I’m working on it: The discovery

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Photo by Kiana Kamalu

By Amanda Lee, Web columnist

Who are you? Have you ever looked deeply at yourself and wondered who you are? People are different all the time, every day. We act differently with our parents than we do with our friends or with our teachers.

But, how do we discover who we are behind all that? What are the things that stick to us and hold true no matter where we are or who we’re with.

A lot of the time, I wish that someone would just tell me. Give me a list of my personality traits, the things I’m good at, a detailed description of who I am.

I don’t have time to go soul-searching. I have college essays and scholarships breathing down my neck, and they all ask one very important question: “Who are you?”

I wish I had that list handy so I could give it to them, and then they’d have all the answers, too, but sadly that’s not how it works.

Discovering and becoming yourself is one of the hardest things a person has to do. Throughout life, we strive to be mainstream. People buy the clothes that are “popular”, they eat at the “cool” places, and they only do the “in” thing.

We spend so much of our lives trying to be like everyone else that we forget about who we are.  People throw themselves into fitting in because standing out is too scary. Being ourselves is too risky.

I believe people are naturally cautious. This fear that we possess isn’t necessarily bad. It holds us back from doing the stupid and reckless things, which in turn keeps us safe (and off YouTube).

But, this fear can sometimes smother our sense of self. It can hide it away so deep behind images of popularity that it will take years for you to discover who you really are again.

In order to discover who you truly are, you have to shed the stereotypes, the insecurities, and the facades you’ve put up in order to seem more appealing and more socially acceptable.

People weren’t meant to be socially acceptable; they weren’t meant to be everyone’s best friend. They were built to be themselves, their own persons. They were meant to be individuals.

The journey towards self-discovery is lonely. It begins when you reflect on your values and beliefs without getting a second opinion. It is a chance to focus completely on you.

In this journey, there is no one to impress. You don’t have any standards to live up to. All that exists is you.

Breaking away from every reputation you’ve ever held, every stereotype you’ve ever been labeled, and every image you’ve ever reinvented yourself into is life-shattering.

But, it’s a chance to become someone so unique, so different and crazy, that it’s perfection. It’s a risky, daring, scary, and beautiful chance to be who you were always meant to be: yourself.

Don’t be afraid to take a hard look in the mirror and wipe away the make-up, the fancy clothes, the hair accessories, and see who you really are.

Every day, I am finding it’s easier to shed a little layer of mainstream protection to find the true me.

Who knows, by the end of the year I may have my list, cranking out its contents onto applications into the late hours of the night in the hopes that people will like what they see and give me free money.

Best of luck to you on your own journeys of self-discovery, and don’t be afraid of the reflection. You won’t break any mirrors–I promise.