Be Yourself on Purpose
Confession: I have always asked for permission. I was taught to. Since I can remember, my father always said, "make sure you ask for permission," "did you ask permission?" or "not without permission." Because of this, I grew up believing that for me to make any moves that made me feel good and happy or would help me grow, I had to ask for "permission." Hell, weren't we all taught to ask for permission at school for things like the bathroom?!
Because permission was something that I understood as normal, I grew up thinking that my happiness, and how far I could go all depended upon permission from someone else, anyone else, anyone that would say "yes, go ahead" or "no, absolutely not." "Why?" was never a question because, "I said so" was valid AF to a younger, more lost, version of myself. Don't get me wrong, growing up on "lockdown" which meant I wasn't allowed to be out in the streets or in anyone's house, ever, at any time, really made me the steady, calm, and self-assured woman that I am today. For that I am thankful but the permission stuff? GLAD IT'S FUCKING OVER. Or so I thought...
When I left my home at the age of 19, I never went back. I was in shock at how free I felt. Being able to say "I can't, I have plans" was major. I never "had plans" because I needed permission to do anything other than go to school and 80% of the time, the answer was no. The need for permission and validation was already so engraved in me that I started to realize that in my own life, where I make my own schedule, rules, and decisions (finally), I was still not entirely free. In my adult life, I again found myself seeking some form of permission and validation from others for me just be me. Social media was just starting and growing fast, and it wasn't helping. Even today as a small business owner, though not prominently, I still find myself looking for permission to be who I already am, and do what I already know how to do.
- Can I do this?
- What if people don't like it?
- I am not white, will that be a problem?
- Would people listen to me? What if this idea is shit?
- What if no one wants what I have to offer?
"When we ask ourselves these questions we’re essentially asking others for permission to live our lives and pursue our dreams. We’re looking for the approval of others rather than believing in ourselves."
Because of my experiences, I can sit here and write this and say FUCK THAT. Stop asking for permission to do what you already know how to do. Do things your way. Sure, ask for feedback, help, and constructive criticism, but the moment you pick up on even the smallest hint that you might be looking for validation, STOP, DROP, and ROLL into your space. Take up ALL of your space, and stand tall. And fuck asking all these people who don’t know what you’ve persevered through or where you come from, for permission to LIVE. Unless you are younger than 16 and need a permission slip from your guardian for a school trip… please ask your guardian for permission. Or if you’re a man that just needs to have a woman, wait for permission and consent, mf.