My dear fellow human beings,
In my 40-plus years living in coexistence with you here on Planet Earth, we’ve been through a lot of shit together. We’ve seen the rise and fall of nations and of dictators. We’ve seen acts of terror, and acts of kindness. We’ve experienced times of great joy and times of great sadness. We’ve seen the seasons change and the years rush by, and we’ve experienced love, loss, and everything in between.
We’ve experienced LIFE together.
Why is it, then, that we continue to believe we’re alone in everything we do? As individuals, we continue to feel, and think, and convince ourselves that we are the only ones who have gone through whatever we’re going through. We think no one can possibly feel what we feel. No one can relate.
I believe one reason we feel this way is because we’re afraid. We’re afraid to put ourselves out there. We’re afraid of being hurt. We’re afraid of not being appreciated by others, and not being valued. We’re afraid to open ourselves up to pain and rejection. We’re afraid people will think we’re weird or odd or different or boring.
That’s no way to exist, people. We’re ALL different. To get past all those fears, you have to embrace them. Face them. Step right up and hug ’em tight. Buy them a drink. lol And then move beyond them. Put them behind you. Wave goodbye in the rear view.
I know, it sounds easy. But it isn’t.
When I was 15 or 16 years old, my best friend was about to introduce me to some people she knew who were our age, that I’d never met. She turned to me and said, “Remember, don’t be yourself.” Beg pardon? Don’t be myself? Who the hell else am I supposed to be?? I was so angry at her to say such a thing, to imply that being myself, her best friend of many years, would not be acceptable to her other friends, friends she wanted to impress. At the time, I was livid.
But ever since then, I’ve been thankful. If she hadn’t said those words to me, who knows what kind of person I’d be now? Maybe someone who trips over themselves to please others. Maybe someone who’s painfully shy and introverted. Maybe someone who might be worried about what other people think of the real me. And I’m not any of those people today. Not by a long shot.
I used to have this game I played with a friend called, “Tell me something I don’t know.” The title speaks pretty much for itself. It’s a great ice breaker while trying to learn about another person. If the conversation was ever lagging, I would just say, “Tell me something I don’t know.” It was easier than asking how they liked the weather or the Red Sox or the state of the economy. It got us to talk about ourselves, reveal just a little something that the other person wouldn’t know. It didn’t have to be anything intimate or private. Just something small. And little by little, getting to know another person isn’t so hard after all.
I know a lot of people. I am friends with quite a few. I’m very close to only a few. But a lot of people know a lot of things about me because I’m open. I don’t hide. I don’t cower in my home, worried about what people think of me. I couldn’t care less what people outside my home think of me, because I LIKE ME. That’s right, I like me. There are things about me that are sometimes unlikable, but as a whole, I like who I am.
I’m a woman who loves to laugh. I have an excellent sense of humor and I appreciate that in others. I overthink things way too much. I often expect the worst while hoping for the best. I turn inward a lot. I think a lot. I read a lot. I like cheezy comedies and cheezier science fiction. I like to smile. I love to kiss. I’m a writer, and a fighter. If I don’t understand something that’s important to me, I will question, and question, and question and even argue until I completely grasp a situation. I can be very intense in relationships, and I am equally as passionate. I have an Irish temper and when pushed to my limit, I have the vocabulary of a sailor. I like nature very much. But I don’t like to be too cold, or too hot. I’m ridiculously allergic to animals, which sucks, because I love them. I am becoming more comfortable with my body as I get older, and I appreciate my curves. I’ve smoked since I was 15. I’m ashamed of that. And I’m not ready to quit yet. I would love to ride in a helicopter, but never a small plane. Go figure. I hate public speaking, and I have five tattoos.
I like to be with people who will stick with me, even during times when they don’t particularly like me. Friendships are important to me. I like people who share my sense of sarcasm. But I have no tolerance for passive-aggressive behavior. I understand that some people are needier than others, but I’ve learned that another person’s needs can swallow you whole if you allow it. I’m naïve. I often believe people too easily when they tell me something. And I become confused when people’s words and their actions oppose each other.
These are all things that both a close friend and a casual friend might or might not know about me. But I believe that, in opening myself up like this, by allowing people to see and to know who I am – the good, the bad, and the ugly – it might just help someone else open themselves up to someone else. It might help them think, why not? What have I got to lose?
Here’s a newsflash: Sometimes you WILL get hurt. Sometimes people you care about will stomp all over your heart, knowingly or unknowingly. Sometimes people WILL think you’re weird or strange or different. And that’s ok. If that’s who you are, OWN IT! Embrace your weirdness. lol I’m just saying don’t be so afraid to let people know you. You might just be surprised at who thinks you’re amazing in your weirdness. 🙂