One time, I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip flops. So I bought army pants and flip flops.
It’s an age old Mean Girls quote, but boy, it means a lot…
One time, I was teaching an intern some stuff about what we do. I told them that (prepare for some banking jargon) – the G-spread is the interpolated T-spread. They said, “oh, I thought it wasn’t interpolated?” Fireworks set off in my mind – were they right? Had I just been completely embarrassed by someone who had been in the job for 2 weeks? Was I simply useless? I had to refer back to my notes to reassure myself that actually, I was right and I did know what I was talking about.
But not being able to be confident in my thinking started before this moment in 2017.
One time when I was a child we had an “own clothes” day at school. My mum dressed me in a top and three quarter length “sporty” kind of trousers. I liked it. But, when I got to school, my best friend was wearing a skirt. Well! That was it then. What a failure I was. How could I come to school dressed as a damn boy when everyone else was looking cute and girly? Ughh, I was such a tomboy. When I relayed these thoughts back to my mum, she almost most probably gave me the spiel about being confident in myself and not worrying about what others are doing. It sort of went in one ear and out the other. All I knew was that next time, I was wearing a skirt. Make that a m’fkin pink skirt too.
Ladies and gentlemen – a little thing I struggled with for several many years of my life. Thinking for myself.
The idea from this blog post came after Nissy Tee did her “wedding prank” video. Nissy came out with supposedly what was a quiet engagement and wedding – no screaming about it on social media, just dropping it on our head tops. The old me would have probably questioned my whole being. I put photos of myself and Levi and social media, and lord knows when I get married one day, the world is gonna know. But, actually, as Nissy Tee says, maybe I don’t need to shout about it. Maybe I should move silent and my whole thinking is flawed. – This is how the world of Twitter reacted, everyone was singing and jumping about the low key marriage screaming “goals”, “that’s how you do it!”, “that’s how I’m gonna do it!” Then Nissy turned round a day later and say “ya’ll, it was a prank”, and a couple folks were left with egg on their face probably re-thinking this whole concept of being a “sheep”. I was so happy that at this point in my life I am in such a place where I can think for myself and just because someone has done X, doesn’t mean I also had to do X. Personally, I found the prank quite funny.
The question is, how did I get to this point? How did I go from being such a chronic follower and someone who didn’t even feel 100% that I knew what I know I knew, to standing on my own.
I think the truth is I got tired of being left of the side with egg on my face. Once I commit to something I commit, and if the reason I’ve committed is because someone else said they would, when they’d back out I’d feel pretty stupid. If someone had told me to get job X because it’s really good, back in the day I literally would have gone and gotten job X. That’s a whole job you know, it’s a commitment. Meanwhile, I probably would have later found out that this person had decided job X isn’t that great after all, and actually they want job Y. Now I’m side eyeing job Y wanting to get that really because it must be better… right? But I can’t switch over because I’m dedicated to job X. This scenario is all theoretical by the way, but I think fairly describes the sort of situations I’d be left in. It was draining quite frankly.
If you find yourself stuck in a similar hole, there are a few practical tips I have…
One is that, thinking for yourself does mean not listening to others. I am 100% not set in my views. If I believe one thing and someone comes to me with a proposition to believe something else, I will definitely listen, consider and maybe even re-consider if I think their points make sense. Well, that’s unless I’m in the middle of a heated discussion (say with my brothers or Levi for e.g.) in which case I will fight my point to the end of the earth even once I realise mid-way that… maybe I’m wrong.
Also, don’t be afraid to be wrong. One reason I was always so quick to latch onto what others said or did is because I never wanted someone to ever be able to turn around to me and say “I told you so”. It terrified me. Maybe I’d tell someone that I believe X and not Y but then their belief of Y made them a millionaire – would I feel stupid? Well, maybe I will. I can tell you at this point that I don’t care anymore. I will state my view and if I’m wrong then I’m wrong ah, I can’t come and kill myself.
Which leads quite seamlessly onto the last tip of… not giving a f*ck. Maybe if a young me had not given a f when I went into school with my trousers whilst my friend was in a skirt, I would have had a much better day and not had been so hard on myself. The art of not giving a f*ck is a wonderful one.
Andddd with that – have a lovely week! 😉