When Dr. Seuss Taught Us This Really Important Life Lesson…

Amanda Pena
Amanda Pena is one of those bridge and tunnel people that frequents the city for her job and the Chipotle on every other block. She hopes to be the next Cheryl Strayed and touch people's lives through her writing and/or find the best prosciutto deli in Manhattan.

An eloquent and world-renowned doctor once said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

While that may have been Dr. Seuss, you can’t deny his ability to breakdown such a difficult theme of life into words that simplify and resonate with people. While it seems natural to say, “I am who I am,” most of us have a problem with being comfortable in our own skin.

The constant comparisons we make to our friend’s social media newsfeed or timeline, the desires we hold back and withdraw from because we’re afraid, the self-inflicted belittlements, all prevent us from remaining true to ourselves. And when you’re young and so susceptible to outside influences, telling yourself who you should be, the pressure to be someone we’re not, feels inescapable.

I scroll through my timeline examining everyone’s wardrobes, their demeanor, their etiquette, hell, I even look at the way they smile, carefully trying to adopt their behavior. Though, what almost always ends up happening is me attempting to be something I’m not and failing miserably. Why? Because we aren’t programmed to be other people, but to be exactly who we are.


How many of us have been in situations where we feel forced to act a certain way in order to fit in? How many of us have gone to extreme lengths to impress someone?


A few weeks ago, my friend invited me to go clubbing with her. The act of clubbing is such a phenomenon to me. It’s exactly like the 500 Days of Summer monologue when they show you “Expectations vs. Reality.” In theory, it’s a carefree night fueled by hormones and liberation. But in reality, it’s a night of shitty music with you ending up in an obliterated mess to drown out the shitty music.

Despite the fact that Marquee and Lavo never lives up to its expectations, my friend loves going. I came along with hesitation, knowing that every time I go it’s such a disappointment. Yet, I still go in hopes of proving myself wrong.

But what I’ve come to realize is that it’s not the club or the music or the drinks that are dissatisfying. It’s the convincing myself to go against who I am that makes me unsatisfied. I can’t knock people who love to enjoy a night of dancing and raging, but I’d rather do something low-key. It’s just differing opinions. But I can acknowledge the fact that going against who I am, what I believe in, and what I like, is not a way to be my best self.

When you are in constant denial of who you are, you are telling the universe that you are not appreciative of the beautiful gifts that you were given. Use them wisely because they were only given to you. So, when you shove them out of their life, they just rot there, waiting for you to nurture them and grow them into something beautiful.

When I’m telling myself that I should go clubbing even though I know deep down that it’s just not my scene, I’m deliberately ignoring every cell in my being telling me otherwise. Remember when they told you in grade school that if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right? Well, that doesn’t just apply to the D.A.R.E. program, but also how you live life.

Trust your gut, know yourself, and be proud of who you are. I’m living my life just as much as my friend is on a Saturday night when she’s out dancing. I’m reading, I’m out to dinner with fun company, I’m exploring the city, but most importantly, I’m being me.

As we morph into, and then eventually out of, our 20somethings, let us remember that despite how old we get, despite life’s ability to move forward at the most rapid rate, the only continuity lies in the strength to always stay true to our core. And whenever you forget that, ask yourself this, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”