There was a time being called a ‘role model’ was a compliment. For a lot of people, I guess it still is. It is usually translated to mean you’re doing something exemplary, something worth emulating or you are someone exemplary, someone worth emulating. which can be a pretty good confidence booster. all of those fan emails, social media followers and adoring looks and requests for mentoring can’t be all bad right? well… it can be.
Because over the years, the more my life became a little more public, courtesy of my job and activities on social media, the more i got tagged with the ‘role model’ label and I must confess, the less I liked it.
This “role model” thing? It’s a trap. It’s a one dimensional box I found myself getting stuffed in and it was squeezing off my personality. I was becoming an image; no longer a person; no longer a human being with flaws and feelings and emotions and wants and desires.
Being seen as a ‘role model’ meant working hard to say the right things, write the right things, do the expected things, be the person everyone expects me to be. People say they love you when you’re just being yourself; but the moment they decide you are a ‘role model’, they only love you when you are their version of who they think you should be.
You know what this does? the more you stay in that box of ‘role model’, the more you become a poster everyone looks at; a figure that represents an ideal.
‘Role Model’ has become a mold; and every part of you that doesn’t fit into that mold, you kill and if you can’t kill it, you hide it. You become so good at hiding. It happened to me and i must tell you, the struggle is real. to be someone everyone thinks has no flaws. It’s attractive at first, until you can’t hide anymore and they really see YOU.
When they see the you who has a temper, the you who hasn’t picked up your bible in a week, the you who curses when frustrated, the you who lied about your university degree, or the you who likes to take nude selfies, the insecure you, the selfish you; the day they see you, really see YOU, not the golden image in their heads, most of them will say things like: “I used to respect you”, “you are such a hypocrite” … Your humanity will be forgotten and the pedestal they have mounted for you will be broken into pieces by an angry disappointed mob.
You know what I have learned? I have learned not to believe in my own hype. Not to get used to that ‘respect’. Not to let any kind of movement be built around my personality, to make sure that projects that I work on be bigger than me. To not draw any kind of followership after my personality so that false ideas about who i am do not germinate.
I want to be as transparent and as honest as possible. to be able to say this is me. I might inspire you at the moment, but i need you to know I’m messed up too. I have issues I’m dealing with too. I am human too. So, No. I don’t want to be your role model. I just want to be the me God loves and who loves him back.