Four years at Seton Hall can’t teach you every life lesson. Sometimes, you learn from the people around you – people who hurt you. That’s where the real lessons are learned.
I have always admired Bette Davis. The woman, without a doubt, was the birth mother of sass and raw, unadulterated ego. She didn’t care about what people thought – to me, that’s something, because everyone, no matter how many times they want to tell you otherwise, is so absorbed in what other people think of them. It’s no way to live. You become unscrupulous – you lose yourself. So, I think it is safe to say that Bette had it right all along when she once said that “A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else.”
Bette’s point, in lay terms, is simple, and they are my advice to you – you can’t be a people pleaser in this world. Get that through your head right now, because people pleasers won’t get anywhere. The time will come when you are more interested in appeasing the masses than you are remaining true to yourself. When you stop trying, you lose. When you pretend to be something you aren’t, you lose. You can’t attain happiness if you are willing to sacrifice the truth for it. You are trading in the truth in order to give yourself the delusion of a happy feeling. It’s false, and you will only suffer. That’s a promise.
I do not pretend to preach what I have not experienced. Unfortunately, I know this all too well. For years, I hid, from family and friends, the fact that I am gay. I was 17 and scared that every person I loved would shun me. Only recently have I faced the first sting of rejection for being who I am. I am not saying that it never happens. But at least I remained true to myself. – the truth was out.
Forget who wants what for you. People who know and accept you know exactly who you are, and they love that person, I guarantee that. Take it from me – four years here at SHU taught me so much. I am who I am, and I love that person.
I am tired of watching people conform to this idea of socially acceptable. I am watching people become reduced to hollow forms of themselves because they can’t escape the double life they have created. I am tired of watching people lie and think that there are no consequences. Stop trading in what really matters in order attain that false sense of happiness.
I never traded in anything to be happy. I never lost sight of what was true and good. Although I was afraid, I never pushed the good out of my life. I did, however, lose more than you could ever know. This double life I created put pressure on people in my life, and, as a result, they suffered. I live with that debilitating regret.
But still, we must face the darkness in the hope of finding the light. As the old saying goes, “Hazard Zet Forward.”
Samantha Desmond is a senior public relations major from Vernon, N.J. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.