I Just Want to Be Me

I Just Want to Be Me

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Real Deal Challenges

I Just Want to Be Me

You think that they’ll always be there

Through it all.

But you can’t always rely on them

To catch you when you fall.

Sometimes you find yourself

Lost in the crowd.

Doing all that you can

But never making them proud.

You follow each step

That everyone takes—

You’re living your life for them,

But as a fake.

CONSIDER THIS . . .

Some people are natural born leaders, and people tend to follow their example, while others are more comfortable following the lead of others. Which type are you?

They lie to you,

You lie to them.

When will you realize,

You can do whatever you want to do?

When you finally stand up,

You find yourself pushed back down.

And you’re left all alone,

With nothing but a frown.

Nobody cares

About what you have to say,

In this life,

It only goes their way.

Nobody cares,

What you want to do.

For they rule everyone,

Including you.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Have you ever stood up for yourself even though you were afraid of the outcome?

Nobody knows what it’s like,

To sit at home and be alone tonight.

And nobody knows what it’s like,

To never have anything ever go right.

But young girl, stop your crying,

Stop all your tears.

No one can help you,

You just have to get over your fears.

Stand up to those,

Who put pressure on you.

Let them know what it is

That you want to do.

Seen It?

Tom Cruise plays a
burned-out sports
agent whose life
changes for the better
when he takes a stand
in the movie, Jerry
Maguire (1996).

If they laugh,

Then you laugh, too.

If they point,

Just point back at you.

Let them know you’re sick

Of always following them around,

That you don’t want to be,

Just another background sound.

You’ll feel much better,

After conquering your fear.

But you’ll still be looking,

For someone to be near.

Someone will come,

They eventually do.

’Cause after you stood up,

They’ll be looking up to you.

Just take a lesson from this.

Never let anyone tell you how to live your life,

Or who you should be.

Just smile and say back to them,

“I just want to be me.”

Isabel Thottam, Age 15

WHERE DO YOU STAND?

Do you do things just to fit in?

Everyone in your group of friends has dyed their hair a different color, and you’re the only one “au naturale.” Do you buy a box of dye and go platinum?

· NO WAY!
(0 points)
· MAYBE
(1 point)
· YEAH, WHY NOT?
(2 points)

All of your friends are on diets and picking at salads at lunchtime. You’re not dieting, and furthermore, they’re serving your favorite lunch today— meatloaf! Do you skip the meat and grab a salad?

· NO WAY!
(0 points)
· MAYBE
(1 point)
· YEAH, WHY NOT?
(2 points)

Everyone’s going to the Death Cab for Cutie concert, but you’d rather go to the symphony with your folks. Do you go see Death Cab so you can talk about the concert at school on Monday along with everyone else?

· NO WAY!
(0 points)
· MAYBE
(1 point)
· YEAH, WHY NOT?
(2 points)

You overhear some serious scoop in the bathroom about another student. You know the info will score you major points among your group of friends. Do you pass along the gossip to show that you’re “in the know”?

· NO WAY!
(0 points)
· MAYBE
(1 point)
· YEAH, WHY NOT?
(2 points)

You love your Irish folk dancing classes, but suddenly realize that if your friends knew how you were spending your Saturday mornings, they might think you’re a nerd. Do you give up your dance classes to save face?

· NO WAY!
(0 points)
· MAYBE
(1 point)
· YEAH, WHY NOT?
(2 points)

Add up your points:

   0–3 = You feel confident in who you are and don’t need to act different for anyone else.

   4–7 = You often feel conflicted over wanting to fit in and trying to march to the beat of your own drum.

8–10 = Fitting in is the most important thing to you, no matter the cost.

WE’VE SEEN THE THEME IN A MILLION MOVIES. Rich kid with everything that money can buy and a house as big as a museum feels sad and empty inside. Maybe she never sees her parents because they’re too wrapped up in their careers, or maybe he has no friends because everyone is intimidated by him. While these movies are somewhat cliché, what I like about them is that the theme reinforces the notion that we all have our struggles to deal with. No one is immune. Why then do we so easily forget this when we’re busy labeling others as being different from us?

Seen It?

First Daughter (2004)
stars Katie Holmes
as the classic “poor
little rich girl.”

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