Being yourself has a price

12amCritter

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Sometimes I don't realize how confident I am with myself. When I think about back then, I never showed to the public (conversations with friends) of who I am or what I'm interested in. I had this huge fear living inside of my mind, but now (since few years back actually), I don't care what others think. They can't handle who I am? So be it, I don't care. That's not going to stop me from covering it up. People ask questions of why I identify as this or that, I tell them. If anyone asked anything about me 90% I will tell them. Maybe I have grown too careless, tired of pretending something I'm not.

Being so open about myself, I'm alone all the time. I'm constantly talked behind my back and became the favorite "punching bag" among the people I know in person. I receive so much negativity everywhere and it's just fueling me to be myself. Reading the negativity people say about me is honestly entertaining at this point.

But there are times where I ask myself: is this really worth it? Would it be worth it pretending something you're not and having a couple of good friends?

I'm not solitary because of anxiety or not wanting to talk to people. Elementary is when I first realized depending on people is only going to make a person weak. I had that type of mindset ever since, and made me into a person I am today, both good and bad. The good part is I have learned to work out things myself, not giving up on something just because I couldn't do it in several tries. The bad part, I don't and afraid to ask for help, thinking I'll look stupid if I do. But often times I figure things out anyways.

Now, in college, trying to get myself together, trying to adapt to a family that doesn't think mental health is important, trying to ignore a brother who annoys me constantly every minute everyday...is it worth it being myself? Somethings I do really want that one persons who wouldn't turn me down. Though it has been so long, too long, since I decided to make friends. I don't have a problem or any difficulty making friends, it's the person I try to be friends that won't see me as a normal person. Not like I want to look/be like everyone else.

That's all I have to say for now. Just an update with myself, I'm still around here. I hope everyone is having a good day.

 

Shezep

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You don't have to be normal to have friends, which is good, otherwise I wouldn't have any. But you do need to be friendly in order to invite others to be friends with you. The attitude that you don't need other people can be communicated in the way you talk and in your body language. It gives off subtle "stay away" signals. The truth is that you do depend on other people all the time. A smile, a greeting, a sentence or two of small talk signals that you're willing to be helpful and cooperative. Over time those small things build up in your social "bank" of good will. Build up a reserve of mutual trust, and then you will find people who don't really care if you're a therian or not, because they have a history of positive experience from being around you. 

 

Star_3_Dreamer

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I’ve started looking for friends in gatherings of accepting, non-normal people. Like this one!

I spent most of my life without any friends, and I wasn’t even all that outwardly “weird” (I think...). But I found some in college, and they’re good because they like me for who I am, even when we learn new surprising things about each other.

Openness, confidence, and honesty with yourself are very important, and if you have those things, do keep them! We can find lots of friends out there, it’s just hard to know where to look.

...

I’ll be your friend, if you’d accept me! ^-^

 

Elluenda

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There is value to creating a set of filters--the far extremes of Speaking Everything to Anyone and Speaking Nothing to Anyone are potentially painful places.
In an ideal world, we could all speak ALL of our various truths and experiences to anyone at any time, but unfortunately (as you well know) people are jerks.

I have a systemic way of increasing openness with people.
My first step is to send off a cue to make 'weirdos' know that I am also a 'weirdo' and I'm okay to approach. I dress in an interesting and unusual way for my region, wear elf ears, and speak sparingly but always kindly in public. It keeps mega-bible-thumpers away from me and draws people with more interesting sensibilities closer to me. I also use my magical and religious practices to repel or draw specific people and events. I also tend to trip peoples' gaydars.

When somebody approaches me and mirrors any of my mannerisms, I take that as a cue that they wish to connect a bit further than just surface. "WOAH ELF EARS!" from across the room is very different from somebody quietly approaching and asking what I like about wearing elf ears, or where I got them, or what they are, or what my bone necklace is, etc.
Level 2 is "Oh, these bones/ears/weird clothes/sayings I use are [x]. and are an expression of my personal religion and witchcraft practices."
Level 3 is "I'm not really a lady the way the binary gender system assumes I am, and also I am not straight."
Level 4 is "Reality is kinda wonky and interesting for me. How about you?"
Level 5 and beyond gets into the real nitty gritty, like personal history and the psychological and spiritual influences on me becoming the person I am.

