So, tonight I attended the CES fireside in the Marriott on campus (duh... that's where everything happens! :) ) Anyway, Elder Quinton L. Cook was the speaker, and as he started speaking I settled comfortably back in my hard stadium seat to prepare myself for a long, spiritually uplifting night and the usual "You kids here at BYU are amazing.... the chosen generation... you are so strong..." type of message. Not that I'm complaining in the slightest... I LOVE those messages. They make me feel good about the world. However, while Elder Cook did speak about our being the chosen generation, there is one thing that he spoke about that really hit home for me.
"Whate'r thou art, act well thy part." -Shakespeare.
BAM!!! Basically, this is the 16th century version of "be yourself!" But, come on! I'm still a wee teenage Meghan. I still am going through the adolescent struggle of self identity. How do I be me, when a lot of the time I don't know who me is? I was a late bloomer for this stage in life... in high school, I knew who I was. I was a fast swimmer, a smart girl in all the "hard classes", and people knew who I was. I guess that sounds a little conceited, but honestly, O'Very isn't exactly a common name (and when you think about it, it's pretty easy to remember....but don't think too hard about it ;)), and I have a dad and an older sister who caught the attention of the little Cache Valley early on. I was sort of caught in the wake of high expectations, but I didn't really mind too much. I knew exactly how to define myself.
But, suddenly I'm in an environment of 32 thousand students who were all the "smart" kids in the "hard" classes, and on an incredible team with nationally ranked swimmers and coaches, where everyone is incredible. I felt like a goldfish who was huge in a little tank, but was suddenly thrown into an ocean. I didn't know how to act, how to think. And honestly, I'm still figuring it out. But you know what? I am still the same goldfish. And I should be proud of that goldfish.
However, for some reason this year, I tried to convince myself that I was supposed to be a angel fish. No matter what, a goldfish will not be happy pretending to be an angel fish, no matter how hard it tries to convince itself that it is happy. Because you know what? That is NOT who that goldfish is, and being anything (or anyone) other than yourself can only lead to problems, because you can never be comfortable in anyone else's skin but your own.
I guess I'm not sure where I'm going with this.... Elder Cook asked, "Why we would ever "put on a mask" and try to be a person that is contrary to who we are and what we want to become? " I guess my point is, in his words, "Act in accordance to your true identity."
I know the me I am now isn't the me that I want to be someday. And we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves about that, either! I mean, we're trying to judge ourselves as unfinished works-in-progress in comparison to an image of the perfected being that we want to be someday. I am SO guilty of that.
But I do know this: we are defined by our choices, by our beliefs, by our faith. So be who you are. Be that goldfish, and be happy about the goldfish that you are. :) Take off the mask, and just be YOU!
ocean pretty well. :)