For a really long time in my life, I worried too much about what other people thought of me and too little about what I thought of myself.
It wasn’t a normal case you hear about, where I changed what I wore and I pretended I had different hobbies or I watched what I said or how loud I laughed.
I did none of those things.
I was always completely, utterly, unapologetically me — loud, sometimes obnoxious, always weird. I always tried to be kind; I’m human, though, so I didn’t always fake it.
I fucked up. I made some really god-awful decisions and ate myself with regret. I argued too much. And I had a chronic need to be liked.
I didn’t want to change who I was but I still wanted to be liked. I beat myself up over the opinion of sheep. I often overlooked the people who loved me, who not only accepted who I was, but liked who I was. I fixated on the ones who didn’t like me.
That was then.
That was when I didn’t realise that sometimes, people don’t like you because you like you. They are threatened by confidence and happiness and intuition with your own feelings. Some people have something wrong with themselves so they take it out on you.
Fuck, when I was 14, I had someone say he didn’t like me because I was ‘too happy.’ Like what is that?
People get this idea in their head of who you are, or who you should be, or who they want you to be. And it can be awfully hard to change their perception of you.
I used to try too hard to change people’s perceptions when I didn’t like what they thought, because I knew they were wrong.
Some people think I’m a big drinker, some people think I’m a boring old homebody. It never crosses their mind that I could be both.
Some people think I’m ridiculously impractical, very few (but there are some) think I’m practical and smart, in a conventional way.
The one that would irk me the most was when some people didn’t, or don’t, think I’m smart. I am a hard worker when I care. Sometimes I just don’t care enough.
Some people think I care too much, others think I don’t care enough. Some think I’m too emotional, others think I’m a cold bitch.
It all depends on what people have seen of me, heard of me, and what stage of my life they’ve experienced with me.
You can bust your ass trying to change someone’s opinion of you. Sometimes it could work. Sometimes it doesn’t.
The main thing you’ve got to remember is this: you are not what others think of you. If this were the case, you would be mere memories, opinions and thoughts. You would be a silhouette. A shadow of a person made by everyone else but you. You would not be a person. But you are a person, with your own memories, your own opinions and your own thoughts.
You can enjoy a big night out and get disgustingly drunk and hate yourself the next day even though you had the time of your life. And the next weekend you can spend the night in with a cup of tea and a movie.
You can say stupid things and common sense may not always be on your side, but go home and study your ass off for a degree or a career or a hobby that you care enough about to work hard for.
You can cry your heart out about happy endings in Cheaper by the Dozen, and you can unintentionally hurt others when you are being selfish.
You can be all of these things and more, and know that you are not what someone else thinks you are.
You are what you think of you.