Who are you? Before you answer this question, please pause and let me ask you again. Who are you? Wait, don’t give me an answer just yet. Listen to the question I’m asking very carefully. I’m not asking who you are around your parents. I’m not asking who you are at your workplace. I’m not asking who you are around your friends. You know that intimate knowledge you have of yourself that might not be visible to others? That part of yourself? Yes, that is what I want to know. So, I ask once again. Who are you?
For me, realizing that I only live once and the clock is ticking, has been my wakeup call. My youth is fleeting, and very soon, if I am still alive, I would have wrinkles, failing eyesight, aching joints and the other trademarks of old age. As a result, I want to live my young years being the most unapologetic version of myself. Great, huh? Well, it was, but now I’m frustrated. Sigh. I feel this frustration because the road to being my authentic self is riddled with obstacles I did not foresee. Being myself sometimes means going against the normative of society and being aberrant (My blog name!). And choosing to go down that path can be costly.
Yup, costly. Let me give you a couple of scenarios (not necessarily personal) so that you can understand what I’m saying better. How much of yourself can you be around the people who give you financial security? Especially if there is a mould you are expected to emulate and you turn out to be the exact opposite? How do you become yourself in an environment where beliefs clash, morals deviate, and ideologies are divergent? As the Ghanaian slang says, you may decide to “tear chain.” But let’s look more closely at that. If you were to become independent and refuse to succumb to their expectations of you, how would you fare if they refuse to allow you to lodge in their house any longer? What if they ask you to pay your own fees? What if the livelihood of your survival is cut? And bear in mind, you do not have a steady income or job. Would you decide to conform for a few more years till you can be financially independent? But if you opt to do that, would you be betraying your true self?
I guess I’m addressing all the parts of ourselves which are ingrained into our identities but are unacceptable in places we find ourselves in. What do we do? How do we remain unapologetically ourselves in situations where pretence is the key to our sustenance?
I don’t know. You tell me because this is the roadblock I have hit in my journey to being unapologetically myself. Sigh.