We’ve all seen that meme that is just #meAF or fawned over beautiful Instagram feeds that are so consistently on brand you wish that was your life; but the meaning and feelings underneath this desire for creating your personal brand runs a lot deeper than what may seem like superficial internet culture.
This post is in response to a thread that I came across on Twitter where @scottiedaisy tweeted the importance of finding a sense self but also finding more value in surrounding yourself with people who also embody “strong convictions, passions…” People with, as we call it, a brand.
There have been a lot of discussions lately about the culture of labels, and whether or not they are a “good” thing. Personally, growing up queer and non-binary and not having the words to communicate let alone understand who I was, I found a lot of comfort in labels. For me, words like non-binary, or panromantic, made me realize that there were other people out there like me, a community with shared experiences, and that I wasn’t just defective.
That being said, my brand is more than just a collection of labels; it’s an extension of myself. It encompasses my love of flowers, my passion for weird surrealist art and poetry, my beliefs on mental health, chosen family, and my hatred of diet culture and the concept of “guilty pleasures.” My brand is my fashion aesthetic, it’s me buying child size animal backpacks and dressing like I fell out of an indie video game. My brand is my commitment to fighting transphobia, racism, ableism, and other forms of systemic oppression, as well as my stand on prioritizing self care and dropping toxic people in my life because I have been there and it is not worth it. My brand is me battling my depression, eating disorder, and anxiety every day, it’s my choice to stay sober, and it’s my passion for green eyebrows, petting dogs, and squealing over miniature things because they are just so freaking tiny.
Having a strong brand means knowing myself and being unapologetically myself. It is self reflection, and it is owning the fact that yes I love pink and glitter, and no of course I’m not going to a party that starts after 10 pm, I am already in my boxers watching Netflix. Millennials are often judged for being too self obsessed and spending too much time on the internet. But while we may spend hours taking the right selfie or composing the perfect tweet, we are also the people behind
and many other movements that show the world and each other that not only do we own who we are, but we are creating virtual communities that give other people the strength to own their brand too.
So while words like “on brand” and “it me” may seem meaningless, they are also tangible evidence of someone consciously claiming who they are, without reservation. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather surround myself with people who own their identity rather than those who shift their values based on the expectations of others.