Hannah’s Guide to Being Yourself

Be yourself.

No one gives a shit.

That’s right. You heard me. You’re in the big wide world now, and no one cares what you were in high school. No one cares if you went to college, or where you went. No one cares if you were popular, or if you were in greek life, or even if your parents are rich. (Well, some people do, but those people are idiots). 

No one cares if you’re a total weirdo, either. Because most everyone is. And the world is so big that I absolutely guarantee you can find other weirdos. 

In high school, my friends and family mocked me for being an angsty, brooding, vampire. Now, this was in part because I was secretly clinically depressed and was actually often brooding. 

But part of it was simply my taste in music, the fact that I remained quiet on long car rides, that I wanted alone time, that I wrote and drew constantly, and the fact that I didn’t much enjoy the beach or large crowds. All of which are perfectly normal attributes. 

There were other parts of me that were mocked, parts that didn’t fit in with my vampire persona but were put in some other category: my love of musical theater and Disney, my obsession with romantic couples from my TV shows and youtube videos of their most dramatic scenes, my passion for identifying clothes from Teen Wolf and then buying the exact same thing. 

You probably have other weird passions. Maybe you were Justin Bieber’s biggest fan way too late. Maybe you really liked action figures or Harry Potter. I don’t know, and I don’t care. Nobody really does. Nobody is going to point at you and call you names. Because we all have different interests. And you’ll probably find others with your interests. Even if you don’t, you can keep up with them. If your new friends ask what you’re doing, you can totally say that you’re attending Comic-Con in a giant Groot costume. Maybe you’ll find out that they’re also attending with their dog dressed as Rocket. Or maybe they’ll just say “cool” and you’ll move on. 

What I’m saying is it’s no use being anyone but yourself. It’s no use abandoning interests just because once someone mocked you for them. You’re going to miss out on friends that actually share your interests. 

A story: I was a friendless college freshman desperate to make friends. I had a whole new California wardrobe and blonde hair, hoping that it would make me fit in. When two pretty girls from my sorority invited me to go out with them, I couldn’t believe my luck. They talked like valley girls and wore cute crop tops, so I dutifully curled my hair in beachy waves and put on a lace bralette and tight skirt, and raised my voice a few octaves. I showed up at their dorm room and used the word “like” a lot, all while silently begging “please like me”. 

Turns out one of the girls had left Harvard to come to UCLA, and the two of them spent most of the pregame talking about modern psychology. 

I loved psychology. I took AP psychology in high school. I had a number of experiences and thoughts to share. 

But instead, I kept acting like a Valley Girl, and when I realized how wrong it was, worried I would seem fake by being myself. 

They never invited me out again. I had come across as an idiot. 

My point is that you have no idea who you’re talking to, no matter what they look or sound like. I thought my best friend was an innocent Nice Girl for an entire YEAR before I realized she had a similarly dirty sense of humor, an almost identical taste in music, and disliked the EXACT same girls in our sorority as I did. 

Be yourself. Blabber on about Doctor Who if that’s your thing. If they judge you, why would you want them as a friend anyways? Plus, if you can’t find any common ground with them – any shared interests – it’s going to be a boring friendship.

Just be yourself. Even if no one likes it, at least you’ll keep the things you’re passionate about in your life.

And you NEED to have things you’re passionate about. Even if that thing is Puzzles or I Love Lucy reruns. Because you’re going to be broke, and you’re probably not going to love your job, so you’ll need something. And you’re also going to want to be uniquely yourself. It’ll carry you through adulthood, if you know who you are and are unashamed about what you think and what you like, it’ll give you confidence no guide book ever could. 

That is where I start my advice. 

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