The title of this post is something I hear - A LOT - and have done so for several years. But I don't understand it. I'm just being myself, I wouldn't say I'm brave for doing so. I think it's much harder to pretend to be someone you're not. So does that mean that people who tells me this aren't themselves? I don't know. So today I will try to speak to those people.
Before you can be yourself, you first need to find yourself. This is what teenage years is about - in many aspects, not just likes, dislikes, hobbies, style and so on. This is when you ''try on'' many different things, and see if it if for you. Often this leads to phases, which is completely fine. I went through being emo, scene, a hardcore metalhead and even tried being normal. And most likely small parts from each phase stuck with me to form who I am today. After all, I still like dark and gloomy music, I'm a colorful person, and I love metal - but I'm still just a normal human being.
So if someone reading this is at that stage in life - don't worry! You will find yourself in the end. Even though you think that you have, that can still change. People change all the time, even much later in life. And that's completely fine. But what is important is that you explore what actually interests you, and not because of your friends, to piss off your parents or because someone you think is cool is into it.. If you do those things, you will just regret it later. Sure, everyone did things in their teenage years that they are embarrassed about, but you can at least try to make it as little as possible!
Sometimes one can actually question if one is being oneself. I have, and I have talked to others who have too. Which is really weird, when you think about it! But we are affected by everyone around us, whether we realize it or not. And I'm not talking about acting differently in different settings - that's completely normal. People are often not the same person at work, with friends or with family.
So how do you know if you are being yourself? Ask yourself why you are interested in something or why you do the things you do. If it's because of someone else, that is something to reflect on. Personal preferences come naturally, sometimes you can explain why, sometimes you can't.
What I am probably asked about the most is confidence. How do I have the confidence to be myself? I'm not sure if I can explain that. Being myself isn't exactly hard, I don't need to put any effort into it, since it comes natural to me! I have always been attracted to darker things, and the music I listen to makes me happy - even though it isn't happy music! But I guess what people mean is how I look. And how I look is just an outward expression of my interests, and what I think is beautiful. I love huge hair, black make-up, big boots, and everything from ripped clothes to victorian clothes. That's just who I am, I couldn't change that if I tried. But that doesn't mean I look amazing every day - in fact, most of the time I don't. Mainly the way I dress doesn't ever change, but I don't really do my make-up and hair very often. So my everyday look is pretty boring to me - but it still may look extreme to other people. I still have piercings and tattoos. So on the days I don't bother, I at least have some permanent ways of expressing myself! This used to be my hair too, but now that it's my natural color, it looks very normal when I wear it down.
I think confidence comes from within yourself, and being yourself has a lot to do with it. If you are comfortable with yourself and accept that you are who you are, you don't care what other people think of you. Then you can look and be however you want, while holding your head up high.
A big bonus that comes with that, is that confidence radiates - and people will pick up on that. You will get a lot more compliments, and no one will ever dare to say something mean - at least in person. On the internet there is always someone who will say something negative, but I bet you they wouldn't dare to say it to your face! If you are not comfortable with yourself and insecure, people will pick up on that too. A lot of teenagers feel this way, and that's what bullies feed on. They notice a weakness and will use it to their advantage to make themselves feel better. I guess that means that have some issues with themselves too. And it's funny that if you meet those people later in life, they will suddenly be nice to you - and they are usually not very successful in life either. Makes me feel better, at least!
Before I go, I can answer another related question that I get frequently; How does one become a goth? You don't really ''become'' one - you just are. After learning what it is, of course ;)
|Artist: Joana Shino|