Measuring the weight of authenticity

I am not liked nor loved by many people. Networking, making friends, even socializing at all, is very difficult for me to do. It has caused me grave upset and unrest, because for most of my life — if not all of it, because it is something I am just learning how to let go of — I have craved requited love and sacrifice from others. I am not a people person. I love people very much, although I do not like them. I by and large do not like interacting with them, because it is exhausting for me. I love to learn about them, share ideas, and I love moments of authentic communication, but it is seldom that I enjoy everyday interaction.

Especially in groups.

I used to and still admittedly sometimes describe my experiences in groups in terms of predatory carnage: I am the wounded gazelle, and the people around me are the hyenas. Most people who have ever known me for a long period of time and have known me well will confirm this; it is not my imagination. I remember one Halloween, in fact, in which a friend’s friend asked me why I hated the town we lived in so much, to which my best friend at the time replied, “She’s the most hated person here.” It wasn’t intended as a cruel statement, and truth be told, it was actually quite validating, because that’s exactly what the evidence would’ve suggested. My hometown was brutal and I grew up literally fighting my whole world’s opinion of me in order to stay alive.

People don’t like me.

You don’t really need to know the whole story of my experience in my hometown, and there is too much to tell anyway. To be as concise as I can: What first began as ostracization became harassment and what became harassment eventually became abuse. There were mornings I would throw up before school because I was literally too afraid to go. Kids are cruel, and many never grow up. I learned that the hard way, being in various clubs around the cities I later moved to, trying to meet new people, network, et cetera. You think you are among adults until a fifty year-old woman picks a fight with you over archaic opinions and actually insults you “for being weak” when you ask her to drop the conversation–then later messages you online to continue harassing you “for being a wimp” and suggests you “find somewhere else to go” when the group was actually about writers meeting up to write. You realize additionally that you are among no adults when you ask the group leader to address this issue because you’ve already tried calmly talking to this woman, and the group leader does not reply to you after everyone in the party (including the group leader) just totally left you at the table while this woman tried to decimate you for not being an asshole.

Incidents like this happen to me all the time. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and if it weren’t so annoying, discouraging, and upsetting, I would genuinely be intrigued by it and prepared to look at it from a psychological case study perspective. But it sucks.

I’ve made friends before, and I’ve made excellent friends. The kind of friendships I do end up making are usually either life-changing for the better or life-changing for the worse. There are many reasons for this; I feel I know most of them. When you have as much time and therapy and thought as I do, you examine yourself under a pretty close lens.

Honestly, I’ve known these things for quite a while.

I’ve tried to change them or mask some of them, maybe most of them, maybe at different times. I talk about how I’m genuine, and I really am; it is hard for me not to be. But over the past few years, things have been changing a little, I think. Or maybe a lot. I have been trying to appear more professional for the sake of my career. I have been trying to appear “normal” for the sake of making friends. I mean, in many ways I have often tried to “fit in.” In elementary school, I tried really hard, and even as an adolescent, I tried to fit into communities I thought would take me. But I am not a person who is accepted by communities. I am not a person who is accepted by subcultures, groups, or cliques. Because I am not normal. I am not average. I am not mediocre. And I cannot lie to people about that. I think when I do, I give off these vibes that I’m trying to hide something. It makes me look false, and I think people read me falsely. They will not like who I am regardless. Why should I try pretending I am someone less to fit their needs when they won’t like me anyway?

So, listen. I’ve stopped hiding. I wrote an email to my favorite painter a few days ago that sounded obnoxiously arrogant, and I used the word “fucking” and the abbreviation “af” and told him “I am not good at networking.” I am done trying to impress people and please people when the only person I should be trying to impress is myself. I have the highest standards for myself than anyone else. I am literally trying to lower myself to meet other people’s expectations. Who does that?

I am a mixed bag, like most people. But I am a very intense duality. Very intense. You can hate me or dislike me after this post if you so choose; I do not mind anymore. One of my favorite musicians gently called me a snob yesterday. I am done caring.

This is the good, the bad, the ugly, and the whole goddamn truth.

  1. am a snob. I have extremely high standards and am very critical of others and myself, especially when it comes to ethics and art. I feel everybody has a moral responsibility to try to make this world better than when they left it, and I do not feel all art is equal. In fact, I am interested in creating a curated community for extraordinary artists, because I am disgusted with mediocre and superficial shit getting popular for the sole reason that the public is mediocre and superficial, and they love to eat their own garbage. I feel it gives unfair advantage to people who take advantage of trends, ignorance, and immaturity, and prevents real depth, originality, and creativity from reaching the surface of the art world. I am an asshole about my art, too, because I believe in it. I know I have a lot of room to improve, but I believe my work is extraordinary. After all, it is made from extraordinary pain.
  2. I am passionate. I have extreme passion. In fact, that’s all I run on. Passion. If I had no passion, I would be dead right now. Passion is what gives me any will at all to live. It is what makes me love people. It is what makes me love art. It is what makes me make art even though it is often painful for me to do so. Passion is pain for me, but it is the fuel that fires my engine.
  3. I am heavy. I talk about sad things. I talk about death. I talk about dying. I talk about politics. I talk about injustice. I talk about mental illness. I cry a lot. I am not a fun person. I laugh and smile a lot, and not just for someone who has depression but a lot, but I am definitely not a fun human being. I like profound discussions that mean something purposeful. I appreciate purpose. I appreciate meaning.
  4. I am empathic, empathetic, and understanding to a literally suicidal degree. I am shot down by the world’s miseries. Even though I can’t seem to forgive, I do seem to technically understand and can potentially emotionally… “acknowledge?” wrongdoers. The news makes me literally sicker. But I read it anyway. Because I have a moral responsibility to do so, and I have a moral responsibility to act accordingly. I love people. I might not like them, but I love them. And even if it might be a fatal flaw, I am proud of that, because it helps me act in a way that is consistent with my values.
  5. I am not here to please you. My journey is my own. I write my own narrative. You do not write my story. No one else writes my story but me. I am done giving people the power to tell other people who I am and what I represent, and I am done trying to shape myself into a size that will fix a standard box.
  6. I am a freak. I am a genuine, authentic, unabashed freak. I have tried for a long time to say to the world that maybe I am “special” instead of the “freak” it said I was, but no. I am a freak. I am not normal. “Special” implies normal with a dash of exceptionalism. I am not normal. I have never been normal. I am a freak. I am exceptionally freaky.And I am finally proud of that.

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