Optical Illusions: Staying True to Yourself

Optical Illusions: Staying True to Yourself

There are many moments in my life when I wonder why I do the things I do. Why I say the things I say, or act the way I act, when it doesn’t always fit with what I believe or what I want; when it goes against the things I already know and understand about myself. Why do I do that? Why go against myself? I mean, it’s a pretty simple thought: if you don’t like something, then don’t do it. But is it that simple?

I’m a sociology major, and that doesn’t mean a lot to many people. Mostly, no one has any idea what that even entails. But one of the things it has taught me is to look critically at a situation from all possible angles. It’s pretty cool, actually. It gives you the ability of understanding. I’m able to know so much about what’s happening around me, to be in tuned with these thoughts and feelings, and to be able to decide for myself the best course of action. I should be a pro at being my own person and doing what’s best for me, but I’m really not. While I understand, I don’t necessarily put it into action and often contradict this knowledge. There are a ton of reasons for this; reasons that can be explained through sociology. So take this as a crash course.

One thing that I know about myself is that I have a depth of understanding that produces much sympathy, kindness and generosity. I have this outstanding sense of responsibility, love and balance, and while these may all seem like truly admirable qualities, I’ve noticed (and too frequently forget) that because of this, I will often sacrifice myself for the wellbeing of others. As much as I hate to admit it, I care too much about what others think of me. I want to be liked (really, who doesn’t?), and I don’t like making waves or upsetting people, so I do what I can to avoid it. But I just don’t want to do it anymore, because then there’s this contradiction in my life that makes me feel uneasy. I want to be able to say “no,” to openly disagree with someone, even on the simplest of things, and to refuse to do things I really don’t want to do. Things I’ll do anyway just because it might upset someone or make them think differently about me if I don’t. What I want most out of my experience here in Ireland is to be completely true to myself. It’s part of why I came here: to start over fresh in a place where no one knows me. To be the person I want to be. And up until today, I haven’t been doing it. But, why?

When I look back on my life, it’s pretty simple to figure out. We live in a society, and we’re all conformed to abide by the rules of this society. Since we were kids, we’re expected to do what we’re told, be reserved, be polite: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Don’t be rude, don’t be obnoxious, don’t do anything that goes against the norm that our society has set out for us. Honesty is buried way at the bottom of a pile of crap we’re suppose to present as the person we are. I’m polite, I’m agreeable, and I’m respectful because that’s exactly the person society expected me to be, even if it meant sacrificing who I really am at the heart of it all. I am the child of great expectations and proper etiquette.

Fuck that.

I’m tapping out.

I want to be selfish for a change.

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I want to be rude. I want to be obnoxious. I want to be unkind. I want to be brutal if it means being honest, expressing my own thoughts, and being me. Do I love? Do I care? Am I empathetic? Absolutely. That’s part of it. But there’s another side that no one really gets to see. Do I think abortion is a sin? Do I think you’re pretty just because you asked me? Do I think the sex was good just because you tried? Do I think coddling your kids and refusing to say the word “no” is good parenting? Am I going to give you my respect when you haven’t done anything to earn it? Am I going to give you a dollar of my hard earned money because I’m suppose to feel sorry that you haven’t figured out a way to earn your own? Do I think you’ve obtained some divine right to bitch and bitch about your life when you haven’t done a damn thing to try and change it?

Nope. Nope. Nope. And Nope.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to change it. Because why should I ever sacrifice my opinion or what I want because it might infringe on your own thoughts or desires? Why are your needs more important than mine? We should all be true to ourselves, and stop worrying so much about who might be affected by our actions. Be aware, accept the consequences, but don’t take on the responsibility of breaking yourself down to appease someone else.

I’m not saying you now have this unspoken right to go around being an asshole because “that’s just who you are,” because I also believe what goes around comes around, which is why I will always strive to be a good person and be kind to people who have done me no wrong. But there are some moments in life when it’s okay to go against what everyone expects you to do. To be rude, to be obnoxious, to be unkind. It’s okay to have your own opinions, it’s okay to have your own feelings, it’s okay to want a different path, and more importantly, it’s okay to express it. In fact, I encourage it.

Don’t ever stop being who you really are at your core, whoever that is, because it is far better to be honest and happy knowing that you’re living your life exactly how you want than it is to be polite and miserable in order to please someone else. I would rather see you for who you are in truth than the illusion society has made you out to be with lies. So figure out who you are, not who society wants you to be. Be happy, be honest, and be you; no one can ever blame you for that.

 

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