What does “Be Me. Be Natural” mean? No idea.
When I made that phrase my tagline, I had not thought deeply of the meaning behind. It just sounded right. It sounded mysterious and philosophical.
So I put it there.
Today I had an ah-ha moment. Nothing tumultuous happened. There was no spectacular comet shower. I was sitting at home in my pajamas, staring into space, and the ephemeral flash came – and went so quickly I had to jot it down before it disappeared again.
The phrase signifies my continuous strive to merge the private self into the public persona.
Through the days of perpetual anguish and self-flagellation that my existence was a mistake, depression prevailed. But it prevailed for a reason. It told me that something was not right in my life. Something needed change.
Was it the job? The relationship? The city I lived it?
Perhaps. But those were not the ultimate aspects.
I needed to change. I needed to stop putting on a mask. I needed to accept who I was – both the good bits and the bad bits, and accept the fact that the bad bits were not too bad. Everyone has his or her devilish domains.
For so many years, I strived to live up to an image, an expectation, and a reputation. I wanted to be liked, to be loved, and to be adored. I read all this literature about what a leader and manager should be like, what kind of girl can keep a man, and what obligations I must uphold as a daughter.
The world cherishes positive qualities, but of course, for who would not prefer to be in the company of someone who was calm, collected, humorous, and friendly, and to work with someone who was organized, confident, efficient, a team player and communicated clearly?
So I focused on establishing those qualities, improving them, and becoming better in those aspects. At the same time, I practiced suppressing the impatient impulses, the tantrums, the rage and sarcasm at stupidity, and the I-do-not-actually-care-what-you-are-wearing-today stoic expressions in lieu of the sociable, happy, bubbly me.
We exhibit the qualities we believe are called for. We censor the less desirable traits. Human nature. Understandable.
Not many people like to talk about stress, death, suicides, depression, anxiety, panic attacks. So we reword and focus on “how to be happy,” “how to live a fulfilling life,” how to find purpose,” “how to build rainbows”… Those are important too but need not be at the expense of ignoring the challenges, the negative emotions, and the challenges we face.
Unless we confront them, confront those facets of us we consider ugly, we are only sweeping what needs to be resolved under the carpet until one day we trip over the bulge that is not so hidden.
That was what happened to me. I lost myself. I fell over my own self. I forgot I had other characteristics that were also me, and defined me. It was okay to be me and hated once in a while.
Anger, sadness, agony, frustration, stress, rage, disappointment, diffidence, indifference… no one likes to talk to about them or dwell into the emotion. Each time I was sad someone was bound to tell me, “Just be happy! Forget those things! Don’t think like that! Many are less fortunate than you…” and I would feel guilty to pursue an understanding of why I felt sad. But what is wrong with appreciating the reasons behind my intense sorrow?
Those were signals from the universe, my body and my mind and soul converging to tell me I needed to makes changes in my life and unless I understand the signals, how would I know what to change?
So first step was to empathize and embrace my own emotions and qualities – all of them. Only then will I know who I am in private.
Second step then, is to be my private self even in public. And not to be afraid of doing so.
I will not always be able to smile at your nonsensical and irrelevant banter because sometimes I get tired too. And sometimes, I simply am not interested in how much money you spent buying another Ferrari. I was hoping to discuss the Third World War and sustainability issues with you. Thus, forgive me if I stop putting on my smiling mask. I am showing you, the real me.
That is the power of being me, being natural. That, is the power of change depression could initiate…
May my efforts be appreciated…
What masks do you wear everyday? For how much longer will you wear your masks?