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Freedom of Expression


Let me ask you a question: do you dress the way you want to dress? I read something a little while ago that I haven't yet stopped thinking about and would like to share with you.

I read Teach Yourself Happiness by Paul Jenner a few weeks ago. I highly recommend it; the author shares incredibly practical tips on how to choose joy and expand your satisfaction in life - and, as the title suggests, to achieve happiness. For some reason, the following part of the book really struck a chord with me - and I'm paraphrasing - "Express yourself in everything that you do - in your hobbies, music choices, friends, your actions, and the clothes you wear. Only when we can be free to express who we are can we be happy."

It sounds simple enough. Yet when I looked at my own life, I found that I don't really know how to express myself; I dress conservatively, though unintentionally so, and often refrain from speaking my mind to avoid conflict (though I am getting much better at this). In art, I think, I feel the most free to be myself. I know that my mama often sees jewelry or clothing she likes but says that she can't wear it because she's too old/it wouldn't suit her/she's too shy.

I know how I'd like to dress; I know whom I admire and would like to emulate; I know what qualities I'm drawn to and what kind of person I'd most like to have as a friend. But, due to fear or expectations or something else entirely, I hide behind something that is not a true representation of who I am. How many of us dress, act, speak, or seem a certain way because we are afraid of being different, standing out, or being ridiculed? It is so, so much easier to blend into the crowd - but you won't necessarily be happier this way.

Let's change this. The solution may not be as easy as changing your entire wardrobe; I suspect that it is something much larger - something in the heart or the mind. I don't know how, but I am determined to work on this, to think about it, until I reach a new realization. Are you with me?

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