If a person reacts with great interest to Level 2, or at least curiosity and a sharing of their own vulnerability and beliefs, I consider them pretty okay for now and give myself some space before trying Level 3. So on and so forth through the levels. "I don't really see myself as 'human' the way I think everyone else views themselves as human/I'm an elf lol" can fall anywhere between 3 and 5 depending on the person I'm talking to.

I think I derive a sense of psychological security from knowing a lot about other people when they know very little about me. Not like I'd use my knowledge AGAINST them, but just that I am still a mystery and nothing has been revealed that they could be jerks about.

I have a handful of acquaintances that never fully got through Level 2, but they are cool and provide fun outings and interesting things to think about, so I keep them. I don't need to know everything about them, they don't need to know everything about me; it works. Usually they have something in common with my Current Life Situation--they have interacted with me at work, they know my partner, they are friends of my closer friends, or we share a specific interest like hiking or crochet or poetry.

While People are always a roulette and you don't know you've got a jerk until it's too late, there is great benefit in support structures. Especially if your blood family isn't providing understanding support.

 

kasdeya

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@Elluenda: I wish that I could tag your post as Useful, because it really, really is. I love your level system, and it's exactly the sort of idea I was searching for in how to deal with others. Thanks a lot for sharing!

 

Addy-River

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When I first discovered the concept of soulbonding back in 2004, I tried to be myself with as many people as I could. I went around announcing it to random people on the internet. In my mind it was so amazing and made so much sense, that surely everyone would feel the same. Sadly thats not how it played out. I was the target of trolls, I was made fun of, I was called mentally ill, people I thought were my friends were talking about me behind my back. Eventually I went into the closet about it.

I stayed in the closet for a really long time. I was terrified of it ever being made public that I was a soulbonder. I hid my SBing forum and you have to register to see it, I hid my blog here, I stopped talking about it, tho I longed to be open about it. Recently I've stopped hiding, tho my forum is still private and will stay that way. I came out about otherkin and SBing on the dating site I met my bf on, I made my blog here public, I've started to openly post in the plural subreddit. I am open now because this is who I am. I'm still scared of being the target of trolls again, but I don't want to hide a huge part of myself anymore. I still don't talk about it much on my FB tho, but I've mentioned it here and there.

 

Elluenda

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Thank you @kasdeya, I am glad this rough outline of my systems could be helpful! It's really made this whole Making Adult Friendship thing way easier!

That sounds like it was really really hard and I'm so sorry you had to completely hide yourself, @Addy-River.
I wish people weren't such jerks. Is it really so hard to just say "I don't get, but you seem really happy so it must be nice!" Although I also remember the internet being a way meaner and more anonymous place back in 2004, so maybe it's just that trolling was waaaaay more common and acceptable. Most socializing spaces I find nowadays have No Trolling rules.

I hope you find more and more sympathetic and listening people to share yourself with--or at least find some balance. Being completely hidden and alone is torture.

 

Snowshoe

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@Elluenda That is really solid adulting advice! I completely agree with what you said. I conduct myself in a similar manner and it has worked very well for me!

 

12amCritter

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There is value to creating a set of filters--the far extremes of Speaking Everything to Anyone and Speaking Nothing to Anyone are potentially painful places.
In an ideal world, we could all speak ALL of our various truths and experiences to anyone at any time, but unfortunately (as you well know) people are jerks.

I have a systemic way of increasing openness with people.
My first step is to send off a cue to make 'weirdos' know that I am also a 'weirdo' and I'm okay to approach. I dress in an interesting and unusual way for my region, wear elf ears, and speak sparingly but always kindly in public. It keeps mega-bible-thumpers away from me and draws people with more interesting sensibilities closer to me. I also use my magical and religious practices to repel or draw specific people and events. I also tend to trip peoples' gaydars.

