I mean really. I’ve never blogged before, unless you count tumblr. And I don’t really count tumblr. That place is a mess.
Really I’m not doing this for anyone but me, though. The thing is, I’ve always kept myself tightly locked up. I admire people who can write about themselves so freely, who are open and honest about who they are and what they like. People with such confidence in themselves inspire me, they truly do.
But I envy them, too. I wish I had that confidence. So I guess this is my attempt at trying. Because let’s face it, no one cares to read your streams of consciousness on Facebook, and Twitter is ill-suited for thoughts that exceed 140 characters. (Twitter is terrible, to be honest; worst form of communication ever invented.)
So I guess that’s the point. You’re supposed to write a lot on a blog. Whether or not people actually read it is irrelevant. My thoughts are out there, I’m not hiding behind a pseudonym or alias. This is me, out in the open. Trying not to hide anymore. Or at least, not as much.
See, I’ve come to the realization that much of percieved isolation has been, in large part, self-inflicted. I could blame my childhood shyness all I want, I could blame spending 11 years in a Catholic school with the same 30 people all my life. I could even blame the mental health issues I struggled with my freshman year of high school (that’s a story for another day.) But at the end of the day, anger over those things doesn’t really change the core problem. It doesn’t help me move forward.
I isolated myself, for a very long time. I let myself believe that I’m “weird” or “abnormal.” That there is something wrong with me for who I am. I have never been popular or well-liked in all my life. I’m no extrovert, I’ve never been part of a large group of friends. I have always felt myself on the outer edges of the circle, somewhat included but never really a part of anything.
I suppose this does stem back to childhood. I was shy. I did have a difficult time making friends. I’ll always struggle against that tendency, I’ve accepted that. But that doesn’t mean I have to believe people don’t like me. And that was what I did for so long.
I can’t for the life of me remember why, but as a child I was so certain the “popular” girls didn’t like me. I don’t believe there was ever more than 35 people in my class at any one time up through the 8th grade. Yet I felt ostracized, and really I never tried to make friends with those girls because of it. I don’t really know why I felt this way. There was no evidence those girls didn’t like me. Yet I held them at arms length, even began to scorn them as superficial and shallow the older I became. What a waste of energy that was- those girls have all grown into kind, good people. I don’t currently think any of them are shallow.
I don’t recall being teased on the playground, nor being purposefully excluded from games, nor not being invited to birthday parties. So where did this perception come from? I can only conclude that, at the end of the day, it’s because I thought I was weird. I was the one that didn’t like myself.
I never turned this negative energy into spite or bullying, thank God for that. But I did push people away. I suppose I must have felt, because I didn’t like myself, I couldn’t really expect other people to like me. So I assumed they didn’t, and I locked myself away to avoid being hurt. And that all extended into high school, which was an entirely different kettle of fish.
People who knew me my freshman year of high school might remember as the weird quiet girl that didn’t like to wear matching clothes (a quirk I blame entirely on 9 years of plaid jumpers and polo shirts.) But it’s true that I was quiet. There was a lot going on with me mentally that year, such that I can’t fully blame myself for all of my behavior.
That said, I had so many opportunities to make friends. Yet I struggled with it, because again I let those fears get in the way. I refused to open up, could barely make conversation, pushed away most people that tried showing me kindness. And yet I wondered why I wasn’t liked.
Now that’s not to say I had no friends, because that would be a lie. Of course I had some, a few of whom remain close friends to this day. But the point is that it was a major struggle for me. It took me a very long time to grow comfortable enough around a person to even text them randomly, to chat on Facebook without fear of seeming weird, or that they secretly didn’t like me, or that I was annoying them.
I wonder, had I learned to let go of all that, might things have been different? Had I opened myself up to people, would I have been closer to them? Was my fear of being disliked the very reason I was?
Probably. Though the mismatched clothes probably didn’t help.
Things improved marginally in college. With each step forward, each new transition, I make a little more progress in overcoming all of this internalized crap. But I think most of all it’s important for me to forgive myself for it. I need to like myself. It always sounds cliche when you say it- but there’s truth to it. You can’t really expect others to like you. Not because low self-esteem makes you somehow unloveable, but because you engage in behaviors that push people away. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, one that I’ve carried on too long.
So enough of that. I’ve kept myself locked up too damn long. So yeah, maybe I am a little weird. But really, who genuinely sees themselves as normal?
I love psychology despite having issues of my own. I hate wearing make up. My skin is terrible and I have more allergies than I know what to do with. I love TV a lot. I’m obsessed with Once Upon a Time and my favorite not-dead character is Regina Mills. Harry Potter and Pokemon defined at least 50% of my childhood. I had an emo phase even though I didn’t always dress the part. I love to write. I love to draw and paint. I’m an introvert. My family is everything even when I don’t show it. I’m super weird about showing and being shown affection. Camping is my favorite thing. I should probably exercise more. I get a little too caught up in my own head.
Maybe I should try coming back down to Earth.