I hate gold.
I hate the color, I hate gold jewelry, I even hate Tracey Gold*. I love gold medals but that’s only because I’m obsessed with winning.
So it’s always a total bummer anytime I go shopping or get my makeup done professionally, because those experiences usually involve someone telling me that I just don’t wear enough gold. Maybe I should buy a gold maxi dress, gold eyeshadow or simply spend my days as a life-size Oscar.
I just smile, never telling anyone that I think I look a ’70s porn star when I wear gold (and no, not in the good way). That’d be rude.
After all: We see things as we are, not as they are.
With that lesson and my newly articulated happiness in mind, I’m finally ready to embrace my point of view.
And that might mean the end of One Unique Token.
When I started this blog, it was all about my take as an outsider on the inside. It was a safe space for the unfiltered opinions I’d been muzzling for much of my life.
But then a crazy thing happened; my fervent views starting shooting out of my mouth. It was blerd vomit. The original idea was that I was a dark knight, sharing my truth online and remaining complacent and agreeable in life.
Now I can’t help but call out white nonsense whenever I see it. I’m addicted to alienating people with my truth. It’s not that I don’t care what people think, it’s that I care more about what I think. In doing so, I think I slayed my alter ego.
I’m not a token anymore.
It’s not that I now live in a place where the majority or a plurality of the people look and think the way I do. It’s that I’m no longer interested in using other people to define myself.
I thought that wasn’t a freedom I could have. I thought that in order to succeed in this society, I’d have to be all about what everyone else thinks.
I was wrong.
I used to do the listening. I was never the one doing all the talking. And you know what happens if you let everyone else speak for you? They start to project onto you. Their disappointments and flaws become yours because you’re too scared, shy or stupid to correct them.
I journaled a few years ago that all I needed was to start doing the talking.
So I did.
I found out that gold brings out the dark circles under my eyes. I actually don’t look good in maxi dresses. I don’t like the taste of whiskey and diet anything. You can be both a Red Wings fan and a Blackhawks fan at the same time. I think sour cream is delicious, beef jerky is disgusting and all Midwest states were not created equal.
And that’s why I can’t be the token anymore. Because that term connotes otherness. But I’m not the freak. I don’t look like you, I don’t think like you and I don’t act like you. I’m unique, just like everybody else. I’m not the other. Who I think I am has nothing to do with you.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy feedback. There’s nothing wrong with suggestions about a new restaurant or clothing style. I’m also open to tips on how to communicate without coming across like James Van Der Beek in “Varsity Blues.”
I don’t have time, however, for anyone to tell me what to wear or what I should eat in the hopes that you’ll feel less alone in your choices.
Encouraging me to go out with a jerk doesn’t erase your bonehead of an ex-boyfriend, nor does it excuse your desire to date him in the first place.
Inviting me to diet with you doesn’t eliminate or explain away your food neuroses and self-esteem issues.
But that’s how you end up with people telling you what’s wrong with you, telling you what you want and what you’re good at and whom you should date and what’s wrong with your job and where you should move. Everyone means well, they do, but if you’ve spend 2.5 decades pretending to be whatever anyone wants you to be, you end up really being nothing at all.
The token identity was my first step at articulating my actual self. Well, this is the second.
I’m not a token. I’m a chameleon.
I love the well-meaning people in my life who offer guidance. Now I finally have compassion and empathy for my other loved ones, the people trying to save themselves by fixing me.
I don’t need to be rescued. And I’m not willing to pretend I do so that you can feel better.
I’ve got work to do. I’ve got plenty of flaws and I know I’ll need help. I’m on a journey. I’m open to having people take it with me as long as they know that I’m navigating. I’ll take advice but I won’t accept judgment. Your truth doesn’t have to be my truth.
I don’t need to be told who I am. Apparently, you do.