The best you can be

There’s only so much time to do things in a day or a week. Some people choose to spend their time being who they want to be. Some people choose to spend it trying to force others to be more like them. But most try to hide from the world altogether.

Disguised in their ego. Dressed up as someone they don’t recognise. Reliant on what others value them as. Fake. Or so they say…

I often ask myself what my “why” is or why I am doing what I am doing and whether I’m doing what I set out to do. Waking up in the morning, riding my bike to work and rocking up ten minutes late thinking “why am I here?”

Don’t get me wrong though I am grateful to have an amazing job and it’s true that I love what I do. But it’s hard to try and distance yourself from other people’s opinions especially when you are struggling with imposter syndrome.

The insecurity that you aren’t good enough for your position, that you don’t qualify to be where you are. It scares me sometimes to think that the things which make up who I am simply are not good enough by others standards.

It’s difficult to see things from a mirrored perspective. That others don’t see you for who you are because they’re too busy being worried about how they compare to the world.

Being cognisant of the reality that you’re the sole overseer of your life is difficult at best when these petty little games happen on a day to day basis.

But like a muscle in your body once you get stressed out about things enough you become more flexible and stop giving so much away to these sorts of judgments and have time for the subtle issues like categorisation and stereotyping.

Recently I heard a Minister in NZ saying that racism did not exist and that only unconscious bias was a thing. Sometimes growing up I wondered whether racism was a thing or not too.

Racism is such a taboo topic to bring up. Like suicide, it’s something that not many people can relate to directly but the few who are affected advocate it formidably.

As a young Māori boy it was not always clear that I was a part of the demographic who were most likely to live in state care, to commit suicide, or to be admitted to youth court in New Zealand.

It was not something I was particularly proud of later and still today in social situations for some reason I struggle to find space for my cultural background.

In context, it paints an image of how social behaviour can really shape how we perceive ourselves to be especially if we are not strong enough to stand up for who we are sometimes.

Little by little it’s the small unintended influences which drag our feet through the mud during the day. This is not just pertinent to being Māori either but in many situations, particularly social, rules of thumb are often used to help profile people for many reasons.

This might even be in the wording of how your friends present you to someone they know. “This is my colleague, this is a young person, this is my bro, this is Mana.” Attitude says everything.

With recent controversies surrounding ex-politicians in NZ such as Don Brash refusing the idea of having the Te Reo Māori language taught in primary schools, and with other comments from members of public saying “Māori should be put on their own island” it is hard to say whether all of New Zealand are racist, but it would be less difficult to say that people are assholes at times and are also unconsciously biased against young black men.

Since starting this blog though I’ve become a happier person overall. Working with amazing people with incredibly diverse backgrounds, experiencing new chapters in life with new family members being born, and having different opportunities to challenge stupid decisions has been how I have been able to get really close to the real me, and in that I guess it’s about saying I am being the best that I can be.

Ngā manaakitanga

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