Surround Yourself with People Who…

Recently, there was a letter sent to someone that pertained to my son. In this letter, the person who wrote it advised the recipient to teach my son some things about how he should interact with his peers. She commented on some of his personality traits and told the recipient of the letter to advise my son not to do those things if he wants to have/make friends when he goes back to high school next year instead of being home schooled.

The letter triggered many things for me, but the biggest thing it triggered was the way I felt as a child when I was told I needed to conform to this or that. I was frequently told to quit daydreaming. Well, my daydreaming has turned into the fiction I write and I have been paid for writing, the career path I am currently on. If I had listened and stopped daydreaming, I wouldn’t be a writer today.

I’m quirky. I’m definitely ‘not’ normal, and for many years, I was told I had to conform to that norm. Go to college, get a job, work hard for 50+ years of my life, marry someone, have a couple of kids, and eventually die, hopefully sometime after the mortgage is paid off.

That path wasn’t for me.

That path isn’t for everyone.

I know that as a teenager, not ‘fitting’ in is tough. My daughter was one of those who could sort of fit in with anyone, because she didn’t fit in with any one specific group. I know for others who don’t fit into the neat little boxes and labels we give people, they might suffer from that, but my daughter never did.

I don’t want my son to conform to someone else’s vision of who he should be. He should be who he is, and find people who accept him that way, instead of changing who he is in order for some specific group to accept him.

This is true of everyone out there. There are people who feel the same as me, and then there are those who feel they must conform to someone else’s standards. The people trying to conform live in agony, perhaps even without realizing it. Life feels mundane, blocked, boring, hard, noneventful, stale, dull, and a whole arsenal of other words. These feelings lead to physical, mental and emotional problems. Mostly, they lead to an unfulfilled life.

Instead of trying to change who you are to fit in with someone else’s vision of ‘normal’, try to surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are. It takes time, but trust me: being alone is actually preferable to being with someone who can’t and won’t let you be you.

Be yourself. Discover who you are for you and then be that person. When you’re okay with who you are, the people who are attracted to the real you will come around. I promise they will.

One reason someone might have trouble meeting people or maintaining a relationship is that it’s hard to maintain a relationship in which the other party doesn’t have a clue who you really are inside. They might love the image you portray, the ‘you’ that you project, but it’s not who you are deep down, and there’s no way that will be fulfilling to you.

So while I know the person who wrote this letter meant well and had the very best of intentions and had my son’s best interests at heart, the letter revealed a lot to me about the person who received this letter who grew up with this mindset from a parent. It made me understand her a lot better. It also made me sad. No one should ever have to stop being themselves to please someone else. Anyone who believes that’s how life should be lived, I feel a bit sorry for them, because they are likely not very happy people.

I, on the other hand, am surrounded by people I love who love me for who I am, faults, quirks, irritabilities and all. I love my life, am happy, and I love who I am too. I’m not normal; I’m probably partially insane, but I am happy, truly happy, with my life. How many people can say that, honestly, and mean it?

I feel blessed.

Be who you are. Let people discover YOU.

Lastly, if you’re a fiction writer, you cannot write other people well until you get to know yourself very well. If you can’t look at the dark secrets hidden in the closet, the bones buried in your basement, the idiosynchrasies you try to hide from the world–if you can’t honestly and openly look at those, you’ll never be one of the great fiction writers. Being a good fiction writer means being able to see yourself the way you are and to see the world in all its glory and horribleness at the same time and still stay sane to write about it.

Okay, mostly sane, that is.

Keep writing.

Love and stuff,

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4 comments to Surround Yourself with People Who…

  • Karen  says:

    I agree your son should be who he is. Surprising thing is, he may just find other kids at school who will fit into his life just fine. For those who have issues with him, well let’s just say, they aren’t worth his time. That’s the nice way of putting it.

    As for your daughter, I’m a lot like her when in high school and even now.

    As for the mindset you and I both learned as kids, we have something in common. I wasn’t one who could go for the you need to do this or that because (insert reason) even though I still fell into the area where your daughter does now. The beauty of that is being in the middle of all worlds, those who knew ME, knew if I had an opinion about whatever the topic of the day was, I wasn’t that far off base for any social topic. (Make sense?)

    Now back to the you gotta go to college etc comment you made. I’m pretty sure I mentioned this before, I had been working from home at around the age of 14 and loved it. Did this all through high school and occasionally even in my adulthood until 3 years ago. Now I am back to working for myself as a writer and other things because this is part of who I am. As far as fiction writing, I will one day get back into that more than I am now.

    I guess what I am getting at is your son should be himself and conformity isn’t always what’s cracked up to be.

  • michy  says:

    Please ignore the typos. I am writing this on my phone on the way to the doc. I’ll fix typos later!

  • Rissa Watkins  says:

    A high school friend I got back in touch with on facebook is going through a divorce right now. Apparently, he had conformed to this reserved kind of guy- which is not the guy I knew from before.

    He had been posting and his real personality was slipping out- causing someone to actually contact his wife and sister because they thought it was so out of character for him.

    It wasn’t. That was the real guy. He realized it too. He is going through a divorce because his wife sensed it, but he kept trying to conform and wouldn’t give up.

    He is so much happier now- and so is she.

  • Gary  says:

    I have always witrten better than I speak. So I tend to either write letters, I have started to not like just handing it to people though (if at all possible). It seems cold and unloving as I’m getting older. I have been trying to still write the letter before speaking to my loved one, and then I either read it to them, sit with them quietly while they read it or read it before I talk to them. My words seem to come together better that way. Thanks for the reminder of how important it is to speak the truth, yet in love always! Stoppin by from Thankful Thursdays

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