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Being Yourself, Even When You've Got To Fight

Updated on June 12, 2018
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

No One Should Even Ask - Why Does It Matter?

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Life's Not Always Easy

I was talking with a good friend of mine the other day about a situation I've found myself in that still astounds me. She was a great sounding board and, as is often the case when we talk, she got me thinking about a few things that are quite important when you think about it.

I believe in standing up for things that are wrong, so that either I can avoid a similar situation in the future or someone else does not have to deal with such a situation. I know I'm far from the only person with such a mindset, but it's important to do so, particularly when you're in a spot where people seem to expect you to compromise part of who you are. The problem is, sometimes it becomes really quite difficult to know just how far to go when it comes to fighting for your right - or someone else's - to do so.

Anyways, my friend got me thinking about this as I was asking her how far she thought I should push in resolving the situation. "I'd not only push it, Id full on Lamaze it," she suggested, and while her comment drew a much-needed giggle from me, I realized just how right she was.

Very frequently, when we're trying to resolve a situation, we might tend to stop with the first response we receive, thinking that while we're not exactly happy with the answer we've received, it might be the only answer we get. What I'm talking about is not the same situation as when we were kids and our parents would say no to something and we'd harass them with a series of "pleases" until they ultimately caved.

This is more like the line from Black Panther, when Queen Ramonda yells to T'Challa (aka Black Panther himself), "Show him who you are!"

When it comes to fighting for your right to present yourself to the world the way you're comfortable with, no one should have the right to ask you to compromise on that. We are no longer in a world where men absolutely must wear ties and dress slacks - or, as the case might be, jeans and work boots - while women wear cute skirts and pearls. Our respective modes of dress, to a large extent, falls in line with who we are as people, and while we still need to be mindful of societal respect for one another and so forth, there is no way you should sit back when someone makes you feel uncomfortable or less than the person you are or are becoming for how you're presenting yourself to the world.

While I do appreciate that certain lines of work require a uniform of some sort and so forth, when it comes to our daily lives, so long as we cover our bodies in a way that keeps us safe from the elements and we still ensure we dress in such a way as to avoid insult to the diverse groups that make up our societies, who cares? We don't need to offer anyone any justification or excuse for how we present ourselves to the world, again provided we are doing so in a decent manner. While some places - schools, areas of employment - do require a certain dress code that is respectful and appropriate, you can still find a way to meet those requirements and dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable in your own skin.

I've known young men who are quite happy wearing skirts of various lengths, and I myself do enjoy a nice bow tie from time to time. Our modes of dress should not open ourselves up to any sort of conversation beyond, "Love the tie - where'd you get it?" or "The colors on that skirt are awesome!"

When someone takes it upon themselves to make you feel "less than" for how you're presenting yourself to the world, make your voice heard and stand for what's right. If you feel that someone is not taking appropriate action when they have so obviously made you feel uncomfortable for who you are, push for what's right.

You do owe that to yourself.

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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      2 years ago from Chicago

      "If you live for other people's acceptance you will die from their rejection." - Lecrae

      True freedom comes with not caring what other people think.

      "When it comes to fighting for your right to present yourself to the world the way you're comfortable with, no one should have the right to ask you to compromise on that." - Very true!

      They can "ask" but the decision is (yours) to make.

      The problem is no one can read anyone's mind or know exactly what is a "deal breaker" or "must have" for them. There are others who get a delight out of bucking societal decorum but they lack the will to endure the slings and arrows which sometimes come with it!

      "While we are free to choose our actions we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions." - Stephen Covey

      Simply put we don't get to tell people how to react to what we do.

      Dale Carnegie wrote a best selling book titled:

      "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

      Essentially he espoused that the best way to get ahead in life was to figure out what "the other guy" wanted or "needed" instead of completely focusing on your own rewards. It gave birth to the win/win philosophy. Success often comes down to knowing "the rules" or how to the "play the game" in order to get whatever it (you) want.

      On the flip side you have people like Muhammad Ali who refused to be inducted into the army when there was a draft. He also didn't runaway to Canada. He was arrested, stripped of his heavy weight title, lost his boxing license, lost three prime years, and went broke.

      Odds are if he had accepted the induction he would have gotten the Elvis Presley treatment and would not have faced any real danger. Nelson Mandela could have been released from prison 5 years earlier if he would have publicly declared he was retiring and renounce violence and protests across South Africa over Apartheid.

      Mandela served (27 years in prison) and eventually became his country's first black president soon after his release.

      There's a cost for standing up for one's principles. It takes courage.

      If someone isn't willing to "pay the price" they should compromise.

      Suffering is optional.

      "While we are free to choose our actions we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions." - Stephen Covey

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