I remember that when I used to read my friend Sarah’s letters I used to be so in awe of the way that she wrote. Her handwriting was so cool and exactly the sort of handwriting that I wanted, and so I set to work learning how to do it. It didn’t come naturally, I copied her flattened ‘o’s, and her curly ‘g’s, and her ‘s’s which were a thing of beauty. And yet, I could never get it quite right.
I remember the day that I gave up trying to write like Sarah. I was in a GCSE exam and I knew the answer to this question that had loads of marks. I was trying to write as quickly as possible and I realised that the way Sarah wrote her ‘g’s and ‘s’s took much longer than my way. And so I stopped, and let my pen move in the way that it’s always wanted to move. It felt like a strange sort of release to finally not fight against myself. The writing was taller, messier, but it was mine. There’s a possibility that the examiner was rather confused by this!
I have a tendency to want to copy others sometimes, because I think they’re better than me. Have you ever done that? I’ve tried so, so, many times to be like others, look like others, sound like others… worried what people might think if I let my true colours out.
I really love my handwriting now, that’s a thing I never thought I’d say. It’s unique, it’s messy and creative, it’s mine. Learning to love myself however is one of my biggest challenges. A bit like my handwriting, at times I have fought against myself trying to fit into this mould, trying to pluck, dye, straighten and conceal myself to feel acceptable but it’s been exhausting.
Changing ourselves is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, getting a new style isn’t a problem but if it’s in response to a feeling that you’re not good enough, then that’s where we need to address that negative thinking.
Are you being yourself? Or are you fighting against yourself, trying to be something or someone that you’re not? It’s tiring, difficult and emotional isn’t it? Relax (I’m speaking to myself here too), imagine you’re in an exam, time is running out. Don’t waste that precious time of yours trying to be something other than you. Learn to appreciate your own style, and allow your true self to be seen.
Photo by Aaron Burden