Growing up we often hear that we should be ourselves. “Be you, be yourself”, rains like echoes of our ancestors through the halls of life. It’s as if that’s the majestic key that opens all of the doors that were once locked or closed from us. Be me, that’s all I have to do and life can be that much simple and peaceful? However, what they fell to tell us is how? How can you be something that you don’t know or still getting to know?

So often people forget that this life thing is a journey and knowing yourself is a quest that has all of these different twist and turns. Some of us are more fortunate than others because we already have a sense of seeking and questioning ourselves. Like, “why do I do this?”; “what makes me act this way?” or “why do I believe in this…do I believe in this?” Which as crazy as it may seem, those questions gives you the liberty to start a path in a direction all on your own.

I remember I would cross paths with people that, to me, came across disingenuous and unauthentic and I was judgmental towards them. My thought process would be confused on why is this person trying so hard to be something that they aren’t? Why live a life being uncomfortable being something that isn’t you? However, I never considered the fact that maybe they’re doing the best they can. Taken in the fact that you don’t come into this world with a certainty of oneself and you’re trying to figure it out the best way you can. So with that being said, sometimes it may be a survival of the fittest approach that takes place.

Living in a world where odds are stacked against you based off of your race, gender and economic structure, could very well put some people in positions where you go along to get along. If I’m raised in an environment to believe that dreaming is a waste of time and doesn’t put food on the table..well I don’t dream. I stick with what’s tangible and don’t waste my time on what could be or couldn’t. Is that to say I don’t have dreams? Or is it to say that I haven’t had the opportunity to dream.

We are constantly being sized up, held to standards and expectations of other people in our life. Some of us are even told and molded to be who we are from the time we’re born. Football and basketball players are being prepped and molded to go pro that when unexpected accidents occur; they’re left feeling purposeless and lost. “All I know is football”, “My life is playing ball”, “What’s my life without it?”

See there is no clean cut answer to being yourself, knowing yourself, or finding yourself. It’s a constant assessment as you grow. It’s quite scary and lonely even. The whole key is to be able to challenge yourself at every angle. You can have an idea of who you’d like to be or become but don’t let that be the goal or determining factor. Let that be your invisible blue print that you can edit by taking away and adding.

I use to want to be this pro black, soulful, intellectual black woman. You know, head wraps, poetry, had a study full of books of cultured authors and artifacts. Drink herbal tea and eat a plant based diet. Mediate while burning incents and was so therapeutic to be around.

However, I came to realize, although I wanted to be this person, some of those things weren’t me. Or weren’t me in this stage of my life. I realized that I love reading books and writing but I loved dressing up and wearing makeup too. The struggle I had with this was, how can I be this spiritual person while indulging in surface things? Then I found out easily because I can be multiple things. It’s what gives us depth.

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