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What it means to ‘be yourself’

Our first Country to Canberra guest blogger for 2017 is the amazing Pamela Perre! She has written a terrific post about embracing all the different parts that make us women in today’s world.

Pamela began her full-time working life completing a year-long traineeship at Karlene Maywald’s Chaffey Electorate Office. She’s a born and bred Riverland girl, and studied journalism and literature at the University of South Australia and Deakin University. While studying, she worked as a journalist and the online editor for The Murray Pioneer for six years, before becoming the editor of The Loxton News in August of 2015. Earlier that year Pamela was awarded the SA Country Press Young Journalist of the Year Award.

Pamela PerreWhat it means to ‘be yourself’

Written by Pamela Perre

My favourite writer, Joss Whedon, once said: “Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.”

In one of his most inspirational speeches to date, he is also quoted as saying “… you are all going to die.”

Mr Whedon, ever the optimist.

I grew up loving the television show he created, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It was the first thing I can remember watching where a lady kicked butt, but also cared if she broke a nail.

One of the many things from that show, which stuck with me as I reached my adult years, is that it was okay to be a strong woman, with hard morals, and a boss fly kick – it was okay to be all of that with glitter in your hair.

That it was okay to want to be a princess, with the big, butterfly-embroidered dress – it was okay to want that while pursuing a long, and fulfilling career in journalism.

Which is what I ended up doing, by the way.

My passion for storytelling, in any of its forms, led me to become a newspaper journalist (with secret ambitions to wear a big, chiffon dress, decorated with lace butterflies while I marry a prince – Harry I’m looking at you).

Over my seven-year career, I have won a few awards, helped launch a news website, and was promoted to editor of my newspaper.

To an outsider, reading through my list of achievements, I’ll appear to be a career-driven woman.

Yep, ‘career-driven woman’ – that’s probably the category some people might put me in.

Which isn’t a bad category, but it’s also not the whole truth.

We see thousands of people in passing all the time and, quite regularly (without even thinking about it), place each and every one of them in a category.

Hipster, goth, popular kid, gay girl, lawyer, nervous-wreck, model, straight, smart girl, hot guy, prince.

Why is it that we place everyone else into these little boxes?

I mean, you know that you don’t fit into only one category.

Humans are so much more interesting and have way more shades of grey than that.

Recognising who you are, all of who you are, is the first step to truly ‘being yourself’.  Recognising a power and success in others, is another step towards truly being comfortable with yourself.

Being true to yourself isn’t about being the best journalist in the world.

It’s about being the best journalist, and sister, and mother, and wood worker, and pilot, and princess you can be.

Being the best version of yourself means being best versions of all of yourselves.

The career and the opportunities and the achievements – that all comes after, because people recognise and reward sincerity.

Which brings me back to that second Joss Whedon quote, which is essentially a more grim version of ‘YOLO’.

Its message is not one of reckless abandon, but one of passion and drive.

A message to use your mortality to drive you, and inspire you, and surprise you at every step towards achieving your dreams.