Being Yourself is a Radical Act

By Paige Kiser, Regular ContributorAugust 9, 2015

Whenever people that I know admit that they don’t think of themselves as being brave or strong, even though they most certainly are, I think of a quote I once read from E.E. Cummings:

“To be nobody but yourself in a world, which is doing its best night and day to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”

In his own eloquent way, he is essentially trying to say that it’s difficult to be yourself, and it means something about your strength if you choose to do so. You might be aware that people could easily judge you for your appearance, that the things you love could be labeled as “uncool” or “unacceptable,” that even the smallest things you say or do could be picked apart and analyzed until someone finds a flaw in them.


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Yet you choose to wear whatever you find interesting, even if the clothing doesn’t necessary match. You experiment with dyeing your hair different colors, sometimes noticeable, unnatural ones. You wear makeup, or none at all, and base that decision on how you’re feeling, not what other people expect. Without realizing it, you love the things you do unapologetically and express that by seeing a certain movie a dozen times or going to a concert put on by your favorite musician and forgetting that the rest of the world exists for a while.

I think that those kinds of personal, individual decisions, even if they don’t seem to matter much to the person making them, are definitely examples of bravery.

This is especially true in a society where it seems like everywhere you go there are constant pressures to change or better yourself, whether it be in extreme diet ads, in articles about the newest trends you must participate in to be accepted, or simply from the people around you. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept, but who you are as a person, or what you do, or what you look like is never going to be considered 100% acceptable to everyone you meet. So you might as well make decisions about who you are based on you and not impossible expectations or suggestions made by people who may not fully realize your best interests.

I’m going to let you in on a secret; you’re probably so much smarter, cooler, braver, more interesting and admired than you think you are. That may not be apparent right now, especially when you’re given reasons to think otherwise, but if you make the effort to believe it, it will become easier.

Continue to be yourself in a world that is determined to change you. Being and accepting yourself is a radical act, so it’s only going to make you more powerful.

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Are you every afraid to be yourself? How do you overcome your fears? When do you feel most like yourself? Tell us below!

About Paige

PAIGE_KAISER_writer_bio_(1).jpgPaige is a film production student who is passionate about social justice and encouraging people to love themselves. She enjoys black coffee, movie marathons, Halloween, vintage fashion, comic books, and telling everyone she knows why RuPaul’s Drag Raceis the best thing ever. When she isn’t at a movie theater or asking a tall stranger to help her reach for books on top shelves, you can find her on twitter @paigevsreality.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.

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