Sorry in advance if I rant a bit, I just get really passionate about these sort of things.
A few weeks ago my friends and I were having a lovely deep conversation, as one normally does. We happened to get on the topic of individuality, something the three of us strongly believed in.
I have lots of things to say about being yourself and being passionate about what you love and also the errors in school systems. Today I’m going to try and condense those three topics into one post.
I go to a small Christian school and really hate it there. I don’t hate the classes, I don’t hate the size of the classes, I don’t even hate the uniforms that much. But my biggest issue with the school system is how it stifles individuality.
One of things I would like to change about my school would be how things are so easily unencouraged. You like to read those kind of books, ugh, how weird. You listen to that kind of music, you must be emo or something. People are very close-minded and judgemental.
Teenagers become afraid to share and explore things they love because there are adults and other teenagers that might judge them. Leaving your art or writing behind because of others leads to missed opportunities.
If I stopped writing the first time someone scoffed at me, I wouldn’t have three WIPs in the works. I would probably be crying on the soccer field or something.
I think it’s important to pursue your passions and see where they take you. Sure, everyone around you might be heading down a merry path that leads to the meadow millions have people seen before. But if you just take your own way through brambles and rocky crags, you’ll find yourself looking at a view no eye has ever seen.
Secondly, I wanted to address being yourself in a crowd of seemlying ‘perfect’ people. I think everyone who reads this has heard of quote, ‘be a fruit loop in a bowl of cheerios’ or some other spin-off of that. We read that, nod in affirmation, and then keep on scrolling.
But you never apply it to your life.
Please, please, please don’t change yourself to be like other people. All the girls at school are wearing crop tops and listening to a pop song. If you’re not comfortable in short shirts, don’t force yourself into one. Flaunt the over-sized hoodie and Twenty-One Pilots.
Society tells girls and boys to be their self and then shows girls images of skinny models with captions, ‘copy this makeup look by doing…’ They’re all hypocrites. Adults wonder why the mental health rates in teenagers are going up, why don’t they look at what the media gives us?
That girl down the road is starving herself because Vogue says size zero is the only option. That boy standing in line is worried about his classmates finding out that he wants to become a poet and not an athlete. Everyone around us is changing themselves, carefully scrapping away anything that isn’t ‘satisfactory.’
That face staring back at you in the mirror is who you are. All the plastic surgery in the world can’t change your heart.
People will always laugh and point, but there are also people in life that will cheer and support you. Find friends who encourage your hobbies and embrace you for who you are. Also, be that person who lets others in to your group. Don’t shut someone out for being ‘weird’ or ‘different’. Appearances aren’t everything.
Everyone, stop. Just stop.
Stop fearing judgement. Stop fearing critismism. Stop being afraid of buying that fandom t-shirt or reading that book in public. You are yourself and don’t let anyone change that.
It doesn’t matter how skinny you are, how scarred you are, or how muscular you are. Stop trying to shape yourself and instead accept the person God has planned you to be.
Alright, that’s everything I have for you today. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.