If you’re a fan of Sting, you’ll recognize that lyric from his song, “An Englishman In New York” from the album Nothing Like The Sun. It’s one of my favorite songs and it’s about not abandoning who you are, regardless of where you may find yourself. If you’re up for a moment of rock and roll history/trivia, it’s actually about the eccentric and quite reclusive English writer Quentin Crisp, who inspired the song with his move to New York City’s The Bowery from England. Crisp was quite the gay icon and raconteur. If you get a chance to read his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant, do it.
The video for the song, directed by David Fincher, is also one of my favorites. It’s a very romantic view of New York City, one of the sets of moving images that seduced me to move here in the first place.
One of the best lyrics of the song says, “‘Manners maketh man’ as someone say/He’s our hero of the day/It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile/Be yourself, no matter what they say.” Whether the lighter rock/jazz sounds of Sting are your cup of tea or not, the lyrics speak volumes about embracing – and celebrating – exactly who you are, no matter what anyone says.
Wearing something that seems sort of “off” today? Embrace it. Saying something that not everyone really cares for? Stand your ground and smile. From a bolder lipstick to mixing prints, to speaking your mind and embracing your personal truth (even your own natural hair texture,) the only judge and jury to which you must always be beholden is the mirror. If you love what’s staring back at you, proceed boldly forth and let no one stand in your way.
Be yourself, no matter what they say.