its okay to be you

June 8, 2009
By joseph narovlianski BRONZE, Brooklyn, New York
joseph narovlianski BRONZE, Brooklyn, New York
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Of the last 3 years that I’ve actually begun to understand sociality, I’ve met a number of people and various personalities. With every person I met, I kept misunderstanding how I should act around them. I was always worried about how people would interpret me; I never wanted to be, and still don’t want to be, known as the annoying, dorky, quiet, or stupid kid, yet I didn’t know how to act so that I could avoid these negative labels. Thus, I decided to imitate the way “cool” kids acted, but then I realized that I might be known for mimicking other people. My personality began being molded by the people I met; if I met someone who I thought was funny or suave, I would end up using them as an example for how I should act. But only since this year, have I realized that it’s okay to be myself. Contemplating whether your next action will embarrass you is a struggle, and unfortunately happens with many teenagers. But I want teens like myself to realize that your true friends will love that you are different, they will appreciate that you bring something original to the table. Making a corny joke and experiencing the awkward silence it causes isn’t as strong a self-esteem killer as trying to pretend to be someone you’re not; since you can’t be truly happy for being accepted for acting unnaturally, your “friends” may as well like a different person.
However, I don’t believe it is irrational to think that you have to act like the crowd to be accepted, most people want to fit in with the people around them, and so it could be said that people are afraid to be themselves. But recently, I’ve come to realize that it is practically dehumanizing to restrict your true personality, it takes away from your identity; my personality is a combination of what I like from other peoples’ personalities, and of course I mixed some things I thought of myself. I decided if any people don’t except who I am as a person, especially if it is because I act differently from them, then they do not deserve to be a part of my life, and as opposed to trying to fit in with these people, I simply move on to find a group which will accept the way I am. Even though it may be hard to do, I feel it is necessary to ignore incepting people because their reasoning is something you cannot change. You are not in charge of satisfying your peers, the only person who should be happy with your personality is yourself, and the people who do accept you are the people you should try your best to keep in your life.
I learned a lot about identity from my friend jerry. He is someone who I think is very in touch with himself. one Saturday night, he had a birthday dinner to go to. When I saw the way he was dressed I was astonished at his nerve; he wore sunglasses and a sweater vest, which is usually seen as “gay” from the point of view from our group of friends. When I questioned his outfit, he told me “I’m just doing my thing, man”. I look up to jerry for realizing that it only matters that he is okay with the way he dresses, and that other peoples’ opinions are irrelevant. As it turned out, our friends did end up teasing him, but he still went on with the night being the same funny jerry he is every time I hang out with him. Even though they teased him, the group still has love for jerry, the way he dresses only shows his individuality compared to the rest. I wish that from the beginning I would be comfortable with myself, I’m sure it would have taken a lot of stress off my self-esteem. Sadly however, throughout junior high school and the last two years of high school, I always stressed about whether I looked similar enough to the “cool kids”. Confidence is key when socializing with others, jerry displayed his confidence by being different, thus jerry contributed to how being you is the best way to be.
Overall, its normal to want to fit in with a particular group, but what’s most important is to understand who you are, individually; one must know what sets him apart from the crowd and that its okay to be different. I am me, and I am okay with it. Listening to music that I didn’t enjoy, just to be thought of as cool isn’t worth my time. I want to be able to enjoy life the way I am satisfied, I gave up on trying to satisfy others because I simply don’t care what others think. As long as I’m happy with the person I know I am, nothing else matters. From twelve years old my friend’s father always told me, every time I passed by him, “Joe, remember, keep in touch with yourself.” I’ve questioned that saying every time I heard it until merely a few months ago, and now I’ve recognized that keeping in touch with you, is the most important part of progressing through life healthily. Thus, I believe that every person, especially if you’re a teenager, should keep in touch with himself, and recognize your own identity.

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