For the last 18 years of my life I have heard on repeat from multiple sources, cheesy quotes like, “There is nothing better than being you”, “Love who you are!”, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken!” Oh, and let us not forget my personal favourite “Be who you are meant to be!”
At first hearing these words empowered me to frantically look for the person I was born to be! But now these quotes are stuck! They’re almost tattooed behind my eyelids.
You might be thinking, ‘Isn’t that a good thing that these self-empowering words are stuck in your head, playing over and over like a lovely tune being sung on a Sunday morning!!?”
The answer to that question is a big fat NO!
It’s more like being stuck on the loop-de-loop part of a rollercoaster ride. Slightly thrilling but dangerously nauseating. These quotes that so strongly have been following me since a very young age (as I believe other teenagers as well) have put a negative example in my mind. These quotes are telling me that I was born with likes, dislikes, purpose and attitude already installed in me and that the only goal I have in this life time is to figure out what they are. Even worse this tells me that if I don’t like something about myself I have no hope in changing it because that is just who I am.
Seems a bit controlling, no? If I were to follow “who I was meant to be” it would be very strictly influenced by the celebrities that I admired when I was twelve, and those celebrities really aren’t the best role models (Yes, I’m talking about you Miley!) In trying to “find myself” at the age of twelve I’d be stuck in the finding yourself cycle that consists of following in someone else’s footsteps.
May those footsteps be a celebrities or your moms, you don’t want your life to be based on others’ life’s because then you’re left with the question of is it really your life? Or just a mutation of someone else’s life? You see, I’m really starting to believe that life is not about “finding yourself” or being the person you were “meant to be” but instead it’s about creating the person you WANT to be!
Image Credit: Scott Norris
Creating v.s. Finding
I think life is really about waking up in the morning and making choices that YOU want to make, not choices that have been influenced by quotes, and your family and society. It is about deciding if you want to go for a run this morning, or sleep in. It is about wanting to be vegan or pescatarian or neither! It’s about deciding if you want to go to college and have a 9 to 5 being a doctor, an engineer or a teacher or a banker or a dentist or if you want to skip college and learn from your passion being a painter, a writer, a film maker, a photographer, an actress.
Life is about whatever it is that YOU want to do. I strongly encourage that from now on we don’t tell young children and ourselves to “be who we are meant to be” but instead to “create and decide who we want to be“. Not only does creating oneself give us a wider spectrum of choices and outcomes but it encourages us to try new things, let go of old habits and take on new challenges.
Starting today I challenge you to put down your magnifying glass and stop your search and to pick up your sketching pad and start building the person you have always wanted to become.
words by | Alexia Estrada
Location | Las Vegas, Nevada
Instagram | sea_ale