The universe is trying to tell me something.
Over the past few days, I’ve had a few little stings at my self esteem, some a bit bigger, particularly when it comes to my core beliefs. I’ve had a few reminders that the fatosphere and feminism circles I choose to surround myself with are not how a lot of people think and behave.
From the “friend” who told me I “aim too high” when it comes to men (she’d seen my Crush) to the moment I pissed off a colleague by pulling him up for repeatedly and erroneously telling people that I could be “bribed by chocolate” by saying “Actually chocolate isn’t that important to me, but I know how you could assume that by my being a fat woman and all.” From being told to “cheer up” when I was taking a quiet moment out after a stressful morning to gather my thoughts and recharge my batteries to a friend taking offense when I declined to play one of the traditional “girly” games about men. I just seem to be getting constant reminders that the values that I hold dear, and that in a lot of ways, I’m outside of the norm. That I’m considered “political” (despite the fact that I couldn’t give a shit about politics per se) or just “weird”.
Whenever that happens, I find myself rethinking why I do what I do, why I am who I am, and why the the way I think and behave seem so radical to so many other people. Sometimes the old self esteem takes a bit of a battering (it has this week) and sometimes it makes me question a lot of my core values. Which is not a bad thing, but sometimes I feel it sets me back in growing and learning, because I have to go back over old ground, you know?
But the thing is, as my therapist is fond of reminding me, not everyone unpacks how and what they think. Not everyone asks questions about the world around them. Not everyone believes that there is always growing and changing that can be done. However, just because many people don’t do it, doesn’t mean those of us who can and do should ever feel like we’re weird for doing so.
What I want to do is to reach out to those of you who have felt this way, and let you know that you’re not alone. And by doing so, I remind myself that my “weirdness” amongst general folk isn’t unique to me, but that there are plenty of people out there who want to evolve and question and challenge.
It’s ok to challenge people’s thinking (respectfully of course). After all, if someone hadn’t challenged our thinking along the line somewhere, wouldn’t we still be plodding along with the masses?
It’s ok to be different. You don’t have to apologise for not following the same thought patterns and processes as everyone else.
Just because “Everybody knows/thinks/believes/does” doesn’t mean you have to as well. Everybody thought the earth was flat once.
It’s ok to be different. Just because “society” says that you should look a certain way, or behave a certain way, because you’re a woman or you’re of a particular age, or because you’re fat, doesn’t mean you have to. Social rules are not the law.
It’s ok to disengage if you need to. If someone isn’t responding with respect, or you feel that they’re never going to get the message you’re trying to impart, you can disengage. That isn’t admitting defeat, it’s letting go of a pointless argument. Sometimes you just have better things to do with your time.
It’s ok to process. If you need time to think about something, or sort out how you feel, or just recharge your batteries, then take it, and don’t let anyone tell you to “cheer up” or suggest you’re sulking. Even if you do what I do – find a quiet corner somewhere, (I’ve even used the ladies room for this if I had nowhere else) and take some time out. You can do that.
You don’t have to tolerate shitty behaviour from someone because they are your friend or family. If someone doesn’t treat you with respect and dignity, you’re well within your rights to walk away from them. Literally and figuratively.
And most of all, find the people who do support you, who hold the same values and behave in a way that you admire and surround yourself with them. They are the ones who will get you through the tough times, who will celebrate the most when you are happy and encourage you in your endeavors. If you need to step back inside the bubble for awhile to soak up the wisdom and fabulousness of the people who inspire and amaze you, do it. It’s good for you.