This is my new look. I tinted and twisted my hair. Many people were confused about what I did to my hair. They thought I did something complex to it.

Some said I used an extension.

Some said I started the braid with my hair and then finished the braid with the coloured extension.

Some agreed that it was my hair, but that the hairstyle was a dreadlock, which meant that I had locked my hair.

To all the different opinions, my response was the same: I tinted and twisted my hair. It sounded too simple to be true, but that was my truth.

Later, during a period of personal reflection, I realized that the different opinions I had heard on what I did to my hair were persuasive. I actually had people arguing with me and saying that I couldn’t have twisted my hair. They believed that I did something more and they refused to accept my simple explanation.

I realized that it was possible for me to have been persuaded by one school of thought or the other if I had not known what I knew. But knowing full well what my hairdresser did to my hair, I was able to stand and keep saying my truth, regardless of any other person’s opinion.

So, no matter how people felt that my hair was something other than what it wasn’t, I was not swayed. It was what it was, and I stated so in clear language.

This made me ponder on the intricacies of life. Many people have been directed by the opinions of the public, and this has made them aspire to be who or what the public thinks they should be.

The result? A pretty confused person. A person who vacillates between a desire to be who they want to be, and who others think they should be. After a while, the person you are disappears under the burden of public expectations. You forget who you are because you have listened to the voices of others for so long. You don’t even remember what the voice of the inner you sounds like.

The worst part of this is that the expectations of the public are as varied as the members of the public. You won’t find everyone agreeing on who you should be. So you find yourself trying to live up to different expectations AT THE SAME TIME.

Please understand me: when I say the public, I mean every other person but you.

One day, it all comes to a head. You have suffered an identity crisis and it has reached a critical stage. You realise that you now have a multiple personality disorder. You don’t know who you are. You then begin to contemplate ending it all.

Why?

You have tried to be everything you were told to be and you have failed at every one.

This reminds me of Thor in Avengers: Endgame. There are a couple of scenes that really got to me in that movie. One of such scenes is where Thor told his mom that he had failed in everything and who he was supposed to be. She replied and told him that that was absolutely correct and that the only true obligation he had was to be who he truly was.

I was struck by that statement.

The other scene was where Thor embraced who he was and in relation to that, abdicated the throne to Valkyrie. He realized that being the leader of Asgard was not who he was, but who he had been told he was supposed to be.

This made me realise that being true to yourself will mean turning your back on some responsibilities and benefits. But in the larger picture, your sacrificing those benefits brings greater returns in the long run.

In the language of Mark Manson, it means that you stop giving a fuck about who people say you are supposed to be and whatever responsibilities and benefits are attached to it, and you start giving a fuck about who you truly are.

I used to be on this table. I had a prominent place on the table. I lived the best part of almost 3 decades living the way people said I should live – until recently when I decided I was not going to live that way any longer.

If you are like this too, you need to stop. I mean STOP. Push the PAUSE button. Take out time to find yourself. In the beginning, it’s going to look like an arduous task. There will be times when you will fall flat on your face. Yet you rise and you try again. As you stay with it you begin to get the hang of it, and with getting the hang of it, you begin to find the inner you.

It’s not as dried and cut out as I have made it seem, but I promise you that it is a journey with really great rewards.

Cheers to a greater you.

Yours’ with lots of love,

Tobi.

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