- Gender and Relationships
Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Already Taken
Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Already Taken
I once heard a pastor say that when you are compatible with a man or woman for a romantic relationship, you don't have to cut off or lose bits and pieces and chunks of yourself for you two to go well together. For example, if you love gospel, but your boyfriend hates it and only listens to rap, in order for you to go well with him without him having to change would be for you to stop listening to gospel when you are with him AND start listening to rap when you are with him.
Isn't that sad? Isn't it sad that something you thoroughly enjoy must be removed from your life in order to make someone who claims to like and love you be happy around you? Sure you can listen to gospel when you're not with him, but people like to share and experience the things that they like WITH the person they love. Of course, you don't have to listen to music all the time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but most people do listen to music while in the car driving. Now that is one experience that you have to cut from your life as long as you are with this person.
Another area where you shouldn't have to cut pieces of yourself off is when it comes to your friends. I feel that if you have to compromise on important parts of yourself, then maybe your friend and you aren’t compatible. Like if you’re a lover and he’s a fighter, then for him to have to go around town with you picking on people and beating them up is asking you to cut off parts of yourself.
I like those commercials directed at teens that do drugs or may consider doing drugs. They show a pathetic looking teenager and every time he or she does drugs for a peer, the teenager loses a piece of himself or herself until they are but a shell of their self or are no longer recognizable. I believe that many of our likes and interests as children are our closest image of who we really are. For example, if you loved to draw and paint as child more than most children, maybe you should be dealing with art. If you were good at playing an instrument, then maybe that’s your deal. If you loved to cook with your mom, maybe that was your “calling”. I think that when we get to middle or high school, we start learning the foolish habit of trying to impress people. If you loved looking at insects and nature, maybe you should be in that field.
Maybe you were in the cool crowd and they made you feel like a lame for liking to cook, draw, or play an instrument. So you cut off that piece of your identity and chose sex and drugs. Those were not originally a part of you, but you adopted them to fit in while you committed a mild form of suicide to please your friends. I think that when people lose parts of themselves, it is suicide. You are killing/getting rid of yourself. You are killing you. Yes, you are still walking around alive, but it’s not really you. It’s a shadow of who you once were and of who you were meant to be.
I take pride in standing out. I’ve never been likened to other females of my demographics. I’m like no other black girl. I’m like no other person from Memphis, I’m like no other Delta, I’m like no other Christian, I'm like no other writer, I'm like no other 23 year old. I’m like no other female. I’m the only girl in the world like me. I take much pride in that! I dress how I want, wear my hair how I want, and I do what I want (if God’s okay with it of course). I don’t give others the permission to put me in their box. At times, I think I’m downright weird! But that’s okay though. I can do that. I can choose not to commit social suicide.
This uniqueness is clearly not confined just to me. Every person is this world is an individual; it's just that some people choose not to live out that individuality. God made all of us to be different. They say there are no two snowflakes that are alike (how in the world can they test that hypothesis?). So if there are no two same snowflakes, there are no two same people. Even multiple birth children have very different styles and personalities. So yes, everyone is supposed to be like no other person in their family, city, race, sorority/fraternity, field, etc. We're all one in a million. Of all the sperm, we made it to the egg! So you are no mistake; you are proof of survival of the fittest before you are even born!
There are some things that I am interested in that I used to be embarrassed about because not many people in my demographics did those things. I am a geek, if you ask me. A cute geek, but a geek nonetheless. I like nature, outer space, words, learning, church services, wedding gowns, photography, exhibits, bookstores, drawing, writing, White people’s gospel music, reading, and many other things. Of course, some of the things I listed are shared interests with many other black females from Memphis, but some are not. So I used to try to hide some of these things (social suicide) in order to fit in with the crowd. I’ve never considered myself a part of the in-crowd or the popular crowd (and personally wouldn’t like to be because I’m set aside for the Master’s use now), but I was still embarrassed of some of them. Now I accept them 100% as parts of me. I accept that I like to do these things. They give me great pleasure and dimension and flavor. More to love! If all you are interested in is hair and partying, there’s not much to be intrigued with. It’s okay if that what you like, but how can you expect to intrigue anyone with such simple things? Of course, personality can be intriguing, but that will only get you so far.
