In 1993 Ice Cube released the critical and lyrical smash hit “Check yo self” off his second album The Predator. The chorus has been one that has recently been floating around my head. “Check yo self before you wreck yourself”. If you have a few brain cells you understand the message behind this chorus. It’s about self examination. A lot of people need to check themselves cause they’re going to wreck themselves. I am one of those people. I’ve been the type of person who is able to analyse and objectively look at myself, self analysis. But we are going to discuss a large aspect of human life that we all seem to ignore or we unconsciously control. As you’ve guessed from the title, Perception is what I want to discuss. Plain and simple the way we are perceived matters, a lot. The way people see us is key to how we live our lives. If you are a catholic priest then you have a specific perception from people. A man of god, a man of guidance or a potential pedophile (depending on who you talk to). When it comes to perception there’s a lot we can control but I’d argue that we have a lot that we can not control. Recently I’ve been evaluating what my perception is. Am I who I think I am? Am I who people think I am? Am I honest when I express who I am? These are questions that tornado around my head in the past week. As you read this I hope you do the same, reflect on these questions. Some aspects of perceptions are out of our control. I’m black, so how society generally views me is out of my control. Before I even speak there is a perception of who I am, I don’t have to spell it out for you. Another example is being a woman, there’s automatically a perception and pre-conceived notions about who she is. We communicate on multiple levels displaying to people what they should think of us. There’s the rare few that really don’t care about their perception, they are free from the judgement of others. I used to be one of them. The problem with that is “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks” is unrealistic in this globalized world. I’m not saying that as people we should micro manage who we are to please the masses. That’s fake. I don’t want to encourage being something or someone you’re not to please others. Never. I want to encourage us as a generation, as a people to understand the importance of perception. Before you go on that facebook rant about whatever taboo topic, before you post that picture, before you act a fool on snapchat, try to understand the implications. The freedom of expression is a beautiful thing but there will always be ramifications. As I take this journey through life, I’m starting to understand the importance of perception. It is never too late to learn. The way we express ourselves in day to day life with our family and friends is key. They usually will tell us the truth and expose their personal feelings about us. We must listen to family and friends, but we can’t ignore acquaintances, co workers, classmates and the general public. They view us (you and me) in a very specific way, the manner in which we present ourselves matter. We live in a capitalist society where everyone is trying to sell us something. So it is natural that we should sell ourselves, sell ourselves to be the best commodity out there. We should be the sweetest pineapple in the grocery store, the best book in the shop, the best drug in the streets, the best player on our team and so forth. How do we become that? By listening to Ice Cube.
Check yo self before you wreck yo self.