Monday, February 08, 2010

Today is the first day of the rest of this blog.

I am really moved by all of the comments people made on my last post. Life is always such a paradox. The minute we stop struggling so hard, whether in love, parenting, or even blogging, is often the minute that what we want comes to us. In order to write something that resonated with other people, I had to stop trying to write what I thought might resonate with other people. I had to, as mothers have told their children forever, "be myself."

I know all of this. So why is it so easy to forget? How can it possibly be so difficult to be yourself? Because it is. It really is.

I went in search of an e.e. cummings quote I once heard on being yourself, and here's a few I found along the way:

Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep. ~Samuel Johnson

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away. ~Raymond Hull

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. ~Oscar Wilde

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss

Most of our faults are more pardonable than the means we use to conceal them. ~François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Just being yourself, being who you are, is a successful rebellion. ~Author Unknown

And the quote I was looking for:

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955

If it weren't so hard, if it were just something that came naturally, than I suppose there wouldn't be so many people encouraging us to do it. The strangest thing, to me, is that for centuries great men and women, poets and artists, admirable people from all walks of life, they've all been telling us: Here's how I did it. Here is how I became great. Because I didn't care what other people thought, I cultivated a character that could withstand life's storms, I worked hard, and I ferociously fought to be an authentic version of myself. We have been provided with a blueprint! And still we try to do it the easy way. Get on a reality show. Be really hot and wear cool clothes. Have the right profession, say the right thing, be in the right place at the right time. We don't have to be great, just famous. Because famous is great.

I am teetering on my soapbox here, so I'm going to climb off. I'm just feeling really passionate these days about things I have lost, the biggest one being me. That happens a lot. But I'm on the mend, off to find it again. Fight the good fight! (insert fist pump here)


Annje said...

Great quotes. This is something I ponder sometimes... the authentic self and I guess my real question is this: is there really an inauthentic self? I mean, I get the whole follow your passions and think for yourself and do things for yourself rather than trying to make other people happy... and I definitely think pretense is inauthentic, but this "trying on" of other people, testing out qualities, the fear of rejection, the wanting to fit in and be like others, I actually think that is quite authentically human... and I think that is one of the ways that people change, for better or worse. Plus, some people are so authentically mean and selfish and shallow that I often wonder if the real rebellion, the real battle is to much much better than your authentic self.

I don't know, just musings I've had today since reading this.

Annje said...

"to BE much better", is what I meant to say there at the end.

Marie-Ève said...

You will find yourself again, if only little by little... I have absolutely no doubts about that!