To Thine Own Self Be True
When I was 14, I received a call from a woman, Kristy, to babysit her little girl. I had been recommended by this woman’s neighbor, for whom I babysat often. Kristy told me I could just walk over to her house at 4:00pm on the next Saturday. It was several long blocks, but I didn’t mind. I met Kristy and her baby girl. Kristy said to me that she had seen me, on several occasions, walking my duck. “My dog?” I questioned. “No,” she said, “I saw you walking your duck!” I tried to explain that I didn’t have a duck, to which, she insisted, I did have a duck. Having not met her before, I decided not to argue any further.
I am 5’8″, have red hair, and weighed about 125 lbs way back then. It turns out, she had confused me with a girl at the end of her block, who was about 5’10”, very blond and weighed 180 or 190 lbs.
Kristy saw what she wanted to see. She didn’t want to back down from her choice either. I could have decided I did have a duck, but I was sure of who I was.
In Hamlet, Laertes is leaving for Paris and his father’s last bit of advice to him is, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”
How many times do we concede and allow another person’s opinion or comment to define us? In my 56 years, I’m just discovering that everyone’s opinion of me, has nothing to do with me. I am just now understanding ‘to thine own self be true.’ If others were right and I believed everything they’d ever said, right now…I’d be walking a duck.