You Gotta Be You
How to Embrace This Messy Life and Step Into Who You Really Are
YOU ARE ENOUGH EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.
From the time we’re born, a litany of do’s and don’ts are placed on us by our families, our communities, and society. We’re required to fit into boxes based on our race, gender, sexuality, and other parts of our identities, being told by others how we should behave, who we should date, or what we should be interested in. For so many of us, those boxes begin to feel like shackles when we realize they don’t fit our unique shape, yet we keep trying because we crave acceptance and validation. But is “fitting in” worth the time, energy, and suffering? Actor, writer, and activist Brandon Kyle Goodman says, Hell no it ain’t!
As a Black nonbinary, queer person in a dark-skinned 6’1”, 180-pound male body born into a religious immigrant household, Brandon knows the pain of having to hide one’s true self, the work of learning to love that true self, and the freedom of finally being your true self.
In You Gotta Be You, Brandon affectionately challenges you to consider, “Who would I be if society never got its hands on me?” This question set Brandon on a mission to dropkick societal shackles by unlearning all the things he was told he should be in order to step into who he really is. It required him to reexamine messy but ultimately defining moments in his life—his first time being followed in a store, navigating his mother’s born-again Christianity, and regretfully using soap as lube (yes, you read that right!)—to find the lessons that would guide him to his most authentic self.
Compassionate and soulful, funny and revealing, You Gotta Be You is an unapologetic call to self-freedom. It’s about turning rejection (from others and yourself) into a roadmap to self-love. It’s a guide to setting boundaries and fostering self-growth. And most importantly, it’s an affirmation that we are enough exactly as we are.
—Karamo Brown, co-host of Queer Eye and author of Karamo
—Lily Collins, actress and author of Unfiltered
"Had I had access to the testimonies and musings found on every page of You Gotta Be You when I was coming of age, I may have spent more days loving myself. Brandon Kyle Goodman's words are a reminder of the power of Black queer self-determination. You Gotta Be You is a mediation on Black queer life that is full of the sharp wit, singular humor and courageous candor that has come to define its author. Someone's life will be transformed because of Goodman's gift."—Darnell L. Moore, author of No Ashes in the Fire
“Brandon is such a beautiful example of the joy one can have when you truly embrace who you are, and that joy is contagious! The world is a brighter (& funnier) place because of their work and shows other folks that the most beautiful gift they can give to the world is to be themselves.”—Tess Holiday, author of The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl