You Gotta Be You

When I look at this photo I think of the ultimate in strength and self-confidence.

I took this in Cape May last summer when I was amazed by this vision – not only by the beauty, but how the scenario represents human nature. This proud brown sunflower is standing tall in all its independence.

It’s a challenge to stand out from the crowd. Do you remember being 12, 13, 14 years old? If you dressed the wrong way, OMG. The horror, the mockery! I remember my favorite outfit of the day was purple tights with my cream-colored corduroy shorts. I felt confident until someone said something judgy. It’s funny how one comment can rip out all your self-confidence.

We spend so much time and energy in our adolescence to fit in. We are horrified to call attention to ourselves. We try and hide our differences. From time to time we may act out, beginning to form ourselves as adults, still trying to fit in, but still, cultivating independence. Little by little as we get older and more confident, we begin to break away from the pack of norm.

Recently I read an article about Janis Joplin. When she was in college in the early 60s, her campus newspaper wrote, “She goes barefooted when she feels like it, wears Levis to class because they’re more comfortable, and carries her autoharp with her everywhere she goes so that in case she gets the urge to break into song, it will be handy. Her name is Janis Joplin.” Janis made a name for herself, just by being herself.

Every human is unique. Yet, the feeling of belonging to a tribe or group is what’s “normal.” Who sets these expectations of what’s normal? And what is “normal” anyway? If we’re not included in that definition, then we’re forced to constantly explain our differences to fit in. Yet, if you don’t express yourself, then you aren’t living your life authentically.

So be that little sunflower and stand proud of your bad-ass self!