Be Yourself. The meaning is supposedly simple: Don’t live by other’s standards or rules and don’t try to please others. Easy peasy, right?
Sure. No pressure. There’s only family, peers, work, social media, and society. Even in writing, the solitary endeavor can be a struggle to remain true to oneself. Your voice evolves and changes as you grow and learn, sometimes until you strip away who you are and fall into a funk. Books and webinars meant to improve skill can be applied until you’re afraid to write another word for fear of offending something or someone. How can you win?
“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.” ― Rita Mae Brown
Family is perhaps the toughest to navigate. No one wants to feel as if they’ve disappointed someone they love, but that works both ways, doesn’t it? I’m an optimist, always looking and believing in the silver lining, but I am also a realist, accepting that despite our evolution from the animal kingdom, and probably in spite of our so-called “higher learning abilities,” human beings are most vicious of all. Expectation, opinions, and tightly-held beliefs are like a vice to the head and heart of so many. But we must fight for ourselves. No one else can.
When I look at my journey, I feel like I’ve done a good job of growing in many aspects. Of course, it didn’t happen overnight and at times I drift in and out, but overall, I am happy with who I am and I believe that’s the key. I still have work to do and that will continue. Remaining stagnant is a recipe for failure and discontent. It’s not about perfection. In this crazy world, finding a balance that leaves you feeling good about yourself when you’re alone, without awards or someone’s approval, is the goal. Your life is not about what others want for you. If my prodding isn’t enough, listen to Beyoncé.
Remember, we are all beautiful, complicated works in progress and our personal journeys are wonderful, even when a single moment feels like a breaking point. So this year, resolve to capture joy in at least one area you feel is lacking because you have compromised your truth. Choose realistic goals, like standing up to family, pursuing education or career, wearing pants instead of a dress because that’s what you really prefer…no goal, no change, is too big or small. Do that thing so-and-so said was weird but you’ve always wanted to do it. Write the story the way you want to write it. Heck, eat that candy bar for breakfast once in a while if that’s what you want.
Taking the first step may be scary, and sometimes even difficult, but nothing will ever change if you don’t do it yourself. No one else can give you what you seek. I wish you all much success and a healthy, happy 2019. Last but not least, remember- “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
From old west gunslingers to a love that transcends time and space, S.W. Andersen delivers sapphic romances where love knows no boundaries. Her novels include the best-selling lesbian romances, Love By Design, and Switchback. Her latest release, This Time, explores the strength of love through many lifetimes.
S.W. has always been attracted to stories that depict independent, determined, capable women. A romantic at heart, her characters are rooted in hope and perseverance. Her love of mountains, horses, sports, whiskey, and chocolate are alive and well in her novels.