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YoungBlood

Outliers

/ 04:04 AM September 21, 2021

I was in the third grade when I realized that I did not want to be an average person.

It happened when the school principal summoned me to her office. I felt anxious and clueless about what I had done, since I was the kind of student who went unrecognized. As I entered the office, she greeted me with good news. I was told that she had personally picked me to represent our school as the “Muse.”

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For the first time, I felt appreciated, seen, and somehow confident about my looks. However, I had no idea about participating in a pageant, so they scheduled a rehearsal to help me prepare for the event. I looked forward to the day, but then I heard that the school secretary was asking for a “better” replacement for me—I was told that I wasn’t seen as smart enough to become a good representative of the school. For the record, I didn’t have any failing grades; but I was a shy and very timid girl back then who only aimed to have good grades and nothing more.

That was the moment when I told myself I didn’t want to be an average person. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be better, that I could be the best representation of my own ideals and aspirations.

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Recently, the Miss Universe Philippines competition for this year generated broad discussion, especially about a particular delegate who was seen as not fitting the mold. A lot of people tried to discourage the candidate and tell her to her face that she was not qualified to be part of the contest. I found that totally unwarranted.

For one, no one has the right to tell you what you are not capable of. I hope people will not limit their perspective to what is “acceptable” or not. There are far more outliers in this world than we have heard of, and we should all be celebrating individuality and creativity. Breaking free of stereotypes and the effect of unconscious bias is important for ourselves and for the community we live in. Why should our irrational, unconscious assumptions define the success of others?

We don’t need to seek validation from people and base our worth on socially constructed labels. If we do not fit into the accepted mold, then perhaps it’s because we are destined to create our own. We should broaden our minds, see the rawness and possibility of each and every person, to appreciate the genuineness of people and celebrate their uniqueness.

We are a blank canvas, so whatever they throw on us, we have the capability to turn that into something gold. We are capable. We are more than enough, and we owe it to ourselves to bring out what’s best inside and to prove to ourselves our worth. We owe it to ourselves to pursue what we want despite the lack of social approval.

Yes, I owe it to myself to do good and to be the best — for my own personal victory and not for anyone. It is my job to fulfill what my heart desires, and not mind what other people would say. I wish our current generation could lead the way in fostering diversity and building a society where uniqueness can be seen as power — and not the other way around. Our goal should be to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents, interests, and dreams.

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Mirachael Garcia, 21, is from Tarlac City. She is taking up her Master of Arts degree in Psychology.

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TAGS: being your best, Mirachael Garcia, outliers, Young Blood
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