We live in a society where they say that your teenage years are about finding yourself and discovering who you are, we’re told that being unique and different is crucial. What they fail to mention is that you’re supposed to be yourself in a world where everyone seems to be the same. We all like to believe that we make our own choices and live our own lives. But before you break out of prison, you have to acknowledge that you’re in one; whether it’s a self constructed prison of fears, apprehensions or paradoxes, or a facade that you are locked in.

Today, if you wear makeup, you’re pretentious, if you don’t, you’re ugly. If you wear short clothes, you’re too bold, if you don’t, you’re a prude. If you have “guy friends” you’re an attention seeker, if you don’t, you’re sexist. If you read, you’re a nerd, if you don’t you’re stupid. If you speak your mind, you’re blunt, if you don’t you’re fake. As teenagers we all battle with similar tags lines at some point or another. As ridiculous and absurd as they may sound, many people blabber such statements with little thought. Leave labels for clothes and spare the people.

Now the question becomes that should you shy away from individuality? Or do you tear down the menacing walls of the society? I would say that you should do neither. In life it’s all about, “They might think?”, “What will they think,” “I don’t care what they think,” each one varies greatly, but why are “they” even taken into account? Whether it’s dismissing them or being like them, don’t do it for them, do it for you. Don’t conform, but don’t rebel either. Pave your own path and walk on it with pride.

Someone once said to me, ‘To be at peace with what you do in your life is the most important thing. The rest comes after. If you are content and at peace with yourself, then nothing can shake you.’ Out of the many valedictory lessons that I collected, this is perhaps one of those that stuck to me the most and is truly relatable. The bottom line is that you can’t please everyone. There will always be someone who’d love to see you fall and would negatively criticize you no matter what. How you deal and react to the hateful comments of other people, will define the kind of person that you become. So, don’t let anyone else’s perception define your life. Be yourself, and the right people will love you for who you truly are. I would end this by quoting a few lines from one of my favorite pieces of literature:

“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”


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