I’m not making a statement, I’m just figuring out who I am

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Alright here’s a secret…
If I show up to a party with a christmas sweater in July, i’m not making a statement that we need to be festive year round. Maybe it’s just all I had left in my closet, and it’s comfortable okay?
If I’m drinking fair trade coffee in a mason jar, it’s not because i’m a ‘hipster’ that thinks large coffee corporations are evil and the world is a bad place. I just happen to like mason jars and think it’s cool that some companies choose to pay their employees enough money to live, or maybe I bought it by accident, it doesn’t matter.

I’m tired of being labeled for things that I want to just be able to do. I’m tired of having to decide if i’m feeling up for getting attention or whether I’ll just act normally and avoid it. I’m tired of having to figure out what’s normal so I can try to comply with it.

Being different isn’t about standing out, it’s about making it okay for others to be different. It’s about acting on your innate uniqueness. It’s about just being who you are, not because you are expecting other people to notice.
It’s about opening up the idea for people to express their individuality and not feel like they have to be absorbed by what’s popular. We all go through periods of really wanting to fit in, but for the vast majority struggle to feel accepted, I believe that choosing to be different can allow other people to see that it’s okay.
I often find myself in between two options:
On one hand, i don’t want to be stared at everytime I walk into a room, however I also desperately don’t want to be grouped together with every other person, until I feel like I have completely lost myself and am just a product of whomever i’m with the most.

I like being barefoot. I don’t do it because I don’t have shoes, or because I want to be ‘different’. In fact, much of the I won’t go barefoot simply because it’s not ‘normal’.
Really, I just like the feeling of the ground under my feet, and I feel more free. That’s all. Sometimes I wish I didn’t live in Canada, where for half the year that’s not possible.

If you see me around, and I’m doing or wearing something weird, no I won’t be offended if you comment about it, but just know that i’m not making a statement. Unless that statement is
“I like this so I’m wearing it.”
Many of these references include clothing, which I absolutely do not see as the ‘be all and end all’ of your identity and label. However I do think it’s the easiest for us to relate to, and I personally identify with the daily battle of deciding whether my clothing choices will be ‘ordinary’ or not.

If you’ve ever written an exam you might know the feeling of walking into a room with rows of empty desks, sitting down to the paper in front of you, along with hundreds of other students. In that moment, you are a number. you are just a student who needs a certain grade to pass this exam. Your skills, interests, passions, none of that matters at this moment. It’s all about how much you memorized, how much sleep you got, and how much information you can spew out of your mind in the allotted two hours.
I wish that our lives would look much differently. I don’t want to follow every fashion trend so that I’ll fit in, and comply with every ‘normal’ pattern of behavior just so I’m not noticed as being different.
I think that the more people know that they have the ability to do it, the less they will feel like they are ‘making a statement’ and the more you can just embrace the things that you love. If people will be so quick to assume that you are ‘making a statement’ then that’s their fault for being so close-minded.

I think we all want to experience the freedom of our uniqueness, but only some will.

It’s not about ‘trying’ to be different, because the fact is, you ARE different. You are not, and never have been, the same as everyone else so don’t feel like you need to be.
If you want to walk around in barefeet. DO IT.
If you want to have a pet penguin, DO IT. (probably not realistic, but it’d be totally cool)
If you want to [insert societally unordinary behavior here], DO IT.
It doesn’t matter what it is. Just go for it, please.
Because if everyody is trying to be the same thing we’re going to end up being nothing at all.
Yes, people will try and put a label on you. It’s what we do. We like to know how to categorize things and put them in a box. I do it too.

Not everything has to be that easy. Be free to explore what you like and who you want to be. It will be scary at first, but I promise you it will get easier.
As my friend Hannah said to me one time when I was fearful of wearing a dress and getting unwanted attention (because I normally wear grungy clothes not because I think i’ll look smokin’)
“Don’t let them put you in a box … just be yourself”

Embrace your differences, so others can do the same.

Comment here!
Tell me about a time you did something you really wanted to, even though you knew people would think it was weird, what was it and what was the outcome?
Think of something that RIGHT NOW you want to do but don’t want too stand out or be labeled. DO IT. and tell me about it!!

