Hi, Hey, Hello!
As usual part of me was stumped when I read this prompt. Then I decided to do a dramatised (aka creative because I chose NOW to hit some kind of wall with the whole writing thing…Nano is going so well right now…) response expansion on a comment that is thrown around a lot in life ‘just be yourself’.
Right, so here’s the thing I can understand the phase. Literally I can understand why it would make sense to not compromise on who you as a person and my question is why? Followed very closely but how?
Like, there are people in the world who can be unapologetically themselves and not worry about it. Not change it for anyone. Not second guess their decisions and everything they do. They exist in a world of total and complete confidence.
And I don’t.
Not at all.
I exist in a bubble where being in crowds makes me nauseous. Where thinking that there are people that I don’t know looking at me, even if it’s just for a second, makes me want to lock all the windows and doors and shut the world out. I stress over that one time I didn’t hold the door open for someone 15 years ago. I freak out about the time I might have said something in a conversation that could have been misconstrued in some way from 10 years ago…and from 30 seconds ago. Basically all the time. My mind is a labyrinth of all the stupid things I shouldn’t have said. Or all the things that I did say but should have said in a clearer, more chipper tone to make my intention clear. Super, duper clear. I’m that person who looks around aimlessly because they are lost but won’t reach out to ask someone for directions because that’s embarrassing…but then I’m freaking out because I am embarrassed about the fact that I am clearly lost.
Eating out is a nightmare, because usually the thing that I want off the menu also includes something minor that I can’t eat. But I can’t tell the waiter not to put it on because that involves a new set of challenges. So then I’m the awkward person everyone is staring at because I have to pick out the things I don’t eat. Which makes me feel so nauseous that I almost don’t want to eat the food that I have just been handed. So you would think I would just tell the waiter that I don’t want the things on my plate, but no. It’s too hard. It’s a minor inconvenience and I’ve learnt to deal with the stares and the embarrassment.
I can’t let the phone ring more than twice. One because the noise scares me and pierces that wonderful almost silence that I crave and two because if I let them stay on the line any longer that’s rude. And I can’t come across as rude. But then if I miss a call I get too scared to return it. I have to count to 10 and calm myself down before I make the call, and then I let the nerves build up and hope that they don’t answer even though I really don’t want to have make the call again. But I am unprepared for the call anyway. At least when it comes to me I have a reason not to be prepared, making a call comes with an expectation that I know what the hell I’m calling about. Sometimes I even forget how I’m supposed to open a call.
I can’t maintain eye contact with someone at a check out, so I would like to personally thank the inventor of the self service ones even though they also come with their own set of problems, because of fear. And judgement. Judgement that I’m being too slow entering my PIN or packing my bag or moving out of the way for the next person. Just generally full of nerves about the little things.
All the little things.
Which I imagine would make me being 100% myself a little bit hard to be around. Apparently it’s hard enough to be around already and I would say I exist at about 40%-60% depending on who you ask.
I go out and socialise sometimes even though I would rather sit at home and just read the night away because turning down every single invitation out loses you friends it turns out. I take a deep breath before answering the phone and make my voice as happy as possible because the actual tone of my voice is considering too depressing or something. I do go out into crowds and I just drown the fear out with music. I try not to over analyse every single thing that has ever slipped out of my mouth for hours, months, years as much these days. It doesn’t always work, in fact it rarely works but it no longer makes me feel sick to think about it. Sometimes it keeps me up at night, but I don’t feel the anxiety for as long as I used.
I’ve gotten used to acting like I’m fine. That’s what my remaining 60%-40% is now. It’s acting. It works. Not all the time, but it works.
I’m mostly myself. I’m enough of myself that I, thankfully, don’t feel like I’m cheating or lying to anybody. I’m content with myself that I am in the world.
Because if I was 100%, unapologetically myself then I would probably forget what the sun felt like on my skin. How cold winds bite at fingertips and noses. What my own voice sounded like. How to hold a conversation with a physical being. What quietly existing in a busy, noisy world was like.
So I can’t ‘just be myself’, but I can be a version of myself that I like. And I think I have that.
Find me here: