On Being Yourself

A scene from 'Pleasantville' (1998)

Dressing as I did did not make me ‘happy’ necessarily, but it unified me – and that is what we must all do with our lives. There are always penalties up to any age for presenting the world with a highly individualized image, but if it is the genuine you and not some affectation (a distinction which, I realize, may take years to sort out) then you must be what you are, honestly and bravely, with all the taste and intelligence you can muster. Life will be more difficult if you try to fulfill yourself, but avoiding this difficulty renders life meaningless. To arrive at the end of your life thinking, I never did anything I really wanted to do…must be one of the most profound miseries the human soul is capable of feeling – and one for which there is no last-minute cure or consolation.

Quentin Crisp
Manners from Heaven (1985)

Screen capture: A scene from Pleasantville (1998)

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