write in our journals every day. We could write anything we wanted - an original fairy tale, what we ate for dinner the night before, or even our thoughts on current events. My journal entry was almost always about dance considering I spent 85% of my time at the studio and it was my favorite thing in the whole world.

One day, this girl (we'll call her Sporty Girl since I think we are still Facebook friends) yelled out at me when I was sharing my journal entry with the class.

"You always write about dance! It's not even a real sport! No one cares!"

I was shocked and hurt as I held back tears. No one had ever called me out like that before. So what if I liked something she didn't? Why did she have to go and do something like that? I just didn't understand.

The best thing I could do as a sensitive ten-year-old was to cry to my mom after school about how Sporty Girl had been mean to me. I'm pretty sure she emailed her mother or something ridiculous like that, but hey, it was fifth grade.

I never wrote about dance in my journal again. I was unhappy every time I opened my spiral notebook and had to half-heartedly fill three quarters of a page with a story about how I rode my bike after school and then helped my mom make cookies. Why did it matter that I was different than one of my classmates? Can't I still be proud of something like my dancing?

These questions didn't get answered for a while. In high school....well, it was high school. You either fought to blend in or fought to stand out. I think I spent some time doing both, to be honest. However, I don't think I was ever truly happy until I did my own thing. And not just "did my own thing", but was unapologetic about it.

Now, running around your campus and hitting people with water balloons because you're "doing your own thing" is still not ok. When I speak of BYOP (my new acronym for Being Your Own Person), I'm speaking more along the lines of hanging out with the people you like and participating in activities you enjoy without caring whether it's "trendy" or "popular".

Just a short list of examples of how I try to B(My)OP before we move on to the meat of this post... (what? All this rambling wasn't the meat?! Oy.)


  • I freaking LOVE oldies music. I will jam to Billy Joel and the Beatles shamelessly. ("Sing us a song you're the piano man, sing us a song tonight.")
  • I don't have an excessive amount of clothes because I think buying something just because you've seen several girls wearing them on Instagram is a little pointless. I'm not spending $150 on a bikini so I can get a lot of likes on a picture.
  • Zumba is my everything. You may hate Zumba or think it's weird, but I will be there every Monday and Wednesday night. In the front row. Slaying.
  • I eat healthy because I love healthy food. I would rather have chicken and brussels sprouts than pizza. This bewilders many.
  • I like to be organized. Not in a stressed-out, obsessive way; it is fun for me. When I'm on the phone and someone gives me a date to write down, my heart feels warm and fuzzy as I grab my colored pens. I'm a freak, but at least I'm hella organized. 



So here's the meat ladies and gents...

Why it's hard

People aren't always the nicest
Sporty Girl could have kept that comment to herself, but things like this happen. Just because some of us aren't in grade school anymore doesn't mean we can't get picked on for being different/our own person. It may not be in the form of mean words spit across the sharing circle, but someone could just simply say something that hurts your feelings or make it a point not to hang out with us because of our differences. It sucks, but the best way to deal with it is just to remind yourself that you're being your own person, and if you pay attention to people who don't like that, you simply won't be happy.

You may find yourself alone
I go to Zumba alone, I go to Advertising club meetings alone, and I rock out to "best of the 80's" jams alone. It's all good! If you're happy doing the things you're doing, it won't matter who's with you or who takes notice. Maybe being alone and doing the things you love will allow you to meet new people who do like the same things you do. Just don't be scared to fly solo every now and then.

You won't get along with everyone because not everyone does things the way you do
99% of any conflict I have with anyone in life boils down to the fact that we are different people. We go about things differently and we deal with things differently. It isn't possible to be best friends with everyone or please everyone because if you're being you're being your own person, you can't be their person as well. Just respect everyone as you do your own thing, because chances are, their trying their best to be their own person, too.


But......Why it's important

Doing your own thing can help you to find great people in life that you're compatible with
I just met up with a good friend of mine over the weekend. We recalled how we first met...in hip hop class. We both weren't the best at hip hop, but we loved the class and became friends there as we fumbled all over the dance floor trying to appear both graceful and well..."crunk" at the same time. Had we worried about what others thought about our dancing skills, we wouldn't have gone to class and met each other. I'm thankful for that hip hop class, even if we both looked completely ridiculous. (Love you, Elizabeth!!) 

Being your own person allows you to let your talents and passions shine
I think the best personal example I can come up with is my blog. Notice in high school I didn't blog? Oh yeah, that's because I was worried about what other people thought and I kept myself on the straight and narrow to do everything that everyone else was doing. Go to the football games, dress up, post cute pictures on Instagram of your legs in a bubble bath (still do this), repeat. Do not step outside the lines of conformity!!!

But now I'm doing something I really love and it's not only a great way to spend my days but it is also helping me learn things that are beneficial for my future. (a.k.a. I know how to work with HTML code and I remind myself that I am a rockstar for that every single day.) I really couldn't be happier with it!

You can be recognized for your own personal, special qualities...and you can be rewarded
Just think if you went into a job interview for a really awesome position and when they looked at your resume, all it said was "did what everyone else was doing".

What would they say? I'm assuming they'd be rather confused and I'm predicting you probably wouldn't get the position.

