Look for me where rules are broken and conventions subverted,
Where life is lived by the moment and breaths are not counted,
Where nobody gives a shit about the number of times you’ve failed,
Because you’re yourself, and that’s the best you can ever be.
After years of keeping my head down and struggling to fit in, I finally rid myself of that pointless worrying about the way I am perceived by non-entities who are only too eager to imprison me with glares of disapproval and torture my soul with thoughtless remarks as odious as an errant egg fart in an overcrowded room. It’s not that I don’t want to be loved, but I have learned that I won’t die because one more person doesn’t like me (my hair, my crooked teeth, or the way my jeans are always slimmer than ‘normal’). I don’t care, so I don’t fuss over being accepted and I’ve never been better.
I celebrate my freedom with both middle fingers flashing repeatedly at the world (mentally, because it’s more fun when you do it in slow motion with a backing soundtrack playing in your head). Those two are memorials to all the fucks I will never be able to give because I willingly let go of the capacity to care about things of no consequence, including the unsolicited opinions of individuals who are of less value to me than the shelter of a blade of grass in a thunderstorm.
Believe me, I know what it’s like to feel compelled to justify the actions you take for your own self, to apologise even when you’ve done nothing wrong, to accept more crap from people than a communal pit latrine. That’s not humility, it’s suffering, and there are jail cells far more comfortable than this position.
If you let them, people (and the fear of them) will keep you small and barely human, just another broken spirit in their display case of broken spirits. But only if you let them. You always have a choice, and the power to:
1. Reject the damned cage. You’re not an animal.
2. Speak up when you feel wronged. Speak, I said, not send an email.
3. Wear sweatpants to a wedding. Or skip it completely if you can’t be bothered.
4. Call people out on their bullshit. Cowards are unattractive.
5. Let the colours clash. Style is personal.
6. Not start a sentence with “I’m sorry, but…” Get right to the point.
7. Say no to whatever. There are few things more liberating.
8. End an abusive relationship (with a partner, an employer or a family member).
9. Respect yourself so much that people will respect you.
10. Decide how your story will be told.
There’s not much that anyone can do about you fighting for what’s yours: the right to be happy, respected and fulfilled.
It’s your life. Start living it, don’t just get by.