Just a few thoughts

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hiding Who You Are Will Not Make You Happy

This is something I've struggled with for most of my life: Trying to be what/who everyone else wants me to be, instead of just accepting myself and moving on with life and actually ENJOYING it.

First, I tried to squash out my Pagan, Witchy ways to conform to my family's ideas of what a person should be (Christian). That obviously didn't work out, which I realized shortly after high school. However, they still do not know (at least not for sure, even if they do suspect) that I'm not a Christian. I intend to keep them in the dark, at least until I'm much older. Where I live, grandparents have rights to grandchildren (at least under certain circumstances, it's hard to explain simply and quickly), and I've seen first hand how ugly it can get when a grandparent isn't happy with the parent's way of parenting. That is not something I want to go through, nor could we afford to go through it. It's a long and complicated story, so I'll move on.

In high school, I knew what "Goth" really was. I found out sometime around the age of 11 or 12 because I'd heard about it, became interested (since what I had heard seemed to describe me and my personal interests and the like), and did my research. I found that I adored the fashion aspect, loved a lot of the music, and seemed to have the mindset. I had found the thing that best described me in a single word.

But, I attended a high school full of judgmental idiots who took everything Hollywood said in movies as gospel (more on this in a moment).

I'm bipolar, that became apparent when I was about 10 or 11, and because of various things I turned to self-harm. So Goth, right? WRONG! Now not too many people knew about the self-harm thing. In fact, I don't think anyone knew until high school. I also wrote (and still write) poetry. I started writing when I was 4 or 5 (things of my own, that is) and continued. The things I wrote about almost always had a dark aspect to them.

Add the writing dark stories and poetry to wearing all black, and bingo we have a Goth! At least according to the idiots at my school. But they also associated the depression, and other random less than happy things with being Goth. So, my instinct was to protect the name of the subculture and deny it applied to me...vehemently.

Sure, I tried educating the idiots (no, I do not feel bad at all calling these people idiots because they were, and most still are), explaining what "Goth" was as well as the historical aspects of "Gothic" (architecture and the like). It did no good. I spent most of 7th-11th grade being bullied, teased, etc. until people became afraid of me. They weren't afraid of me because I was violent, but I wouldn't take crap from them. Each year there were fewer and fewer people who dared try to start a fight with me or bully me because I wasn't afraid to call them out on how stupid they were being and the fact that I was twice their size (I was a size 3/5 at the time and about 110lb and 5'3" so you can imagine how tiny some of the girls were). As for the guys who were twice my size, well, one dispute with the largest football player in school was enough to silence them after they saw I didn't back down.

Sure, I took the crap a lot of the time and just ignored them, but when it's the same people every day, eventually it gets old. I was more likely to immediately jump to a friend's defense than my own, though, so they learned quicker to leave my friends the hell alone, at least when I was anywhere around.

By 11th grade, the year I left my public school so I could graduate early, most people just left me alone and some were even nice to me. But, by the time I started going through some of the same crap in college and my family was still pressuring me to be "normal," I was starting to give in to dressing more "normal."

I still got all "Gothed up," but not like I used to. Those were the days I was happiest and felt most like myself...and it showed to those around me. But, when I was about 20 I almost completely stopped the "Goth thing," and my depression, and other negative emotions, came out full force. I lived for about 2 years pretending every day to be someone I'm not and it wore me down a lot. A while back, I gave up on that and decided that I was a freaking adult and it was time to stop pretending for good because if I tried to please everyone else, I would never be happy. So, here I am in all my "Gothiness." The first day I was totally back to normal, my husband actually told me he had missed my "Gothiness," but hadn't realized what it was he was missing until it came back. I was happier, all around. Our home is no longer full of building negative energy and there's peace, for the most part.

The point of this horribly long post is that you shouldn't hide who you are to please other people because you will not be happy and it will backfire at some point. Sure, giving up the act didn't fix every problem in my life, but nothing will fix everything. It did, however, make life much more enjoyable.

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