Posted by: Reginald Cyntje | July 29, 2009

Be Yourself

The best advice I’ve received lately is “Be yourself not somebody else”. We all have our individual voices yet some are afraid to show their true self. The thing that makes us unique is our special take on life and love. 

As a musician, I spend countless hours listening to music. I really dig individuals that have strong personalities musically. Their sound stands out. I was never really attracted to those that were strong imitators. They were great musicians but they reminded me of someone else. Granted we all have to emulate then create, but many spend their lives emulating and making a career doing so. “Be yourself not somebody else” 

We all should seek guidance from great teachers so we can learn from others (what to do and what not to do), but guidance does not equate to spending our lives being professional copy cats. You have access to the ocean of unlimited consciousness. There is no need to be regurgitation. The divine inspiration is within you. Still your mind, steady your thought and open your heart. What is your message? What is the pulse coming from your heart beat? What is your purpose? 

Imagine that you are given a block of wood to create. Each day of life you have the opportunity to chip away at that piece of wood to reveal the beauty within; the masterpiece. Will you imitate someone else? Or will you create the work of art you are destined to be?



  1. Very well spoken/written. Imitation is often said is a form of flattery, but it can often mean a lack of personality, individuality, and identity.

    Sometimes it can be difficult to fully embrace the true you because of outside interferences, but their significance should remain minuscule, because at the end of the day, you will either be happy that you’re being yourself, or unhappy that you chose a path already taken.

  2. Absolutely beautiful. Wow. Speechless. Which you know is rare,lol. Wait hold on words are formulating…Have you ever read the “Purpose Driven Life” ? I actually came to this conclusion about my looks. I am the eldest and darkest of three girls. People used to ask “Why are you so dark ?” So I developed a complex. Then when I was in junior high my parents couldn’t afford to buy me all the latest fashions so people used to make fun of my clothes. I complained to my dad about this and he said “at least they’re clean”. I also couldn’t do my hair to save my life. All my friends were white jocks so I didn’t have a Naima to help me try out the latest styles.

    So I was fashionless, with a skin tone complex and really bad hair. In fact at my wedding someone who will go nameless said that my ex-husband had the unique ability to love Charmaine for who she is. Ouch.

    I don’t know how thought at some point along the way underneath that ridicule I developed an ego. It was really sort of a schizophrenic existence. I am 5″ 1 but have the mouth of 6ft Wide Receiver. I simply became a chameleon and master strategists. I was short on the soccer field, so I learned to be quick agile and strong. I couldnt beat tall girls to headers I simply broke their ankles with quick feet.

    I wasnt’ the prettiest most fashionable woman in the room but I was always the most charming. In fact my nickname on the campus of Morehouse College was “Lady Mac”.

    I guess the correct terminology is I am pragmatist. I am also a natural born fighter literally. Born on the Fourth of July I was born a revolutionary. That is why trumpet suits me. Trumpet players battle. We may lose one time, but rest assured we will come back the next time and take your cookies. NEVER sleep on a gunslinging trumpet player, lol.

    From the oral history I received from elders, they explained how Miles realize he couldn’t play as high and fast as Dizzy or Parker. So he developed his on style. To me the most important part of being you as acknowledging your weaknesses. I have learned since beginning my musical journey to play what I hear and with in myself. Alot people dont understand the trumpet technique and embouchure training to play like a Clifford Brown or Freddie Hubbard. Without hours of trumpet calisthenics you are not playing like them.

    I know many might ream me for saying this but I don’t want to play like Clifford or Freddie, because I really honestly don’t want to put that time into just playing the trumpet. I want to be a complete artist that can sing, compose and write as well. I really have no desire to scream and play fast. I feel I am a lady and should play like one, with grace and beauty. However, like Nzinga the Angolian warrior,when a battle needs fighting I will fight for the honor of another, but in general I just want to nurture and empower people to love.

  3. Very good advice! I was shy about sharing my thoughts & opinions through my poetry for fear of judgment or not being good enough. Once I worked past that fear & started seeking advice from poetry elders I met along the way, I emerged from my shell. But, I’ll admit that I have the shell nearby…just to crawl into to reflect and create 😉 Great post! Thanks for sharing!

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