Today’s post is inspired by a quote from Nayyirah Waheed’s poetry book, salt. I found the quote posted on Instagram and its simple yet straightforward message struck a chord within me. Here’s the reason why.
“Naive”, “innocent” and, at times, “childish” are words that I hear others use when they describe me. And, for the most part, I agree with them. As a young adult, I’d readily choose to play Pokemon over going out to parties or clubs, pick to re-watch animated movies over movies with more adult themes and, sometimes, it’d still take me some time to understand some of the jokes my friends would make. I never really gave much thought if being naive or innocent were negative ways to describe a person. Although this is the case, I sometimes feel left out when I’d see my friends having fun at an activity I chose to skip out on but the feeling never really lasts for long.
Going into my first year of uni was a bit of a different story. During the first two weeks, there were various parties and events almost every day and night. Since university was a whole new experience for me, I thought, “why not give a few of them a shot?” And so I did. I attended a few hang- outs and parties to get a glimpse of why most people loved doing it so much. At first, I didn’t really get the answers I was looking for. In one social event, I was introduced to a few people and I tried talking to them but soon, I ran out of things to say and I became uncomfortable. At another party I unwillingly attended, I followed my heart to lead me straight back to my dorm to order pizza and watch anime. These were only a couple of memories that really stood out to me because I distinctly remember being out of place since I don’t enjoy the same activities that other people my age did.
After that party, my roommate asked me why I had left early and why I always stayed in the room. My answer went something along the lines of “I’m more relaxed inside” and although she didn’t seem convinced, I really didn’t care. That was the plain and simple truth. I just didn’t enjoy the same things most people my age do and that wasn’t – isn’t– a problem. It just took me some time to be comfortable with that line of thinking, and Narriyah Waheed’s quote cemented that in me.
Being called “naive”, “innocent” or “childish” are not insults, so don’t take them that way. There’s no rule that you should like certain things at a certain age. A friend of mine who did admit that I am a bit childish, said, “But that’s fine. Don’t let the world take away your innocence.” And he’s correct. Don’t act in ways that make you uncomfortable. If you like playing the same games you played when you were younger, then do it. Alternatively, if you prefer to go partying with your friends, then do that too. And if you like doing both, then do both. Be who you are and if that means being childish or innocent, then, to quote Narriyah Waheed, “stay soft. it looks beautiful on you.”