I’m posting this even though I was kind of afraid that everybody would suddenly think I was vain without getting what I’m trying to say through this post; but since my mantra lately has been ‘be yourself’ that would be plain hypocritical, so I’m posting this anyway in the hopes that you understand the message I’m trying to say to you.
A funny thing happened to me, and I’m not sure when it started. Even writing about it is weird, because I hadn’t thought that much about it until a while ago when it was brought to my attention. Sometime in the past few years, I became popular. Popular is a weird word. Growing up, I always associated it with the snobby girls in books, walking around with their shampoo-commercial hair and their entourage of brainless minions, stealing boyfriends behind other girl’s backs and spreading rumors about them after school. That’s what I always thought being ‘popular’ meant. And so it shocked me when I realized that I had become popular, and not in the way I’d always thought. I don’t actually know many people around where I live, so around the time my family moved to Georgia, I began to make internet friends. I was first known as Angelica from GirlsHorseBarn, where I won my first writing contests for short stories and younger girls began to look up to me. It was weird, but I liked it. Then I began to blog, and once I got past my LOTR-obsessed stage and began to actually blog about things other than hobbits and movie quotes, I got popular again. This time I was known as Earwen – I was still an elvish freak, but I began to make connections with people all over the place. Then I got a Facebook and slowly, I began to have a group of friends. Many of them were people I knew from blogger or real-life friends from Washington, but then I joined reading groups and I grew to know tons of hilarious, awesome, crazy people. I felt at home with them; they were (are) some of the best non-family friends I have. I was suddenly closer to the center of my online social circle. I was constantly complimented and talked about and people wanted to be my friend. I slipped into a breezy kind of popularity without thinking about it, and it wasn’t until a short while ago that it really hit me over the head. What on earth had I done to become popular? Nothing really, that I could think of. I went through a short identity crisis a few years ago where I realized I wasn’t coming across online as my real self, and so I turned that around. I guess what I had done was decide to just be me. Not Angelica, not Earwen, but Mirriam. And Mirriam, ladies and gentlemen, is a dork. Mirriam is a geek with a short temper and a really loud laugh and a headful of frizzy, curly hair. Mirriam has trouble keeping anything but her room clean, even when it’s her job. Mirriam has the worst memory of anyone she knows for anything important, but can keep hundreds of movie quotes, song lyrics, band members, authors, and story ideas filed in alphabetical order. Mirriam completely loves her life and finds it easier to be completely honest with writing than speaking. Mirriam can be forward and cause problems and do embarrassing things that are regretted later. Mirriam says things she doesn’t mean and can never take back and she draws all over herself in pen anad doesn’t usually do much with her hair or wear anything but jeans and tees. Mirriam leaves on her blue fingernail polish until it chips off because she’s too lazy to swipe it away with remover. Mirriam is a geek who does voice imitations at all the wrong times and has a gift for entertaining other people with mistakes. Mirriam sleeps in way longer than she actually wants to because she can’t drag herself out of bed and listens to music that nobody else likes, so she tries to get them to like it along with her because it’s more fun that way. Mirriam is the pickiest book-reader and movie-watcher she knows and she says she’s fine even when she’s not because she doesn’t want other people to worry, especially since her not-fine moments don’t last very long. Mirriam tends to be lazy when she’s doing something she doesn’t want to do, and she plasters pictures and things all over her walls and her closet is a wreck except for the few weeks once a year after she cleans it out. Mirriam forgets to do her devotions and then tries to make up for it by doing two or three. Mirriam has no particular clothing style and tends to like things that don’t actually look good on her.
To shorten the above, Mirriam is as imperfect as a person can be. She’s messed up and weird, but she doesn’t mind. I don’t mind. Because flaws, I can work on and weirdness, I wouldn’t want to change. And once I decided to just be myself, and not bother about what other people thought of my personality, I became a friend to people. I love my friends. I love sending them pictures when they’re sad, or swapping songs, or spazzing about characters, or teasing. I’ve known some people in the past who acted one way in front of people and another way behind their backs. I think other people can sense this. So the moral of this story, is that people want someone who isn’t afraid to be real and genuine and imperfect. People want someone who is friendly and doesn’t mind being crazy with them, someone they can fangirl with one second and have a deep, heart-to-heart conversation with the next.
I’m messed up, so I don’t pretend not to be. I don’t want anybody to think I’m not messed up; and you shouldn’t, either. Because you aren’t perfect; but you’re beautiful. You make mistakes, but I love you for it. Pretending to be someone you aren’t won’t get you what you want, and in the end, it will only make you unhappy. I’ve been as honest and open with you as I think it’s possible for me to be, and I don’t regret anything about it. Don’t be afraid to be you because whoever you are, God created you. Not who you think you should be. I may lose my popularity one day. I may say something that will hurt someone’s feelings and they’ll stop being my friend. I may be a trend that will go out of style in the internet world. Whatever happens, though, I’ll always be myself. I’ll get better, I’ll strive to be more Christlike and to live for Him.
So don’t be afraid to grow and change, but have the courage to stay you no matter what life throws at you. Going with the flow is easier, but going against it is much, much better.