BE DIFFERENT. IT’S WHO YOU ARE.

Photo Attribution: Keith Chastain

Stay Inside The Lines

Here is a story. It’s about life, and how sometimes we lose our confidence to stand out. How we forget to embrace our uniqueness and live passionately. I hope you are encouraged by it!

Stay Inside The Lines

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“Here is your book, colour it as you like,” They told me.

I had crayons, colours and a wild imagination so I got to it.
I drew everywhere, in the lines, and out, it didn’t matter. Everything was beautiful, and it was mine. Each page was my canvas and the possibilities were endless.
The paper shook as I furiously scribbled, the corners crumpled as I worked, splayed out on the ground with my legs swinging back and forth. Back and forth.
I held it up proudly, and squealed with glee as it was stuck to the fridge. I did that.
My masterpiece.

“Try staying inside the lines,” They told me.

Confused, but intrigued I gave it a try. A little harder, more focused, but I did it! Inside the lines. It felt good.
I smiled as my new skill was honored over the amateur child’s play that was first to be displayed. This new one was simply incomparable.

“Great job” They told me.

And so I did it again. And again, until I forgot what it meant to go outside the lines. The perfection of the shapes when you just stayed within the guidelines, because weren’t they there so that everything would always work out in the end, if you just followed along?
It was easier, it always looked nice, though it seemed to yield the same thing over and over. But I plodded on, trying to use new colours, new strokes, new combinations.
Each page I turned was a new chance to start over, and I could grab my set and colour away. Oh the variety! There was a lion or a witch, a mermaid or a fish. There were forests and there were oceans, dogs and there were cats. All I had to do was pick my favourite and then the right colours, and it would always turn out okay.
If I just stayed inside the lines.
Pshh! how silly I once was, carelessly letting my hand fly over the page, without careful articulation, no strategic execution of each stroke. This was much better, much better I thought.
But then the shapes, they became words. The animals became paragraphs, and long lists of tasks. The books changed, and so did the colours.

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“Follow along” They told me.

So as my hand would trace the outline, so my fingers would type the right words. I just had to do what i’d always done and it would be alright.
But these weren’t my words, were they? I couldn’t recognize. If I just did as I was told no one would think otherwise. It felt odd, creating the words that were needed to finish the page, even if they weren’t the combination that I might have dreamed. My masterpiece took on a new page, and in each completion I had achieved a new meaning.

“Stay inside the lines,” They told me.

I wasn’t sure what those were anymore. I missed the shapes, the colours, and the freedom. I missed tracing the outline of his face, and shading it in to see it all come together.

“Be someone,” they told me.
“But stay inside the lines.”

Where was my book when I needed it? Where was the constant reminder of where to colour, where to not, and when I had achieved perfection? When I did just that, no one noticed anymore. Everyone else’s pages looked the same, and I wondered why mine would matter at all.
And then one day as I shut the fridge door, my picture fell down, and I looked down to see it resting on the perfectly tiled floor. It wasn’t my best work, not even close. the scribbles were evident, no heeding of lines.
The corners were crumpled, yet smoothed out with time, and the shape was unrecognizable, maybe an animal, or maybe it was the horizon.
At first I saw mistakes, carelessness and lack of skill. But then my mind wandered back to that day, the day when it was a masterpiece.
How could I have forgotten the sheer joy of colouring? the lines were there for guidance, but oh how fun it was to shatter them. That pride of completing something that I had done myself, it didn’t matter that it was messy, it was done like no one else.
I looked it over and saw it as it once was. A canvas.
I wanted it back.

A Canvas.

