"Just Be Yourself!"

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friends, parents, teachers, 

all seem to have only one thing to say to a child desperately seeking advice:

"just be yourself!"

it becomes the core theme of children's shows on disney or nickelodeon

the tired and true message you can always fall back on

 

"just be yourself!"

have i been someone else all this time?

is the problem that i don't really know who i am?

is that why i don't have more friends--am i simply not "myself" enough?

is my real self someone who no one would make fun of everyday?

 

"just be yourself!"

there must be something wrong with the way i am, then.

how do i get rid of this person?

where did the real me go?

is she lost somewhere between the loser who apparently smiles too much and the nerd who sucks up in lit class?

or is she afraid to make her debut, because this other person she shares a body with has taken so much abuse from others? how can she be sure she wouldn't get the same treatment?

who is she?

 

"just be yourself!"

i'm trying, i promise.

but i don't know how!

what if this person who none of you seem to like is the real me?

would that be so bad?

if the girl who likes harry potter too much and is nice to the point of naivety is the only one i know how to be

is that okay?

will you maybe get used to her, eventually?

if i promise to let you still make fun of me, will you still let me hang out with you?

you guys are my best friends.

i don't know who i'd be without you.

 

"just be yourself!"

stop. please.

don't act like you don't know what i'm talking about.

will you please just listen, for once?

i think--i'm still not sure--that i like who i am.

that maybe it's a good thing that i'm engaged in a class i enjoy

that maybe my smiles can bring joy to others that doesn't involve mockery

that maybe i've been being myself all this time and all you've done is made me hate her.

you've made me want to be anyone other than myself

what great friends you are!

 

"just be yourself!"

people talk about abusive relationships all the time

but i think there must also be such a thing as an abusive friendship

and this is it

i was nothing but myself

and you didn't like it

so i tried to change for you, my best friend

and all i could hear when i cried myself to sleep those nights was your laughter

i would tell you now to just be yourself,

but maybe you shouldn't.

because your self has the ability to be both toxic and compelling.

so this is my advice to you:

be someone else

be someone else so entirely that the result is a new self

better than the old one, a self that heals instead of hurts

 

"just be yourself!"

"being" is just so static.

i refuse to just "be"

i will accept myself, because i've learned that i am not worthless

i will challenge myself, because i know that i need it

i will believe in myself, because i know i am capable of achievement

but, mainly, i will love myself

because no one can or will do it bettter than me.

 

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