Do you ever look around you and wonder why on earth you can’t quite fit? I know I have this festive season. It took me a long time to realise that being me was ok, that being not quite so open, not quite so social was actually ok and is how I am happiest, the trouble I have at family gatherings and sometimes in general is that none of those traits about me are always seen as positive, through no one’s fault, it’s simply that we’re different.
You see, I’m an introvert and no that doesn’t mean I don’t like people, or that I’m shy, or rude, or that I sit in a dark room alone and don’t want to leave the house. It simply means that I am extremely comfortable alone, that my idea of having a good time isn’t going out all the time, it’s actually just sitting, watching a film and doing some writing. I don’t need to be around people to be happy because I’m often very happy alone, I recharge by being by myself, whether at home or taking myself to the cinema or for dinner. That’s not saying I don’t go out with others, I do, I spend my whole working life around people, I’m in a choir, I go on night’s out and I organise getting together with people, I actually do enjoy seeing people, family, friends, all of those things but at the end of them I can’t think of anything better than just relaxing alone, no interruptions. This also tends to mean I’m quite a private person, unless I connect with you emotionally or have similar life experience I don’t open up. All of these traits for some reason seem to be met with a hint of negativity; I’ve had everything from being described as ‘lazy’ ‘antisocial’ ‘rude’ and ‘odd.’ Simply because most of my family are not like me, they don’t really get that I don’t want to spend lots of time with them, I’m much happier by myself, I deal with things much better by writing and by just being left to it. It results in frustration on my part when I find myself almost dictated to or given advice I don’t need and even sometimes spoken for. I just don’t think being introverted is very accepted or understood.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, all of them, even those I no longer speak to, they’ll always be a part of who I am and have a place in my heart, this isn’t in any way a bad thing on their part, it’s simply the fact that we are so different, we think very differently and have different outlooks. There are some similarities but I often have to look hard to find them. I’ve had said to me “you should open up to us more,” “you should get out more” “you should find a man” all of which are not really what you want to hear at a family get together. Yes they are trying to be helpful and constructive and give me advice but actually I’m an adult now, I may still have some child-like interests, I love Harry Potter, I love to sit and watch a Disney film, I immersed myself in film growing up, in writing and reading and those things are as much a part of me as my life experiences but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m an adult, I’m not going through a phase, this is who I am. I work full time in a professional environment; I honestly don’t need to hear “Oh but you should really…”
Another classic example for me is the fact that I nap on most days when I get home from work, having a long term condition that causes quite serious amounts of pain makes you exhausted, makes you want to lie down and not get up for a few days but I wouldn’t do that, I want to maintain a working life but that does mean I have to rest for a while every so often, this is simply me, it won’t change and it’s not something that I am going to change simply because someone else can’t understand it.
I know there are people that can’t quite get their heads around why I don’t open up to them, why I would rather just have coffee with one person and listen to what’s going on in their life than be around everyone and have to make small talk. I’ve had different life experiences, I just learnt to look at and deal with things in a different way, I have goals that I will continue to work towards, no matter how much I’m told they aren’t achievable or they won’t get anywhere. I don’t blame the people around me at all for not quite understanding me or the person I am, I can’t always understand why they say and do things and it’s meant that I have built a network of people from lots of different walks of life that I do share experiences with, that I do connect with emotionally and that’s perfect. It’s made me more accepting, more able to understand people’s needs when they are going through a hard time and better at simply being there. I mean, I’ve had my share of random in my past, cancer, bullying, long term conditions amongst other randomness so I know that often people don’t need advice or to be told who they should be or what they should be doing, they just want to be listened to, to be heard.
Like I’ve already said, I love my family to pieces, we’re just different, unique in our own ways and because of some of the negative views parts of my personality get I almost sometimes feel like I’m not taken seriously, like there is an “Oh Fay,” mentality about things, this means I simply don’t always bother joining in on conversations or I’ll just sit and listen instead, I’m happier that way and that’s ok.
Today however, surprised me, I saw my Uncle (who’s also my godfather) and his children, I was nervous to be honest. I don’t remember a time I’d seen them or had a conversation with them without the rest of the family around and I didn’t know what their perception of me or who I was is. You know what, there wasn’t anything to be nervous about, I don’t know if it’s the fact that we hadn’t seen each other properly in so long or that actually there wasn’t any level of expectation, it just felt so accepting and so relaxed and actually like I didn’t need to be anything other than me. It made the perfect end to my time off over Christmas.
I’m really happy being the one that doesn’t quite fit in the box to be honest, the one that’s not only on a different page but in a seperate book most of the time. It’s opened doors and relationships I never could have had if I was the same and it’s meant that I can connect with people in a different way. It’s not always easy and it can at times feel like standing alone but I think it’s worth being true to yourself if it means being happy. It’d be boring if we were all the same wouldn’t it?