By Mark E. Smith
Matt Fraser isn’t afraid to be nude. He also isn’t afraid to appear on stage at venues ranging from off-Broadway plays to movies to television shows, including this season’s smash hit, American Horror Story: Freak Show. And, his fearlessness doesn’t end there. Matt is a Black Belt, a forever-charming ladies man and even a BBC radio show host.
However, here’s the single most important aspect to the success in Matt’s life: Matt Fraser isn’t afraid to be Matt Fraser. He presents himself with authenticity and doesn’t give us any other choice. We either accept Matt for who he is – disability and all – or move on.
How many of us struggle or have struggled with being who we are? Maybe as children we behaved a certain way to please our parents that wasn’t authentic to our identity. Maybe in high school, we caved to peer pressure, not feeling safe to truly express ourselves. Maybe in our careers, we squelch our personalities to fit a corporate norm. And, how many of us have curbed our behaviors, feelings and wishes to please a partner? Indeed, we’ve all been there. Yet, here’s my question for you: Have any of these scenarios worked for you in the long term?
Of course not. It’s never worked for you or me because whenever we’re not 100% authentic, parts of us feel inadequate, denied, undesired, squelched – and that’s painful. However, if you want to avoid such a terrible fate, just be yourself! It will feel risky and scary at first, but soon it will feel liberating, the freest you’ve ever felt. Now, some in your life won’t be able to handle the real you because they’re used to a watered-down, squelched version. But, your world as a whole will feel anew, fresh air filling your lungs as never before.
I remember being in my 20s and very self-aware. I watched carefully what I said to whom, and although I often had zany, witty thoughts pop into my head, I rarely uttered them, fearing I’d sound uncouth. My brother, on the other hand, who shared my wit, said anything to anyone, and I observed how charmed others were by his authenticity. With my brother as an inspiration, I slowly let my authentic voice come out – I’d say exactly what I wished on stage and in witting – and that’s when my career took off in every direction. It was time for me to be… well… me.
Some two decades later, being Mark E. Smith is a blast. I mean, if you’re an adult and ask me, “What happened to you,” I’m not going to give you a politically-correct answer about cerebral palsy as I would have in my 20s. Rather, if you’re an adult ignorant enough to ask me that question at an airport or such, I’m going to be me and you’re getting a one word answer: Quaaludes!
Each of us were born to be who we are, and assuming we’re healthy individuals, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to simply be who we are. Society, partners, and you name it may try to squelch who you are. But, your obligation is to be a Matt Fraser and live your life beautifully, exactly who you are, never compromising your authenticity – and the world will embrace you.