When I was younger, I always heard this advice - "Just be yourself." "Dare to be different." "Don't worry about what other people think." "March to the beat of your own drum." This advice never made any sense to me, because as far as I could tell, that's what I was doing, and I was still generally unpopular. I was never bullied or anything like that, but I just didn't have a lot of friends. It wasn't until later, when I went to college, when I realized I actually wasn't alone, far from it. I just wasn't surrounded by the right people before. At the end of the video, when all of the separate dancers started dancing together, it made me incredibly happy, because it reminded me of how I felt when I met my friends at college, or when I went to a comic-con for the first time. Here were a ton of people, like myself, who had been alone before, but now here we all were, together, passionate about the same things.
The bottom line is, I'm now old enough to understand the true meaning behind the phrases I always heard in middle and high school, and the meaning behind the song and video. 'Be Yourself' isn't a get-popular-quick scheme, 'Dare to Be Different' isn't a blanket excuse for being antisocial or hating the mainstream, and 'Be Brave' doesn't mean operating without fear. Bravery is operating in spite of fear - being worried that you'll look stupid dancing all by yourself, but dancing anyway, because it makes you happy. And 'Be Yourself' just means, be the best version of yourself that you can be. Be the person you'd like to meet. Write the book you'd like to read. Draw the art you'd like to see. Because chances are, you're not as alone as you think.
© Gina Florio 2013