How to be yourself...

Posted by Tamsyn Martin on

A blonde woman in front of a clear blue sky has a smiler on her face and her hands in the air pointing to a title saying 'How to be yourself..'
I think at some point in a lot of peoples lives, we struggle with being our most authentic self. Whether this be because we're afraid of being vulnerable, afraid of the response or reaction we'll get or simply because we just haven't discovered *WHO* we are yet.


I've had an on and off identity crisis for many years, haha. I feel like I've 'tried on' many different versions of myself. Some versions were to please other people, they were either a watered down version of my true self or something else entirely, shaped by someone I wanted to please or impress. This is a sure way to make you miserable. 


Sometimes my identity crisis was fuelled by my body feeling so separate from my mind, my mind was so over-active and my body so under-active.. so sick and fragile. When illness starts to strip away parts of your life that you enjoy, that you feel (or felt) made you - YOU.. it's tough to figure out what is left. 


I started thinking about identity a lot recently because it's something so integral to VelvetVolcano (and me). I design pieces meant to help express our identity, our creativity, our flair and our uniqueness and I have a lot of wonderful customers who are rocking their style and being their unrestricted, fabulous true selves.. and so I wanted to hear from them *how* they learnt to be their true selves and what advice they had for others (especially younglings, because that's usually when we struggle most with expressing ourselves.. and when we most need the encouragement and support to do just that). 
So on the VelvetVolcano facebook page, I asked... 
I've been thinking today about the comments some of us get for 'dressing unusually' and how this can really effect some of us (especially when we're young) and stifle our self expression. What advice would you have for someone struggling with showing their 'true colours'?
 I've been thinking today about the comments some of us get for 'dressing unusually' and how this can really effect some of us (especially when we're young) and stifle our self expression. What advice would you have for someone struggling with showing their 'true colours'?  


Originally I had just intended this to be about how we dress and express ourselves through fashion, but I feel like the responses actually are great advice for 'being you' in general in all facets of your life. Here's some of my favourite responses.. 


"No one gets to live your life for you, and when all the nasty comments have gone you’ve got to live with what you did or didn’t do in life... chose to live your life the way you want. Always live your best life, and if that’s by dressing in a different way go for it. It serves you and that’s the most important thing . 

I spoke to girls in their teens who wanted to change things about themselves... when they’re in their 30s/40s life has been hard, maybe they’ve had a couple of kids or whatever, they’ll look back at their teenage years and say “why didn’t I love what I had then?”"
- Jade Parsons


A lovely post from Tonnii Wills about her absolute rockstar mum - 
"Things my mum used to tell me:
'Their opinion is their own, it has nothing to do with you. You do you.'
'No one has to like it other then you, you're the one wearing it'
'Does it make you happy/comfortable? yes? then nothing else matters' 
My mum was one of the strongest women I've ever met. 
She bought me up to be myself and ignore social construct. 
I got in trouble for dying my hair and wearing a studded belt at school, so when she had to come in to talk to them, she scraped all her back into a ponytail, dyed her ponytail hot pink (bare in mind her hair was ice blonde) re-pierced both her entire ears, and went to the school meeting wearing jeans, DMs, a 'mans' shirt and leather jacket, and asked them what the issue was. . .ICONIC! 

Got bullied for being the 'goth kid', she told me I didn't need to be like everyone else and encouraged me to be myself. 
I shaved my hair off (grade 5) leaving just my fringe the next day and wore my new rocks to school. 

People need to learn the lessons she tried to teach. Instead of trying to tear people down and make them all fit into nicely organised moulds like something out of a factory line, how about we just embrace everyone's differences, celebrate their individuality, and live our best lives."


 "At the end of the day, you cannot control what other people think or feel. You need to deal with how you feel about it. You need to remind yourself that it's your own views of yourself that are valid. And that's it really, not everyone is a closed minded idiot too. Just embrace being you." Jennova Parker


PLUS, some really great quotes were mentioned, including.. 
"Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons."
"Mermaids don't lose sleep over the opinions of shrimp." 
"A lion does not concern himself with the opinion of sheep."
“Always be a unicorn in a field of horses”.
“You might be the only rainbow someone sees on a grey day.”
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” - Dita Von Teese


 I have always loved 'standing out in a crowd', which was hard for some of my family members. Their criticism of my creative expression (my pink hair, my brightly coloured tights, my spiked chokers, my synthetic dreads etc) hurt and really effected how I presented myself for a long time.. which lead me to internalise so much and really struggle with 'who' I was as I felt like the 'real me' wasn't accepted by some people who were supposed to love me unconditionally. I can only imagine how hard this is for someone who comes out as gay or transgender to an un-approving family member. I think the turning point for me really came when my illness really kicked into gear and I could no longer do anything I enjoyed doing and I had to really search inside myself for who I was underneath everything... that and being rushed to A&E in a giraffe onesie pretty much cemented me no longer giving a f*@$! 😉

I'd love to hear more thoughts and experiences on this from both sides of the coin, if you're currently struggling with expressing yourself / being your true self or if you've overcome the fear and are unapologetically YOU! 


Much love and sparkles,

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