I've always swam against the flow. A little fish desperately trying to make my way against the tide, I don't seek to be different on purpose. Most of my life I've longed to find others like myself and still wish there was more out there. It's lonely, at times.
What's so different about me? Well, nothing really. I'm a white, straight woman, not a minority. There's nothing about me that should have resulted in me feeling unaccepted by society. I am, however, an INFJ, one of the rarest personality types.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, there's a theory that everyone on the planet has one of sixteen personality types, some more common than others. It's called MBTI, although there are other theories too. If you want to learn more, google mbti. There are free online tests and plenty of info out there. Like I said, it's a theory rather than an exact science, but it certainly helped me immeasurably through my journey of self discovery.
As a teenager I often thought there must be something wrong with me, I couldn't understand why I seemed to be so dislikeable. Sure, I've got flaws like everyone else, I've made mistakes, said hurtful things out of fear or ignorance. But I've never intentionally hurt anyone, I'm an empath, I care greatly about equal rights, and I'm really loyal. I'm not just the friend you go drinking with; I'm the friend who offers support and advice, the friend who thinks of you and messages you when others don't.
So why have I always struggled to make and keep friends?
Well it takes me such an inordinately long time to open up, (mostly because I expect to be judged and thus wait for a person to prove that I can actually be me) that alot of people lose patience, don't know how to talk to me, or assume I really am just boring.
When I do open up, I'm passionate about my interests. I can talk for hours. But most people don't want to hear about them, they don't align with their own interests. I swear some people feel intimated by my passion, so I usually don't bother revealing it.
Since I was a little kid, this has made me feel like an outsider in society. I don't want to talk about the weather, my weekend antics, work, kids, or the usual go-to gossip that seems to the general topics of conversation. I want to discuss art, books, fictional characters, pyschology, history, the meaning of life etc etc. Sadly, that seems to just freak people out, in my experience at least. It's stuff they rarely contemplate. Their minds focus on the bubble of their existence - work/school, the kids, the spouse, their football team. Rinse and repeat. I'm not criticising the way people live, I just don't want to live like that, the conveyor belt of life must be dull. I'm one of those individuals that wants to learn, grow, to think about stuff beyond myself. Is that too much effort? Or am I just lucky I have time to think?
The introverts among you may or may not associate with this, but if you're more of a thinker than a doer, you have probably felt this way at some point in life. If you've got a modicum of intelligence, it's quite common to feel like an outsider, or to be treated as such by a society that behaves like sheep being lead to slaughter.
Since I felt like an outsider, I tried to find ways to express this.
I listened to alternative music like rock and metal, I dressed like a rocker (eyeliner like Jack Sparrow, jeans, studs, skulls, and black, lots of black). I still wear the skulls and the black, even though my music taste has mellowed a little (less Linkin Park or Disturbed, more Barns Courtney️, Kaleo, and Dorothy. Modern Blues Rock is my jam). I turned to art and writing, it didn't matter if no one looked at it, at least I could get my thoughts out there instead of whirling in my head. If no one will listen to you, talk to yourself.
Yearning for others to associate with, I've always admired the rebels. The people who can think for themselves, who speak up against tyranny, who don't follow popular trends, who do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Pirates, anti-heroes, strong women and men ignoring gender roles or racial stereotypes. Anyone who doesn't conform.
This doesn't mean I don't respect those who just happen to like what's popular. All my life, whatever I like usually just happens to be unpopular, and whatever is popular just happens to be stuff I don't like. I don't dislike something *just* because it's cool. But I don't actively seek out being different.
I also know that anyone is capable of doing great things, no matter what they are into or how they look. But I guess I have an innate admiration for people who embrace their difference, since I struggled with it for so long, too afraid to reveal my true self.
I spent too much of my life caring about what others thought of me, and believing what they thought was actually true. Even today, that insecurity is still there. When I look in the mirror, I like myself. I like who I am. Teenage me hated myself. 30s me loves being a thinker, an introvert, a creator, an individualist, a romantic, a rebel. But when I'm around other people that self-esteem disappears. What I believe about myself, is not what others think of me. In the eyes of the public I am not beautiful or interesting. I'm dull, weird, too intense, unattractive. That's what the voices from my youth still whisper to me. And it's hard to ignore. My self esteem in public still has a long way to go. It's no wonder I prefer to be alone, at home, since that's where I can be really me, without judgement or reaction. That's where I'm confident.
Anyone who expresses that confidence, becomes my pin-up guy or girl. A rebel streak appeals to me on so many levels. That's not necessarily about being bad, or arrogant, or even being extroverted. I admire the introverts who quietly do their thing, going against society. The confidence just to do that, without fuss, is something I aspire to.
So, to the rebels, the oddballs, the ones who have a difference and embrace it... Keep doing what you do. You're changing the world, one step at a time.
Stay Home - Self
Have you ever felt like an outsider? Do you have a difference that you embrace?
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Thoughts on life, the universe and everything through the eyes of an introvert. Ideas on misconceptions, society pressures, and the very real struggle of life itself, written by an introverted thinker with a wattpad account. Thoughtful? You bet Funn...