I am apparently having a “you” week. And by you, I hope you realize I mean me, too. We teach what we need to learn the most.
I realize that maybe a first read that title looks…odd. I do me? Huh? Is this saying I should masturbate?
I’m not going to write about masturbation, not today. Maybe not ever. Or maybe tomorrow.
I was tickled pink when I went to this free lunchtime concert for The Dismemberment Plan. The lead singer asked for some back up dancers for his final song. So these kids ran up there with their moms. This one kid had been dancing the whole show, and I remember thinking to myself “When do we stop letting ourselves dance like that?” So at one point this kid just started running the perimeter of the room. It was adorable and funny in that “look at that kid do something cute and silly!” kind of way.
The lead singer was also thinking how cute and cool it was so he encouraged the kid. “Run, kid! That’s right. You do you.”
It made me laugh a little, but it’s so true. Why and when do we lose our childhood innocence that we need the encouragement from someone on the outside to be who we are? The kid didn’t even hear the lead singer, he was just doin’ his thing and didn’t care about what anyone around him thought or did. He was free.
They say that as a child we hear no way more than we hear yes, one study from UCLA reported a child can hear no up to 400 times in a day! Perhaps it’s all that discouragement. We stop doing our own thing and try to be the person that we “should” be so that we stop hearing no. Not because it’s who we are.
Maybe that’s it, maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s middle school or whenever you went through your awkward period where you tried to conform and be like everyone else so you could be liked. For me it was middle school. I remember trying to be so cool. Trying to not show how much I liked math or sports, or whatever it was that my friends did or didn’t like. I even remember pretending to be ok when my best friend started dating the guy I secretly liked.
Regardless, we lose that ability to freely do our own thing. We become a little duller so that we can blend with everyone else. We become really aware that people have judgements of other people and for whatever reason that becomes really important to us. For some reason it becomes really important that people do not have negative judgements of who we are. So we try to not step out of line, we worry that our individualism will cause judgement.
Instead, as adults we need to say “fuck what other people think.” If you’re like me and it’s hard to take a statement like that seriously, you can also remind yourself that each person is thinking about themselves too much to really be too concerned with anyone else. Besides, it’s not their life. It’s your life. It really, honestly doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
I figure I can live one of two ways- for everyone else and try to make them all happy. Or I live for myself and I make myself happy.
So I choose me. I choose to do my thing- do me for a little while.