I am not interested in being original. I am interested in being true — Agostinho da Silva
I don’t know if I’m interested in being original, but I am interested in trying to be me. And I think being yourself ultimately leads you to being original. However, I believe originality can only be achieved when you are true to yourself, when you know who you are and are completely unapologetic about it.
Sometimes, it’s not so easy to be yourself. Actually, I think we all grow up having to conform to a framework that distinguishes a person as either good, bad or problematic. That can be stifling and suffocating. The only way to break free is to be your own person and that usually doesn’t happen until you become an adult. Even that is not a guarantee of self-awareness and agency. You figure that out through whatever life throws at you. Experience, in other words.
I’ve always been defined as a good person. It’s a very simplistic way of looking at a person. It’s easy to label or categorize a person. It makes it easier to approach a person a particular way if you know what kind of person you’re dealing with.
On a number of levels, yes, I am a good person. I know I am, at heart, a good person. But I am also complicated as fuck. And a lot of people make the mistake of assuming I’m a good person and only a good person. People close to me know I have a temper. And some of those folks (specifically, relatives) think that me being angry will only shorten my life. Quite honestly, I think one of the only times being angry could possibly shorten my life is if I’m yelling at someone who’s holding a gun. Just saying. Personally, I think it’s better to express your temper rather than internalize it. Yes? No? The seeming insistence to look at the world with blinders on or through rose-coloured glasses drives me up the fucking wall.
This is the problem of being considered a good person. If you are a good person, you are not allowed to express the negative emotions that all human beings possess. Show too many negative emotions and people will start thinking you’re a bad person or you need to see a shrink. Yes, the person with the negative emotions needs to be fixed.
That’s all fine and dandy but those pointing their fingers should ask themselves if there is a reason or cause for the manifestation of the negative/undesirable emotions/behaviour. Might I suggest taking a look in the mirror. But nobody wants to look at the truth because, sometimes, the truth is ugly. Point the finger at everybody else but themselves.
So, this person, the one who has told me that being angry will only shorten my life, needs to ask herself why am I angry. I wasn’t born angry. I’m pretty sure about that. Negative emotions don’t pop up on a whim unless there’s a medical reason for it. Usually there is something or someone who sparks that fire. I am resentful of the idea that if I’m angry, it’s my fault that I’m angry. The person who made me angry is not at fault. Why? Because that person see herself as a good person, a fucking martyr, in fact. Good equals right. Negative emotions equals bad which in turn, means bad is wrong. Every. Fucking. Time.
So, let’s go with the premise that my habit of expressing every negative emotion — in the larger compendium of emotions — I have makes me a bad person, in the most simplistic, asinine terms. Let’s say I ‘fix’ my temper and never show anger again (which you all damn well know, is next to impossible). That doesn’t necessarily stop the source that sparked the fire in the first place from lighting it up again. Me fixing my temper serves as only a bandage. It really doesn’t fix anything. The person who has made me mad in the first place, has not understood that they are very much the reason for the negative behaviour. That person doesn’t understand because they cannot conceive the idea that they are capable of making somebody mad at them because they believe they’re a good person.
I could go on forever about how people have tried to manipulate me, tried to shame me, guilt me into being someone I’m not.
And this where I go back to the idea of having a clear understanding of who you are as a person and being true to that person, true to yourself.
Sometimes being true to who you are will make some people or a lot of people around you uncomfortable as fuck. At some point you have to be okay with the idea that you cannot make everybody happy, that you are not responsible for their happiness. I’m at that point. And yeah, I get pushback. I could try to explain myself, but when you’re faced with individuals who cannot accept how imperfect you are, you’re better off not wasting your breath and let them live with the idea that you’ve bitterly disappointed them.
I have to be true to who I am. If I’m not, it will be the most painful regret I will ever have. I can’t live with that. I will always choose to disappoint others before I disappoint myself.