One of the most common and cliched pieces of advice you will ever hear is to be yourself. It comes from all directions, your family, your friends, your idols, your crush, etc. And yet we still don’t follow it, at least not really.
When it comes to how we present ourselves to the world now and how we want to be seen, we always end up repackaging ourselves for someone else’s gaze one way or another. Silencing your opinions, switching up your look, talking differently, “rebranding”. This is especially true for those on social media like myself who use it as a tool for their goals and platform, specifically creatives. We all want to be seen, to be noticed, to blow up, to be put on, to climb that ladder. There's no shame in that at all. But how can you achieve that if you have shame in yourself and who you really are?
If nothing else, I have a big mouth. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve tried to simmer down and partially silence myself as to not come off as too abrasive and opinionated out of fear of potentially ruining my future, because people hate loud-mouthed Black girls who are also smart. But obviously what kind of life would I be living if I lived out of fear of offending people and making some people dislike me? People will always remind you that there are those who are higher up (and no I don’t mean your dead grandparents) who are watching, there are opportunities and such that you can lose out on just for being yourself.
I still struggle with that logic because on one hand, you’re right. That will always be true because you will always need to be careful with what you say and how you say it when you’re a public figure, or aiming to be one in whatever field. I also think more people need to realize that there’s a difference between being problematic and actually being bigoted with opinions and beliefs that are harmful to other people. Technically speaking, if we're using the word "problematic" the way it's supposed to be used, me saying I don’t like your fave because they’re annoying and boring is problematic at best, but nobody was harmed and the world keeps turning. Expressing sentiments of transphobia, homophobia, blatant racism, etc. would be a whole different story and shows it's definitely time for you to shut the fuck up and reevaluate yourself. You see what I mean?
On the other hand, I think I’d like to challenge the belief that we should constantly be repackaging ourselves if we want to be seen and picked up. Whenever I think of myself as being too much, whether it’s being too opinionated, blunt, honest, raunchy, etc. I think of women like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Tiffany Haddish who’ve made it big from openly being themselves and people love them for it. They don’t need to change a thing because their brand is literally themselves. It’s that easy.
Now I don’t like Cardi B but I’m just using her as a case study as well because it’s clear to see how her funny and unfiltered nature has won plenty of folks over and probably isn’t stopping a bag for her any time soon, no matter how messy and inappropriate you might think she is. Same for Tiffany Haddish. Her personality is a showstopper and people love her because of it, not in spite of it. Rihanna is no stranger to shade, drama, and controversy yet here she is. Out here living her absolute best life with zero fucks given. Never has, never will. I love to use entertainers specifically as examples because like I said, I feel like the whole "watch what you say" thing is very specific to creatives. The whole point of being a creative is expressing yourself and staying true to that, and these women, along with plenty of others, can teach you a thing or two about that if you really watch closely.
What happened to the days of encouraging folks to actually be and freely express themselves? We’ve now created a culture where everyone is now afraid to live their truth, creating a bunch of goodie two-shoe, squeaky clean carbon copies of boring ass people with no personalities or opinions on anything for public figures. Everybody is fine with silencing and compartmentalizing themselves for a check and clout. From the outside looking in, a lot of these people have nothing interesting about them to set them apart from everyone else. What is it that we're really afraid of at this point? Losing money? Cause it's really a free for all at this point in my opinion, with the way things are going in this world.
People are reckless and are still getting their bag. You will constantly see me in my posts referring to trash individuals in the entertainment industry who are criminals, delinquents, and menaces to society but also millionaires that are popular and that people love, as I make my points. Not to say that it's okay to be a rapist or a pedophile of course, but rather to show you that being yourself is not the worse thing in the world that you can be. It's just not that deep. Because the truth is, there will always be someone willing to take you on if you just show them you're worth it really. If you have something good to offer, Being your loud, goofy, shady, funny self is not the end of the world when there are niggas like 6ix9ine or whatever the fuck getting coins and have fans despite him being a lame ass poser and pedophile. Do you see what I'm saying? You could be worse, but you are not. You're literally fine, my nigga. You're nothing like these monsters, so don't make yourself feel as though you are.
People have become afraid to be themselves out of fear of losing deals, opportunities, sponsorships, etc., but I feel like it's pretty damn easy to prosper, be yourself, and be a decent person. I'm personally tired of feeling like I need to be careful with everything I do and say, living as though I'm being surveillanced 24/7. I made a promise to myself that I would make it while also staying true to myself and not being afraid to do so. I want to live my life as freely as possible without any constraints and I'm going to, because I said so.