But what if they saw that you had done some incredible things? You were in some great clubs, you had some beneficial job experience, and you had many unique qualities you had put in practice. Sounds like an ideal candidate to me! Being your own person helps you to stand out in a positive light. Be kind when everyone else wants to be hateful, smile when everyone wants you to frown, and don't ever hide your passions or talents because they don't fit in with everyone around you.



Well, I've done it again - wrote a very long post with too many Billy Joel references. But that's just me being me. You guys are great and I'm always thankful for you as readers and friends. Just be you, because I really like that about you!

X,

Cristina


38 comments:

  1. I love oldies, Zumba, and organizing so we're basically twins.
    I definitely agree it's good to be your own person no matter what anyone else says.
    You do you, girl!

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

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    1. Ah, so happy to meet my twin! Thanks for reading, girl.

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  2. Love this post, very inspirational and thought provoking!

    Bailey :)

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  3. This is awesome!!!
    This is the best thing I have ever read that you have written.
    Bravo!
    Yes I did probably email the Sporty kid's mom but I should have ignored them both and just let God handle them both.
    Love,
    Mom

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  4. This post is fabulous! I love BYOP! Such a great post to remind ourselves how important it is to stay true to you!

    xo Ashley

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  5. I absolutely adore this post. I love individuality in the blogging world, so I can bet I'm going to love your blog! You keep doing you and rocking at it!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

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    1. Thank you so much Nicole, that is so sweet! Love reading your posts for home inspo...X!

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  6. In love with this and your insightful views! So true!
    www.kayleighskloset.com

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  7. This is so great. I definitely think people like Sporty Girl are just haters. I love how you are your own person and how confident you are about it. Sometimes I struggle with trying to please everyone else and then not doing what I love but it's just so ridiculous! BTW your mom's comment was so cute! haha!

    xo,
    Lauren
    www.thefashionistasdiary.com

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    1. Haha moms are the best, right? Thanks so much for taking the time to read! X!

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  8. Wonderful post Cristina! I also think being your own person is INCREDIBLY important...in fact I can't imagine a life where I didn't feel free to be myself. Thanks for sharing your personal anecdote from fifth grade, I think it is a powerful reminder for us all about being unapologetically ourselves.

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    1. Thank you so much! I love how you are also true to yourself; I can see it in your writing and it's amazing! X :)

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  9. Because I recently transferred to a new school, its so hard to remember that its okay to be alone and do things you love by yourself. I'm always so nervous to step out and walk into a new activity by myself because I'm worried I won't click well with others, but if I love what I'm doing and I'm making a difference, at the end of the day, that's all that matters!

    http://thealwaysblog.com

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    1. I was in your shoes once! Yes, keep loving what you're doing and you will find great people and be so so happy. Best wishes to you, X :)

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  10. Wow, this was so well written and very heartfelt. I love the story at the beginning and it is all so true, especially about being your own person allowing your passions to grow. I feel ya! I may be different and not streamline, but I have fun and I love doing it!

    xo,
    Sara Kate Styling

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Keep being different, you're awesome! :)

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  11. I love Zumba as well- it's too much fun!

    This is a wonderful post, and I really needed some of these reminders today. Thank-you for that! <3

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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    1. Oh my gosh, you are so welcome! Glad to hear someone else really loves Zumba :)

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  12. You do you girl!! No one can be you better than you!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

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  13. I absolutely adore this blog post, and I plan to share it EVERYWHERE! I was bullied so badly for being my own person in middle school. I loved ballet, I loved fashion, and I had zero interest in straightening my hair. I feel like the post-grad world was really where I strived to fit in. I stopped doing things that I loved because I didn't want to go alone or I was afraid people would think I was a friendless loser. I've recently started getting into things that I loved growing up - reading, writing, ballet - and it's amazing how much more fulfilled I feel!

    Great post, love :)

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

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    1. You are so darling! I truly love getting to watch you be your (amazing) self through your blog. Keep it up, girl! And thanks for reading :)

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  14. Man I wish I had your willpower to eat healthy and resist the urge to buy clothes so often, you go girl!

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  15. This was a keeper girly!! keep being you because that is the most beautiful, fun, smart, and loving you that you can be! (: Love you C!

    Always with love,
    Sadie Lee
    www.HeySadieLee.com

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  16. I absolutely love this and it's been something I've been thinking about quite a bit. It's important to be yourself and be authentic. You'll be happier and chances are people around you will be happier as well.

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  17. I really love this post Cristina because, like you, I have rarely followed the crowd. I have a really strong sense of self and don't give into peer pressure easily at all. Coming to college, I felt like I was judged a lot about my decisions and I was a lot nerdier about things than my peers. I've just kind of learned to go with the flow, block out the haters, and be my own person!! You're not alone in this AT ALL! Keep BYOP!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

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  18. I agree, it's so hard to be your own person when there are people out there telling you who you are is not okay. The only advice I can give is to keep your head up and be who you are, no regrets!

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    1. And that is great advice! Thanks so much for reading :)

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  19. Such an inspiring post! It can be so hard to stay true to yourself when others are constantly judging what we do...but all we can do is just shake it off!

    Cat
    http://classmeetscouture.com

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    Replies
    1. Yes, totally agree! Thank you for reading :)

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