The ‘Be Yourself’ Hypocrisy

I saw a friend’s WhatsApp story some days ago, and it sparked a conversation that I couldn’t help but share here.

The WhatsApp story was a screenshot of a tweet that read thus:

Get comfortable with not appealing to everybody. It will help you be bold enough to always show up as yourself.


Me: Nigerians will (want to) kill you for this…

Friend: How?

Me: 1. Out of envy because they lack it.
2. Out of jealousy because why should you have it.
3. Out of cowardice disguised as ignorance because, ‘how dare you?’
4. Out of ignorance because, ‘who are you?’

Friend: Jeez!

Me: Especially in this Lagos. 98% of people here are cowards. We can then extend it to other parts of the country in staggered percentages.

Friend: Have you listened to RuPaul’s Masterclass? He said this exact same things you just listed.

Me: I’ve not.

Friend: Of course not in your words, but the same. Wow! You’re absolutely correct.

Friend: It’s not just Lagos. It’s concentrated everywhere. Even in the smallest of places.

Me: It’s more here because of heavy South-Western cultural influence of respect that has morphed into pseudo respect. This is the most enlightened population in the whole country.

Me: Then you add to it, deep seated cowardice disguised as self preservation, and leadership plugged to a respiratory cylinder filled with highhandedness…

Me: …and then cream it with poverty and a lifestyle of being victims to a failed economy.

Friend: 😂😂

Friend: Do you think it all boils down to “Judging”? If one masters the art of not judging others, then you wouldn’t be worried about being judged.

Me: No.

Friend: But all these things you’ve mentioned will sha not let people be.

Me: Our society is not even a liberal one to let you live on your own terms. Everybody feels they have a right in how you live it or express it.

Friend: As in!!!

Me: Even if you master the art of not judging others, everyone around you will judge you by their normal default settings, and then judge you for mastering the art of not judging them.

Friend: 🤣🤣🤣

Friend: Judge you for mastering the art of not judging them… Jeez. Crazy.

Friend: It has become such a normal thing. And it’s so strong that it’s physically painful to read comments sometimes.

Friend: In most cases, I think people are really free to become their real selves when they’ve made it. Then you know no one can touch you…

Friend: …but when you still have to answer to people, and kiss ass? Well, I think there’s only some extent you can show your real self.

Me: …But yet, you’re not free from it. This same society will not have it. So they wait for that ‘success status’ to wear off or for any mistake that’s brought to public awareness, and they’d pounce…

Me: …and it’s not just about the fact that you have done a wrong thing, it’s more than that.

Friend: It’s because everyone now has an opinion about everyone, and how they should live their lives

Me: This is shown when they go beyond the mistake that was made, and start making references to the past in a classical ad-hominem attack.

Friend: Yeah yeah.

Me: Well now everyone has an outlet to air their opinion – ‘democratisation’ of opinion made possible by social media…

Me: …But they’ve always had opinions, but it was limited to beer parlours, newspaper stands, one-on-one gossiping and group slandering parties.

Friend: Hmm… True sha. Social media just heightened it.


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