Being true to yourself is something that has cropped up quite a bit this week. When thinking about this some words kept popping into my head from a poem by John Clare; ‘I am – yet what I am yet none cares or knows’. These words and the rest of the poem used to be stuck to a board on the wall many years ago. But today the words ‘I am’ mean something different.
I am what I am and hopefully I stay true to this. I know that from my childhood I have always felt different from others and went my own way much to the disgust of my mother. But how do we stay true to who we really are? In my young days it was easier to do this. The only pressure on you was from your parents and family and your peers. TV was in its early years and advertising was mainly on hoardings and buses and other transport.
Today we are bombarded with advertising telling us to look like this, eat this, do this and so on. .We see children and teenagers wanting what their friends have even if their parents cannot afford to buy these items. They feel they want to be the same as others. But it is not a crime to feel different. When my children were teenagers I said that there was nothing wrong with wanting to be different from the rest of their class mates or wanting to do different things. I remember my daughter wanting to know why I could not wear the same kind of clothes that the other mothers wore and my answer that I wore the clothes that I liked and not what others wanted me to wear.
As a teacher clothes were important in that I could not wear trousers only skirts or dresses which are definitely not me. However over the years the rules were relaxed and once I was established as a good teacher I often was allowed to wear trousers as long as they were not jeans.From the newspapers last week I see that certain standards of dress are still important but should they be? If you are clean and tidy does what you wear matter? What I wear reflects who I am and what I do and think. For me it is who I am and what I do that is important not what I wear. I try to be true to myself and live the way I believe is right for me. I try to stay true to my ideals and who I know I am. If others don’t like it, then tough, that is their problem not mine.