On Being Yourself

This is my friend, Tess. Remember her? It was her 20th birthday a few weeks ago and we ate cake. She wore a fez. She really likes cake…and fezes.

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Other things Tess likes:

  • buttered noodles
  • mashed potatoes (she’s from Idaho, it’s a prerequisite)
  • Casablanca
  • Dr. Who (hence the fez)
  • painting her nails
  • writing

Things Tess doesn’t like:

  • Doing laundry. Ever.
  • Oranges (she’s allergic)
  • a respectable or normal bedtime
  • unnecessary drama
  • trying to interview people with poor social skills
  • the stairs leading up to my apartment

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I’ve learned a lot about Tess in the short year I’ve known her. She’s learned a lot about me. She’s done a lot for me, too.

She has made me laugh until it hurts. She’s gotten me out of my apartment. She’s indulged me in my girly tendencies. She’s taught me a lot.

Part of me is embarrassed to admit that a freshman has been doling out words of wisdom, but a bigger part of my is incredibly thankful for it.

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See, Tess is Tess. This is redundant, yes, but I don’t think a lot of people are actually themselves, all day, every day. But Tess is. She is herself, completely and totally. She’s not afraid to state her opinion, loudly, even if it might not be the most popular one. She doesn’t apologize for the work she does or the things she likes – no matter how they’re perceived by others. She wears a baseball cap and dresses. She’s never been bullied. She’s strong. She’s inspiring.

I’ve talked a lot to my family back home about trying to stay true to myself. To focus on being me instead of doing what everyone else is. I’ve prayed about it, constantly. And I think becoming friends with Tess, seeing who she is, is an answer to those prayers.

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I really do.

 

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