I joined ‘Teens Tell Their Story’, an event created by the wonderful Sherina and Caitlin, the week before, but this is going to be the first time I will be participating! The theme for this week is ‘school’, but be warned, I’m going to deviate from the topic a bit here, talking more about a new start at school and all that. It’s gonna get slightly serious :P.
At my old, old school – the one I stayed from primary all the way to grade 10 – I had a lot of problems with myself as a person. It was basically a crisis of the ‘who am I?’ on repeat the entire ten years. I had low esteem, zero confidence and so much insecurities I could hardly count, and I have a few guesses as to where they came from, but that’s another story.
Point is, I don’t think this was normal even by teen standard, because it got so bad that I would be afraid to even speak, and small talks/socializing was my most terrifying nightmare. Moreover, connecting with anyone on a more than the superficial level was..nearly impossible. It got to the point where sometimes I would wonder to myself why do I even exist when I can’t even make a positive impact on anyone?
By the end of my time at that school, I was trying a bit more. I tried becoming more interested in new things, joined new clubs, but the problem with staying at a small school is the community itself. Whatever you do, you always had a label, and it stuck like freaking super glue.
Mine was…excuse the cliché…’Nerd’.
No matter what I do or say, my friends would convince themselves I am a certain way. It was frustrating! Although now I have no problem with being called such, back then it chafed a lot.
This is where the concept of ‘reinventing yourself’ comes in.
Let me get this out of the way: reinventing yourself does not necessarily mean creating a complete alternate personality. It does not necessarily have to have a negative connotation.
It does not have to mean that you are trying to be someone you are not; it does not mean that you are ‘fake’.
Reinventing, let me put it in my terms, is the process of conquering your fears, stepping outside that narrow perimeter you or someone else drew around you, and tweaking and fine-tuning yourself so that someday you may become a person you are completely satisfied with. Reinventing is a process of self growth.
Some people don’t need it to such a drastic degree of change because they have a very definite personality and voice, and I am happy for these people. But, I also know that a lot of teens struggle to find their voice too. Sometimes I grit my teeth when I hear someone say ‘just be yourself’, because what is that? The quiet bookworm, oblivious to everyday life friends had pegged you for? Or is it the friendly doormat who never has any responsibility and never knows how to say no? ‘Just be yourself’, is it? Sometimes you just don’t know who you are yet; you don’t know how to.
So for those of you who don’t know, start with making a promise to yourself that you would try your hardest to explore yourselves and stay firm to that conviction. What habits/subjects/activities are you interested in but have never done? Do it. What things or thoughts have you imagined yourself being able to say? Say it. The first step is hard and may not feel like yourself, but be sure that it gets easier.
I’ll admit, doing so in an existing environment can be hard because of all the preconceptions and pre-existing expectations of all your peers. This is why having a new start at a new school, or moving away for college, are such good opportunities.
Nonetheless, don’t let that deter you from who you want to be. Sure, there may be some resistance, even from the best of friends, because people naturally don’t cope well with change. But if they are true friends, they will adapt and and come to terms with it.
This quote conveys my thoughts perfectly:
“Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Recreate yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image, rather than letting others define it for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.” — Robert Greene
Not living up to other people’s identification and expectations of you doesn’t make you not-you, or fake, or ‘trying too hard’, because honestly, who knows about you more than yourself? You don’t have to be what people think you should be; you just have to try to be someone you like and respect, and that like and respect from others will surely follow.
After grade 10, I moved to Singapore, and I have to say that move helped me a lot. The new school, new friends, new environment opened my eyes. I wanted to be more active? Be it – sports, clubs, volunteer, fundraisers. I wanted to be more confident? Project it until it becomes real. I want to love myself? Declutter all those inferiorities and insecurities, don’t think about it, wipe it from your mind. The possibilities were endless, and it was finally time to explore.
I’m leaving for college soon, and although I’ve become much happier about myself, I am nowhere near what I aim to be. So much more passions to explore, things to learn, skills to acquire.
So, this new school year, I am going to reinvent myself. Will you?
Thanks for reading! If you want to read more on the subject, I highly recommend this article. It was where I took my inspiration for this post from.
Any thoughts, advices, suggestions are very welcome.
Until next time xx