Be you. ALWAYS be YOU!
And if people don’t like it, tough!!!
(They’re not the people that matter anyway).
It took me a VERY looooong time to accept myself for who I am.
Yep, I am a little bit weird; a little bit eccentric and left-of-centre.
I may even be a little annoying and paranoid at times.
I know I’m loud and stubborn.
Sure, I can rub people up the wrong way with my brutal honesty and opinions.
And I completely wear my heart on my sleeve.
This is ME.
And I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. But I’m finally OK with that. Take me or leave me.
I know I won’t ever please everyone. I know I won’t always do what others want or expect me to do. I know that some people may find the attributes I listed above as negative ones, but to me, they are part of who I am and I love them – maybe not the paranoid one, but the rest I love 😉
But it took me a long time to love myself.
I was bullied throughout primary school and high school. Not physically bullied, but bullied with words. I was teased all the time for being who I was. I was teased by the same group of people, who would then bring others on board for fun.
I wore glasses. I was intelligent. I was hard working. I would always put my hand up to take part in activities. I was well behaved. I followed rules. All good things, yeah???? But when you’re at school, these things make you ‘unpopular’, a ‘nerd’, a ‘dork’, ‘not cool’, a ‘loser’.
It was hard for me to make new friends or be around people I didn’t really know. I had one or two close friends, but even then I would always question myself. Although I was friendly, I was very self-conscious and always wondered what people thought of me.
I would do things so people would like me more. (How sad is that!!!!). I would help them with their homework. I would draw front covers for their projects. I would share my answers with them. All in the hope that they would like me more.
I soon realised they didn’t like me for me; they liked me for what I could do for them.
Thinking back as I’m writing this, I am so angry at myself for doing these things for people. I sold myself out in the hope of becoming more popular. How lame! What does popularity get you anyway?
However, I am so proud of myself for never succumbing to peer pressure in order to be ‘popular’.
I never smoked, I never took drugs, and I never drank at parties (yep, I was invited to parties!!! Go figure). As I mentioned above, I’m a stickler for rules and am pretty stubborn, so if I didn’t want to do something, I wouldn’t. It’s interesting though… choosing NOT to do these things did not encourage more bullying. I don’t get teenagers 😉 so confusing!
I came to realise that what was most important to me, was achieving my goals, and being true to myself in the process – even if that meant I was going against the trend. I wanted to be proud of myself. I wanted to go to uni and become a primary school teacher, and no-one was going to stand in my way.
Screw the haters. This was me – glasses and geekinees and all!!
Thankfully, as the years went on, and especially towards the end of high school, people’s perception of me started to shift. Maybe it was because I was becoming more sure of myself (or maybe it was because others around me were growing up!). People started to see that the things I did, what I said, and how I conducted myself, were the things they also wanted for themselves.
The things I was once bullied for; intelligence, work ethic, participation in school activities, following rules, etc., were the things others started to respect about me. I was even nominated by my peers to be one of the 6 school captains of our high school! I went from being laughed at and teased by these people, to being chosen by them to be one of their leaders.
Looking back, I would never change my primary and high school years. Despite the teasing, I loved school. I loved learning and boy, did I learn a lot! I learnt to be resilient. I learnt to be empathetic and compassionate. I learnt that everyone is different, and it is those differences that make us who we are. I learnt that you will never please everyone, and that’s OK as long as I am happy with myself.
And I learnt to…
Be you. ALWAYS be YOU!
Are you happy being YOU?
Or do you struggle with who you are?