Be Brave Enough to Be You

Like Kerouac I’m drawn to those brave enough to be themselves. Few have the courage to wear what they want, say what they want, be who they are. It’s easy to follow the crowd, and to do what others say and do, but do you have the self-confidence – the courage – the be an outlier?  I don’t mean mad of mind. No, intelligence usually comes with those I’m drawn to, the ability to see clear answers, and to know when the answers are not clear, but still find ways to make things work.

There was a manicured twenty-something sitting behind me on a plane recently. She used the word “like” every fourth or fifth word. She was physically appealing, but her empty brain and senseless words made her ugly. I leaned forward in my seat to get far away from her, to block out her pointless chirping. Despite her new and stylish clothes, and manicured hair, her empty words and stupid cadence made her repulsive.

If you looked at my closest friends it would be difficult to see what they have in common, but I think it might be intelligence, or creativity, that links them. I’ve never considered myself to be intelligent, but I’ve surrounded myself with people who are better than me, smarter than me, more creative, and that has made the difference. They have challenged me. I’ve passed the best of what I’ve learned from them to my children, who are also intelligent. My children never use the word “like” more than is needed.

You can make an argument that I judge people based on the wrong elements of them. This may be true, but I can counter that the girl with the perfect hair and clothes was elevated by her friends based on that, and little else. I’d rather join myself to those who are rich of mind, instead of those who appear rich of wallet due to poor spending habits.

I almost scraped this, because it sounded mean when I reread it. But then I opened this again, because, through my anger with the annoying girl on the plane, I was trying to say to be you. If you’re reading this, instead of watching reality TV, I know there’s something worth seeing. We like you as you are. Bury the pretension. Find yourself, and be that person. Let’s hang out, and let’s be who we are. There’s good there. You know it, and I want to see it. Be brave.

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