I’m a week into my travels and I have had a strange, but potentially life changing revelation. Now in all honesty, this could simply be because of my jet lag induced sleeping habits and complete lack of coffee shop bliss. But, being on the other side of the planet has created this feeling of exclusion which has fostered a new yet cliche way of thinking. Being distant from the craziness at home and the ever flowing wifi signal has made me feel a bit like an outsider, which has almost completely erased my fear of what other people think. That ever present idea that everyone actually hates me and is annoyed by everything I do has disappeared and this
“My dear, I don’t give a damn.” (-Margaret Mitchell)
mentality has taken its place. All those opinions seem far away and completely insignificant and it’s not just because I’m on another continent that they feel this way. It’s because they actually are completely insignificant.
Everyone and their mother has heard this before. You know, that inspirational quote saying other people’s opinions don’t mater and you should just do what makes you happy blah blah blah. The problem is that while those words are rushing at you, so is this ever present stream of expectations, judgements, and forced opinions that seem to be saying the opposite. Seeing your life from a distance helps put things into perspective. Everything seems ginormous up close, but once you get the opportunity to step back and see that your mountain is actually just an ant hill, you realize that you’re a lot bigger than that thing you were so scared of.
Now, I’m not saying you need to hop on a plane to some uncharted land in the middle of the desert. This distance can be achieved by simple switching your phone to airplane mode, or taking a long drive without the accompaniment of the radio. It’s crazy difficult, at least for me, to get away from the world for a second. This idea of “alone time” is never reached without the constant fear of being forgotten. You have to overcome that pressure of always posting. Take just a moment to yourself and keep it off snapchat. Alone time doesn’t need to be documented, it needs to be lived
Oscar Wilde was spot on when he wrote,
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
Here is the end goal. The realization that you can do whatever you want without worrying what people think. You don’t have to live the life others will be comfortable with. You don’t have to follow those “unspoken Instagram rules”. You can wear dresses everyday even though you know you’ll get the underhanded “why are you so dressed up?” comment.
You can be passionate.
There is this stigma, especially in high school, that you should never care “too” much. And you must alway carry with you the appropriate air of apathy. Be unapologetic when it comes to what you love. There will always be someone with something to say, but If you want to wear those heels or constantly carry around that DSLR, do it. When you are doing what you love, you tend to love more. By that I mean, those who fixate on what others are doing typically aren’t doing anything other than that. We have to work together to create a culture built on building others up.
This is over stated and I really don’t know if it will help anyone out, but I know this fear. It can stop you in your tracks and demand your happiness. I can’t express enough how much weight is lifted when you simply do what you love and make choices based on what will bring you joy. People are attracted to those who don’t question themselves and are confident in what they do. You would be surprised with how much others will appreciate your passion.
I’ll end with this: Never hold yourself back because of the fear of what others will think. And never forget the sharp and inspiring words of Coco Chanel,
“I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”