I love it when I meet people who don’t commit social suicide. It’s so refreshing, and I wish everyone could do it. People lose respect for conformists. God did not make us to be the same. If that was His intention, things would be different. We’d all be the same shade of peach or brown. We’d all have the same red, black, brown, blonde, or gray hair. We’d all have the same gray, green, hazel, brown, or blue eyes. We’d all be the same height, weight, race, gender, personality type, etc., etc. Only people of multiple births and animals should be looking alike!
When I went natural (and I still am under these extensions), I received the most opposition (for lack of a better term) from black women! Men loved it and white people loved it. But some black females thought that I ought to conform to the rest and stop trying to stand out. Sure I can wear a wig or weave when I please, but I chose not to get rid of that part of myself. If I decide to get a relaxer (which is highly unlikely), it’ll be because I want too. It won’t be because of “social suicide”. No one other than me would have the say so about what goes on or in my hair.
If I chose to wear colored contacts, it won’t be because BET made it popular. It’ll be because I looked in the mirror one day and said, “Hey, self, why don’t you try some green contacts. That could be fun.” It won’t be because friends or family told me to. That’s part of being an adult you know. Doing things because you or God wants you to, not because of another human. Do you at all times, I say!
One more important part that we must not commit social suicide on is in the area of expressing our thoughts and feelings. If you are against something and don’t say it when it would be perfectly fine to express it, you are committing social suicide. For example, if you are firmly against abortion, it would be suicidal for you to be sitting with five friends who are pro-choice who are expressing their defense of abortion and to be sitting there acting as if your opinion doesn’t matter. If they can say their feelings and are really your friends, then they should want you to express your feelings too. It’s only fair. Even if your feelings are wrong, you should express them and maybe someone will tell you their feelings that might change your wrong mindset.
Imagine a pastor sitting with three unsaved friends. They sit there and brag about how they hate and cheat on their wives. They have no problem expressing themselves. But the pastor sits there quietly not wanting to offend anyone with how much he loves his wife and how he’s never cheated on her. You can commit social suicide by omission of your feelings and thoughts. If a homosexual asks me if I’m against same-sex marriage, I will surely tell him that I am. I won’t be a jerk about it, and I won’t volunteer information that was not requested. But if he’s my friend and he’s talking about how he thinks people who are only for man and woman marriage are total idiots, I ‘ll have no problem telling him that I agree with these “total idiots” 100%. I’m going to express myself. I will not commit social suicide ESPECIALLY if it concerns something that God wants me to speak out on. Of course, there’s a time and place for certain things, but you’ll know when you should or shouldn’t say something. I won’t tell a robber, “You know that what you’re doing is wrong.” But I can tell a so-called friend though. Imagine our savior Jesus being all hush-hush about the truth because He didn’t want to offend the Pharisees. There would be many lost souls in hells because of his social suicide. Instead of committing social suicide, Jesus GAVE His life another way. He knew who He was totally. He owned His likes and dislikes 100%. He didn’t have to hide bits and pieces of Himself to fit in. If you didn’t like who Jesus was, He never considered it any of His business. That’s my motto nowadays. “WHAT YOU THINK OF ME NONE OF MY BUSINESS.” I know what I like. I know what I don’t like. I know what God put me on this earth to do, and I’m about to get it done regardless of what the devil or people say. If people don’t like it, they’ll have to find a way to cope because I’m not going to change my mind.
As long as I live, I never want to have another human being tell me what to do regarding personal choices. But regarding choices that are not so personal, choices that will affect others, I have no problem taking orders from a God-ordained authority figure. That would be limited to my husband (if I get married), my politicians (governor, senator, mayor, president), the police force, my boss, and my pastor. No other adult has the right to tell me what to do.
If I let anyone else other than those aforementioned people tell me what to do, I’ll risk committing this suicide I’m speaking of. I don’t want to commit suicide in any respect of the word. I don’t want to disrespect myself like that. I like me. There’s no one in the world better equipped to be the girl! If I don’t do her, no one else will! No one else can!