always me

Joel - Fort Mill, South Carolina
Entered on March 14, 2008

I believe in individuality and being me, even when people look at me funny. It is the one thing that sets me apart and makes me who I am. It’s was keep me going each day.

When I was in middle school I always wanted to hang out with the popular kids. I wanted to dress like them, talk like them, act like them, be just like them. They always seemed so happy like the world was smiling on them for being who they are. What did they have that I didn’t? What ever it was, I wanted it more than anything.

As I became friends with a select few of them I realized they weren’t the type of people I thought they were. They smiled to each others faces and trashed talked their “friends” behind their backs. I was stunned. How can someone call me their friend and talk about me like they’re my worst enemy? It seemed they were all wearing masks because they didn’t want to show their true selves for fear of being excluded from the group. One girl even allowed the others too make fun of her because she wanted to be part of the crowd.

I realized I didn’t want to be them. I didn’t want to be an unreliable friend. I didn’t want to be a clone or a paper cut out of people with such low morality. I wanted to be me, an honest guy who may be a bit weird, but realizes the importance of being me. And what did I have to lose? The worst thing that could happen is that I got rejected. Since I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, it really didn’t matter whether or not they liked me.

From that moment I decided to always be true to myself, as well with the people around me. I made it my goal to be accepting of others and make them feel welcome when they are around me. I wanted to be the poster child for the slogan “what you see is what you get.” I never wanted anyone to look at me and smile, but wonder deep down of my true intentions.

Somewhere through my life I made the greatest friends a guy could ask for. Whether I was popular or not, who knows. All that matters is that I had a lot of friends and couldn’t ask for more. To this day, following the crowd has never been a problem. If I see someone trying to follow me, I am quick to remind them to be themselves. Be an individual. Be the person that makes you so happy the world can’t help but smile on you. Because being someone your not is a cowardly way to hide your true identity.

I believe being an individual is the only way to make our lives worth living. I can only do the best for myself and hope that’s enough for you. But if it’s not, I’m definitely okay with that.