In such a conformist society like the one we live in, it can be quite difficult to do what you want, to decide to “do you.” We spoke to five people who decided to go against the flow and did what they wanted to. Their stories are inspiring; they show the importance of being true to oneself and living our most authentic lives.
I’ve had to fight to be myself a couple of times. The first time was when I hid my diploma form from my dad. The thing is, he wanted me to study law, which was a course I hated. I hid the form from him till I submitted it. He was furious, but I was happy I made my own choice.
Another time, when I was in secondary school, I saved my lunch money for a few months to buy a guitar. For three months, I’d hide it under my bed and sneak it to church on Saturday for lessons. When he found out, he almost convulsed. Now, I’m in a music band and we have an album out.
I decided to make my hair into cornrows. I’d been playing around with the idea for a while, but one day, I decided to do it anyway. Surprisingly, my parents actually liked it when they saw it. They’ve always believed that I was the golden-haired child of the family, so I guess I’m allowed to “act out” every now and then.
I’ve always been conscious about my breasts. They grew bigger than most of my peers in secondary school and parts of university days. I always got snide remarks because of them, and these comments got to me. I had to wear outfits that didn’t “expose” them as much, and tried to make light of their presence on my chest.
I have decided not to care anymore. My breasts are a part of my body and there is nothing I can do to them. They were given to me to be proud of. Now, I wear what I want, and even though I still get silly comments from time to time, I simply don’t care. I have decided to be myself, unapologetically.
I’m a fashion designer and entrepreneur, but I haven’t always been. My family frowned at the fact that I left my job at a bank to go into fashion. They thought I was throwing away my career for something “unserious” and begged me not to make the switch. I decided that I could not live my life for them and went ahead to choose myself.
I once had a job where they’d never let us wear our hair natural. The thing is, I hated doing any sort of hairstyle. Working there was really stressful to me as I either had to wear wigs or make my hair, which I wasn’t really into. I asked the company if they could make an exception for me but they refused. One day, I decided I could no longer continue. Today, I don’t have that job anymore, but I’m happy I chose myself.
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