#TransparentThursday: I’ve always been unique and original. My family used to call me “India Arie” because I was so free spirited and accepting of my individuality at such a young age. Back in middle and high school I was teased (not necessarily bullied because I threw shots back and 1/2 of the ones who came for me really loved and still love me) for how I dressed. “Girl, whet chu got on?!” “Why yew wearin this like that?!” “Yew got on enough colors?!” And so forth lol. Though it’s been yeeeeeaaaaarrrrrs ago, it blows mind my to reflect on the fact that the same folks who came for me were the same ones to thank for me being awarded “Best Dressed” in middle and high school. Their criticism and vote got me there. As insecure as I was growing up because of certain features on my body (which are my favorites as an adult...ironic), I questioned why I looked the way I did, but I never questioned why some folks didn’t vibe with me. The fact of the matter is, you and I are alike. We are anomalies. We are not for everybody. Your futuristic genius, your forward thinking, your natural ability to stay ahead and everything that sets you a part from “the norm” is what makes those who don’t understand you nervous and uncomfortable. They come at you because they don’t understand you. You’ll find that once you begin to walk that walk that reflects that talk you talk, some folks are going to give you that #TedCrockett stare. Ha! It’s a beautiful thing. Almost just as beautiful as the moment you come to your senses and decide to embrace the unique and slightly insane, and brilliant person you are. I’ve never read a story about Oprah wanting to “fit in” (not relate to, there’s a difference) with her audience. However, I bet the person that decided she needed to be fired when she was 23 is prooooobably somewhere “voting” for her, rooting for her, and supporting her. Never compromise your truth for someone’s acceptance or understanding. In a world where the lack of self identity is common, I challenge you to know, accept, and love thyself. Appreciate the ones in your corner, and don’t waste your precious time attempting to conform for people who aren’t. Happy Thursday, folks!