When somebody approaches me and mirrors any of my mannerisms, I take that as a cue that they wish to connect a bit further than just surface. "WOAH ELF EARS!" from across the room is very different from somebody quietly approaching and asking what I like about wearing elf ears, or where I got them, or what they are, or what my bone necklace is, etc.
Level 2 is "Oh, these bones/ears/weird clothes/sayings I use are [x]. and are an expression of my personal religion and witchcraft practices."
Level 3 is "I'm not really a lady the way the binary gender system assumes I am, and also I am not straight."
Level 4 is "Reality is kinda wonky and interesting for me. How about you?"
Level 5 and beyond gets into the real nitty gritty, like personal history and the psychological and spiritual influences on me becoming the person I am.

If a person reacts with great interest to Level 2, or at least curiosity and a sharing of their own vulnerability and beliefs, I consider them pretty okay for now and give myself some space before trying Level 3. So on and so forth through the levels. "I don't really see myself as 'human' the way I think everyone else views themselves as human/I'm an elf lol" can fall anywhere between 3 and 5 depending on the person I'm talking to.

I think I derive a sense of psychological security from knowing a lot about other people when they know very little about me. Not like I'd use my knowledge AGAINST them, but just that I am still a mystery and nothing has been revealed that they could be jerks about.

I have a handful of acquaintances that never fully got through Level 2, but they are cool and provide fun outings and interesting things to think about, so I keep them. I don't need to know everything about them, they don't need to know everything about me; it works. Usually they have something in common with my Current Life Situation--they have interacted with me at work, they know my partner, they are friends of my closer friends, or we share a specific interest like hiking or crochet or poetry.

While People are always a roulette and you don't know you've got a jerk until it's too late, there is great benefit in support structures. Especially if your blood family isn't providing understanding support.
That actually causes me to back away from myself a lot further. Thanks for your advice, but I think I'd rather live out my life rather than having to level myself down when someone "doesn't deem it normal" about me. I did choose what to reveal and what not to reveal, but there are extremely few people who would even take me seriously about a certain thing. I don't see a point in hiding that fact, who cares what people say. I don't always need to wait for people to understand unless if it affects my safety. Not everything is hide-able, which is why I wrote this post.

 

Elluenda

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@12amCritter Everyone's mileage varies; It sounded like you were having a hard time finding people to be around who weren't either annoying/take you for granted (like your brother and family) or eventually reject you for your candor (these friends who turn you down at some point even if they are nice at first.) Since this is an open forum topic and not a private blog post, I figured I'd share how I've dealt with finding a balance in my own social spheres that allows me to Be Myself and also still have a few layers of support I can turn to if I need it.

I don't change how I behave based on what 'level' a person fits into, I just don't explain myself to people who won't appreciate it. If somebody won't support me because I'm wearing elf ears and meditate every day, I'm not going to waste the breath explaining my religion or views on otherkin. Like you well know, some people just... won't ever get it. I'm also lucky that my job and living situation don't force me to rely on outsiders/strangers. If one's life requires they rely on outsiders/strangers, more hiding may be necessary.

I hope you can find some real friends who won't abandon you about stuff that shouldn't bother them to begin with.

 

Star_3_Dreamer

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That actually causes me to back away from myself a lot further. Thanks for your advice, but I think I'd rather live out my life rather than having to level myself down when someone "doesn't deem it normal" about me. I did choose what to reveal and what not to reveal, but there are extremely few people who would even take me seriously about a certain thing. I don't see a point in hiding that fact, who cares what people say. I don't always need to wait for people to understand unless if it affects my safety. Not everything is hide-able, which is why I wrote this post.
I want to like this post a whole bunch, but the reaction system is turned off here. So I’d just like to say: yesyesyesyesyesyes ^_^