This thing that I had begun to avoid, for it was it blank, scary and I would have to start from scratch. no lines, no shapes, no ending point. Where do I begin? Where do I end? How do I know if I’m doing it right?
But something about it shouted masterpiece, even before I touched a brush. It was mine. It would be like nothing else. I couldn’t see yet what it would be, but in my mind I could see a thousand things.
Full of fear and apprehension, I picked up that first brush. I had my colours ready to go, all mixed up. This would be it, just like the old days.
And I coloured, I created. It was beautiful, but sometimes it was messy. I couldn’t see where it was going, but I knew where it was at this moment. Sometimes I didn’t have the right colours, or sometimes my hand slipped. Sometimes I put it down to rest, and went back at it once my inspiration clicked. But I knew no one else’s was like this, because this one was truly unique. Maybe this is what I was working towards, maybe this was the point of it all.

“But where are the lines?” They asked me.

Those lines were invisible before, now they didn’t even exist.

What does your life look like right now?
Are you colouring inside the lines? Are you trying to do what’s been asked of you?
Are you stepping out to create a masterpiece of your own?
We all did it at one point, maybe it’s time to realize our ability to create again.

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Email: info@be-loved.net

Blog Title Photo Attribution: Mykl Roventine

Blog Content Photo Attribution: Young Doo

The Fear Of Being Unoriginal

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

– C.S. Lewis

Do you ever fear not being original? Or maybe not being different enough, unique enough?

I have a fear of both of those things. If what I’m doing isn’t completely new then it will lose its significance. If I write a song it should be new, fresh and different. Not like anything anyone has ever heard before.
I should be different, see things differently and do life differently. I often will feel that I need to be unique to be important.

That has been a fear of this blog too. What if I’m doing something that’s already been done? What if somebody has said the same words? What if it’s not original enough?
What if I just don’t do it right?

I was listening to a message at church where they spoke about “remixing”, taking old words and looking at them in new ways. In a way to relate it to current ideas, we looked at it in terms of musical remixes.

‘Taking what’s been done and adding something new so that it’s recognizable, but different’

I listened as someone talked so passionately about hip hop, and how over the years artists have taken what already exists, adding to it and making a new creation. In my mind I often thought of that as copying, why wouldn’t you create something new? I failed to realize that musicians could be pouring their heart into something in order to make it come alive in new ways, to allow them to see it in a new light. In my shallow view of music I had sometimes assumed that those who didn’t create new material would work off of other’s ideas. To say the least it made me rethink how I viewed music…

That is what many people do. And it can be good. How was I not seeing it?
thats what pastors and church leaders do every week. They take what exists and build upon it.
They are trying to help us to see the Bible in a new way, to understand the same two thousand year old words in new ways so that we can know it and live it.

As much as they might try to be original in how they speak, it is always still the same message that is being spoken.

In a similar way, I know my message. Regardless of who has said it before, or if incredible things have already been accomplished, I realize that there is always more that can be done.

I have big dreams for this blog, and I dream of it growing into a safe, authentic community where we can truly BE loved and love others. But sometimes I hit a wall unsure if it’s already been done, or that I won’t do it right. That others could do it way better than me.

“A good remix honours the voice that came before it.”

At the end of the day I just want you to know that you are loved and for you to truly believe it. I want to talk about the things that people are thinking but aren’t saying out loud. Sometimes I won’t write the right words to communicate how I feel , maybe other days I will. Somedays my words will be building on what’s already been said and done.

But as I said in a previous post about desire , if the desire is there, the potential is there. So I plan to use this space to help you see what already exists. The originality will be found in the desire, not the idea.

Because you have always been loved, maybe you just need a fresh way to be able to see it and believe it. You have always had value, maybe you just need to be affirmed in it. Your story has always been important, maybe you just need someone to tell you that you need to share it.

This isn’t about me, but I think that the more honest I am, the more honest we can all be with each other.

I want you to know that you are different enough in just being who you are.

Don’t ever let the fear of doing what’s been done, stop you from doing what you love. If you are passionate about something, JUST DO IT. You don’t have to be the best at it for it to be worth it. You don’t have to be the first to be a leader, your passions and dreams will lead themselves.

I spoke of my fears.

Yet I also have dreams.
And that’s all that matters.

I want to hear from you.
What do you fear?
Have you ever felt like you needed to do something different to be important?
Do you think you need to BE different to be important?

Blog Photo Attribution: Mike Oliveri