"i don't worry about how people are going to perceive me because ...quite frankly, i can't control it."
... and then the light bulb illuminated inside of my head. i guess it was only appropriate that such a profound rationalization would be presented to me in my senior year of college. even more interesting, my professor's comment was unfolding my societal outlook. to some, that quote may seem like a very fundamental understanding. nevertheless, there are so many untapped implications in my professor's comment.
consider how many people have the wrong impression of you. they think of you to be spoiled and ungrateful. they think that you're just a pretty face. they think you're conceited. you're a know-it-all, "blonde", insensitive, playboy, slut, whore, shallow... okay look, do you see how all of those adjectives are just extensions of one another? those labels are not you, but someone else's projection onto you. labels are rarely creative or accurate because most people's "hater skills" are lazy. they see you and they typecast you in their delusional reality television show where it's all about them. regardless of your efforts, it is impossible to forcibly change someone's perspective of you.
a friend of mine said he was apprehensive about speaking in class because people immediately write him off as "pretentious". i reminded him that he would eventually have to open his mouth during class. it would be a better use of his energy to be labeled "the pretentious boy who's engaged in class discussions" rather than "the pretentious boy who said he was 'present' during role". either way, people will project onto him but we cannot be defined by the flawed perceptions of our peers.
this year, i will probably commit a fashion season faux pas. i may slip and fall in the main lobby of Cosby. it's possible that i will dance on tables, eat with my fingers, sing Gwen Stefani lyrics loudly, and pray in public. what do i owe the people who are impatiently waiting to criticize and label me? i certainly do not owe them my peace of mind. know this: when it's all said and done, you owe it to yourself to be proud of who you are.