Central PA's LGBT News Source
By Dr. Terry Drew Kaaren
Do you get criticized by others for thinking and acting “outside the box?” I wouldn’t be surprised. I certainly do. And, like attracts like!
I remember years ago being just about ready to walk out the door when my roommate asked, “You’re not going out in THAT, are you?” (Okay, granted, it was the 80s and I wouldn’t be caught DEAD wearing that today if I still had it, which I don’t, but I digress…) I gave him a blank stare. That’s always a good comeback when someone asks a stupid question.
He followed his original query with, “What makes you think you can wear that?” My answer, again with a blank stare was, “Because I can!” Admittedly, I “may” have had a slight bit of attitude in the delivery, and I “suspect” I may have raised at least one eyebrow when responding, since at his height he’d never have been able to pull off and over-sized, turquoise shirt with tails and a metallic vest. (I warned you. I was the 80s …)
Levity aside, you’ll probably admit that the opinions of others may have very well stopped you from doing what you wanted to do at some point. You might not have even suspected a particular person, but were afraid of some kind of reprisal or criticism about your appearance, conduct, or idea.
There are lots of reasons why we let people stop us from doing things. We think we’re too old, or too young; not good enough; untrained; inexperienced; or, playing out of our league. But each of us has a particular gift in the way we live life and express ourselves. Abraham Maslov is quoted as saying:
No great deed, private or public, has ever been undertaken in a bliss of certainty.
If we wait around to live our lives until we have everyone’s approval the only thing being said will be, “S/He looks so natural lying there in that beautiful coffin.”
It’s time to up the ante on being you. We don’t have to be outrageous for the sake of being outrageous. In fact, sometimes being ourselves may mean that we are calm when others are excited. Give us and the entire world the pleasure of seeing you for the unique and magnificent expression of Spirit in human form. We need you … just as you are!
Terry is an author, speaker, licensed social worker and flight attendant. He is also the director of Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation (spiritmindbodyfoundation.org).