Joshua Leevers was the school prefect who made the famous MASH week speech a few weeks ago during assembly. He’s also a cultural captain in Kupe House. Joshua has several extracurricular activities, with his most famous one being part of The Fingers and The Blows which you can read about here. He partakes in the Knights of the Castle, musical production, Macleans College Concert Band, Macleans College Symphony Orchestra, and several others. He was asked about the importance of being yourself, and the importance of self identity. Joshua gave us his raw thoughts on the subject.

When you picture yourself many years from now, what do you want to see? What do you envision for your future? Money? Cars? Health? What about the things you’d be okay with accepting in your future? An ever-increasing mortgage? An old Honda Civic? An ever-aching back? Sometimes it’s all too much to fathom due to the stochastic and fundamentally absurd nature of the future. When I was a Year 9, I predicted a much different vision of my Year 13 self, compared to my actual Year 13 self. 

Most people don’t seem to have a solid grasp on who they are, or what they want to be. Generally, that’s alright. But what isn’t alright is not wanting to know what you want to be. Not only know in a career sense, or what you want your future to look like, but not wanting to know what YOU want to be. What kind of person are you? Who are you inside? It’s a daunting consideration for many I’m sure, what does it even mean to be yourself? Who are you when no one else is around? What form does the fluid of your inner being take when there is no social container to give it shape? It’s kept me up at night pondering, and it has been like this for a while. 

It’s the nights where no one is looking or judging you, and I think it’s the endless nights like those you go through in your youth that build your views, beliefs and characteristics. I think it’s nights like those, the nights of pondering and thinking about myself, my thoughts, my niche within society, and the world as a whole drive my will and desire as a person.

The classes for the seven scholarship subjects I take don’t do themselves. The music for the various groups I’m in doesn’t learn itself. Waking up at 5 AM to get ready for an early morning rehearsal doesn’t happen on its own. It’s all a result of intense introspection and fear. You ponder yourself to the point of growth or insanity I think. There’s a razor-thin line between vanity and amorphous self-apathy, that’s gotta be kept in check when trying to adhere to yourself, too far in one direction and you’re a narcissist and too far in the other you don’t care enough to be yourself. But I feel for most people you could afford to explore either more. Fall off the tightrope of self-expression, fall and fail just to get back up again with a different approach. 

That’s what it means to be yourself in the first place. 

Experiment, diversify, indulge in your readings in yourself and come out the other side for worse or better. To rinse and repeat the process in infinity there is no such thing as a defined personality, only either the forever improving self or forever worsening self and that is the importance of being yourself. You can’t have exorbitant wealth, because you’ll just be a husk of a shell. At that point, you just become a suit-wearing placeholder for others to superimpose themselves into. And you can never be happy if that’s all you care about. I’m not saying there is a verifiable foolproof way into happiness, but I know as much that the sun will rise tomorrow and the sky is blue, and that I will never find out if I will be happy with myself if I don’t try to know who, or what, or why I am inside.

30th August, 2023
Written by Joshua Leevers, edited by Emma Li
Photography by Emma Li

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