The Real You

In my classes recently, I’ve been reading content on style and voice in writing. The authors of the material made comments about testing out a voice when writing, because eventually, one will be the right fit. And once your voice or style is established, it is comforting and familiar like the voice of a close friend or family member. This may sound boring to some, but as I was reading my textbooks, I realized that people—and life in general—are similar to this writing approach.

I started to think about the question, “do we have to belong?” Most people would immediately say yes, because that’s what’s comforting. I like comfort. I like to feel that connection, as does everyone, I’ll assume. But, what if we could “try on” sections of our personality like we could test out different voice in writing. Identities are complex; I believe labels are overrated and unnecessary. People can be many things. Be yourself, whatever that may be. Chances are, others feel pulled in different directions like you.

Going back to the comforting voice of a writer—don’t we meet people and form relationships based on a level of comfort, for the most part? Writers are encouraged to use different aesthetics in their pieces, and feel out which feels the most real, paired with the most positive response from readers. As we travel through life, we meet many people—all with different styles and aesthetics. The ones that stick around in our lives have something intriguing, comforting, and/or real about them. And like I mentioned earlier, their voices are familiar in a deeper way. There is a connection beyond appearances. Even if it’s not a feeling of comfort, we are pulled to them in some other way. There is an emotion attached.

So, for the sake of keeping this short, my moral is staying true to yourself. It sounds cliché, but in a world with constant noise, especially on social media, it’s almost impossible to avoid comparing yourself to the highlight reel of others’ lives. Surround yourself with people who make you feel most alive. Let your being encompass everything that you are—all aspects of you.

In case you’re needing any extra motivation, here are some quotes from Reality Hunger (by David Shields), a book that was assigned in one of my classes:

“Collage is a demonstration of the many becoming one, with the one never fully resolved because of the many that continue to impinge upon it.” (112)

“The whole content of my being shrieks in contradiction against myself.” (135)

We, as humans, are a combination of many things in one, contradicting ourselves, but also celebrating us. Embrace the true you. And find others who share that connection with you.