People close to me can verify that after recently being introduced to The Cure, I quickly fell head over heels in love. It’s a match made in heaven: quirky, happy, dark, and deep. My current favorite tshirt is a Cure tshirt with a minimalist drawing of Robert Smith and the lyric “why can’t I be you?” I wore it yesterday, and every time I wear it (every week or two…) I feel the need to listen to The Cure to match the shirt. So yesterday and today I have been listening to The Cure, and I really started thinking particularly about the song quoted on my tshirt, which is also called “Why Can’t I Be You?”
I’ve decided that I really dig that sentiment. Especially because it had never occurred to me. But I get it. Loving someone so much that you almost want to be them. To be exactly what they are or exactly what they want. To be as perfect as they seem. I love the kind of twisted idea of loving someone so much that you express it as this weird desire to be them. It doesn’t really seem healthy necessarily, but a lot of us have loved that deeply anyway. Man, that’s a fun feeling–and this is a fun song. But the comedown from the rush can be rough.
But what really draws me to this idea of “why can’t I be you?” is that that specific way of describing romantic infatuation had never occurred to me. I like it because it’s interesting because I would never have come up with it on my own. It strikes me as an original idea, presented in a nice form, about love.
But I wondered why it seemed so original to me. Why did it seem so surprising an idea? And I think it’s because as much as I tried to change myself to be what I thought one guy or another wanted when I was a teenager, once I became depressed, I began the fight to fiercely be myself. I’m almost stubborn about it. I change at my own pace. I change of my own will. Once I learned that severely neglecting self love and self acceptance combined with and resulting from depression can be life threatening, I discovered, first, that I deserved life. Then I learned that I deserved happiness. And I also learned that I deserved love. It never occurred to me to want to be like someone I love or am infatuated with because I have fought long and hard to be me.
I love the song–it’s a favorite for sure–and I really love the kind-of-dark/kind-of-sweet obsession in the song. I get it. Love is fun. New love is especially fun. But I also love that my journey has forced me to focus on loving myself over the last 17 years. I love that I have trained my brain to default to self-acceptance. I love that I can’t for the life of me remember the last time I wanted to be someone else.
And I guess that that is something I really like about me. Maybe it makes me seem proud or self-centered, but I have to put a lot of work into keeping my demons at bay, and genuine self love certainly helps. Something else I guess is that if I could wish anything for my readers, it would be that you learn to love yourself as you are and as you grow. Being someone else is overrated. No matter how great they are. Being you is who you were meant to be. Be yourself proudly.