Just Bein’ Me
By A. Brett Clark
I’m a pretty goofy kid. I like laughing out loud and having non-constructive fun. I like wearing clothes that fit and are comfy, but not always stylish. I wear black and gold striped pants with classic Converse All-Star shoes and a red shirt I got from a guy throwing shirts into our high school football games. I also like singing out loud as I walk around campus. I sing everything from Bing Crosby to Kelly Clarkson, but often revert to my favorite, Sweet Child O’ Mine, by Guns and Roses. Together, all of these peculiarities make up an interesting thing I call, Me! I like being me, and I’ve learned that that is the only way to live. Sometimes, however, I hide my wackiness, my stripy pants, my golden oldies. Sometimes, I hide myself.
Last summer, I went on a school trip to Washington D.C. with a few kids from my AP government class. We were given the opportunity to work as interns in our local representative’s office. To get there however, we had to travel 12 hours on a cramped excuse for a bus. Lucky for me, there was one very attractive girl that diverted my attention from the fact that my luggage was more comfortable than I was. I was trying to impress her by acting like a classic jock from our school. I thought that is what she would be most attracted to. Well, I was wrong. As our long bus ride continued and circulation in my legs became a fond memory, I noticed that one of my friends was just being himself. His hilarious jokes and comical accents, made us all laugh. Yet, they shocked me. Why would he be acting this way around one of the more popular babes in our school? Wasn’t he embarrassed? And then it hit me like a juiced up Bonds home run. He was being HIMSELF. He didn’t care who was around him or what they were in high school. He was simply acting like he would with any of his close friends. And as a result, everyone was more comfortable. Because of him, I acted like myself the remainder of our trip. Because of him, we all acted like we had been best friends. I later found out that the girl I had tried to impress earlier had actually begun to like me for who I really was, not what I could appear to be.
From that trip I came to understand that my best shot was to just be myself. I learned that I didn’t need to change how I acted or what I wore because of the people I was around. Why should I? Trends come and go, opinions change, and things fall apart. But there is at least one thing that should always remain steadfast and immovable. That one thing, is you. And if we remember that, then red shirts and striped pants will always be in style.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.