Always Be Yourself, Unless You Can Be Beyonce

If you clicked on this in disbelief, all I can say is that I warned you: I was only 75% joking about the Beyonce thing.

The second post after you share that you’re starting a blog is a bit nerve-wracking. I realized after that first one that I have no idea what I’m doing. A few people asked me, “What are you going to be writing about?” to which I promptly responded, “Shoot. I have no idea. Why did I even start this blog to begin with? What the hell was I thinking?!” General panic ensued, until I got some unexpected help from The Queen. Queen B, that is. 

I was perusing Etsy for a print to add to my (incredibly basic) wall of inspiration, when I came across this. 

It killed me. Mostly because it’s hilarious (and true), but also because the sentiment is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve found myself in a frenzy trying to do the right thing, say the right thing, and be the right person (whatever that means) in so many situations. I’ve found myself striving and straining, desperately trying to maintain a version of myself that's smart enough, funny enough, and hard working enough. Sounds fun, right?

Regardless of who we are and what we do, we're all plagued by a few simple questions. Am I loved? Am I accepted? Am I worthy of other people’s attention and appreciation? These are the questions that keep us up at night and cause us to dye our hair weird colors sometimes. They're the questions that cause us to date people that aren’t good for us, wear clothes that don’t fit us right, and get tattoos that we regret in a few years (don’t worry Mom, I didn’t get one – yet). And yet, instead of throwing these horribly destructive questions out the window, we keep circling them – over and over and over again, until we’re so tired that we don’t know who we are anymore. We let our true selves become shadowed and clouded over, because we’re afraid that if someone knew what they looked like, they just wouldn’t want to stay.

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The ridiculous thing about this is that when someone accepts a distorted and carefully curated version of me, they’re not really accepting ME. So the amount of joy and the depth of connection I get to experience decreases as a result of all my striving.

In one of my favorite books from this past year, Scary Close, Donald Miller writes, "It costs personal fear to be authentic, but the reward is integrity -- and by that I mean a soul fully integrated, no difference between his act and his actual person. Having integrity is about being the same person on the inside that we are on the outside, and if we don't have integrity, life becomes exhausting."

I love this because it reminds me that when I’m exhausted, perhaps I should check to see whether I’m really being myself. Am I embracing the person that God created me to be – with all of my gifts, dreams, weaknesses and failures? Am I allowing that person to be seen and known by the world? Or am I trying to put together a version of myself that might be more appealing to certain people, in a desperate attempt to find some rest?

As often as I possibly can, I want to choose to be real with myself and others. I want to be the kind of person that accepts people no matter where they’re at or what they’re going through – because I think if we were all a little more genuine, we might find a little more peace.

Unless, of course, we could somehow all be like Beyonce.