Do Not Run with the Crowds

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Many things that come into the world are not looked into. The individual says ‘My crowd doesn’t run that way.’ I say, don’t run with the crowds.
— Robert Henri

When my boyfriend asks me what I love about him, my first thought comes to this—he is a follower of his own compass. In a world crippled by the influence of social media, people trying to prove they matter with the help of VSCO filters and golden hour lighting, finding someone who is determined to make their own path is a treasure. Tyler looks up to nobody, has no role models. He is an enthusiastic shower singer, even when he doesn’t know the words to sing to. He wears bright green shoes even when I beg him to wear the black ones. He takes cheesy pictures of me looking my worst in front of ridiculous signs. And the best part is that it works for him. He found his own path to his own success—and for real, he’s the most successful person I know. He doesn’t get caught up in trying to impress people, or invest energy into making anyone like him. He is unapologetically himself.

Spending every day with someone so confident and definitively unique has been like water to my soul. It has challenged me to question my own beliefs and desires and find what is true underneath them all. It has caused me to crave solace, push out the voices of the world, and try running my own way. But when you’ve spent your entire life as a people pleaser who thinks the cool thing to do is try to be more like the people who have a lot of friends or followers on Instagram, figuring out what you want and who you are without the influence of anyone else is not as easy as I wished it would be.

In the last few months, I’ve started this journey of questioning everything. Questioning religion, questioning culture, questioning what I’ve told myself my passions are, questioning why I want to impress other people so much. I’ve questioned why I want to write, and if I want to write. I’ve questioned what my true values are, if the values I’ve held came from wanting to please other people. I’ve questioned the idea of friendship, and what it means to truly walk with people through different phases of life.

For awhile during this process, I took all this questioning to mean that I had somehow lost myself. But now I’m seeing a clearer purpose come through—I’m clearing out the mess. Clearing away this person’s influence, clearing away my idea of myself as that person’s follower or part of this kind of community. Every day I'm learning that I don't need to spend so much time trying to impress the world, I just need to work on finding my place in it.

I’m making room for myself. Whether it’s figuring out what I think about our rapidly changing culture or what kind of workouts I actually enjoy doing, I don’t want to use this blog to write about how I’m trying to get my life together. I want to share about what it’s like to look more closely at the things of this world and emerge as someone who can rightly say that she doesn’t run with the crowds.