Too much of my time, I find, is spent trying to make people like me. I’m not the kind of person who makes friends easily. Being friendly is easy, but actually making best friends, having people who would rather hang out with you than anyone else, that’s a connection I haven’t been able to make too much in my life.
It’s only gotten harder now, because with three years of Secondary School under their belts, most people have their friends and they don’t want to invite anyone else into their circle. I get that, and it’s fair enough for people to feel that way. Maybe I’m alone in this, though I’m guessing I’m probably not, but I feel like there are very few people who know me, really. People I can talk to without having to think about what to say, or how to act, people I don’t have to really concentrate on when I speak to them.
Most of it is my fault; I can be too analytical, too on edge, with most people, though I’d wager that most of the time they don’t know it. My brain analyses what the best thing to say in a situation would be, and it’s a defence mechanism too; I’ve found out too many times what it is to get on the bad side of certain people. I’ve been bullied, followed around having insults thrown at me; just because of something I said that revealed me to be different.
Yet, with all of this going on, I still feel the need to be noticed. Maybe I just like to be the centre of attention, or maybe it has something to do with my early experiences of school, and the way that I was treated by certain teachers. Sometimes I think that I was born to be in some old fashioned game of social snakes and ladders, making acquaintances in court, playing a high stakes game of words and body language. Unconsciously, every move I make is made to gain favour. I’ve never really shared this with anyone, never mid put it down on paper, but this is my autobiography, and this is a pretty big part of me.
Even though I play it so avidly, I hate this game; I hate having to constantly work to be noticed, because I’m not the kind of person that people like. I’m private and quiet until you get me interested in something, until you put a page in front of me and tell me to write, or say something that I disagree with. Then, I’ll have an epic debate with you and it’ll all be effortless. I’ll forget about making people like me, because you’ve invited me to do what I love; using words to make you think, to make you feel every little jagged edge of our world and love it for its jaggedness.
I wish I wasn’t afraid to show people who I am, to be on the debating team and do what I love. I wish I didn’t care what people think, but I can read people far too easily to be able to do that. I wish I could stand up and say that I’m a writer too and I also know the answers to your questions. I promise myself after every day when I get tired of pretending that I’m a nice person that tomorrow I’ll be myself and I won’t be afraid, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it will tomorrow or maybe not until I get out of Secondary School and the stifling nature of our syllabus and maybe I’ll go into college and discover that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Maybe these things don’t seem like much, but to me they are everything, because I want to be free to be who I am and never have to pretend. I don’t want to be afraid or to feel threatened every day of my life because someone is better at Math than me. I hate all these insecurities, these feeling that gnaw at me. When I’m at home I feel free. I can be Emma and sit at my desk all day writing.
People think I read all weekend. I write all weekend. Reading is my hobby and something I love; but writing is my passion and I feel like I was born to do it. I’m a fast reader, which means I can read for an hour before I go to sleep and still get through half a book. I don’t want to pretend anymore, I want the freedom and the courage to be who I am, but that’s not something that I can be given. I need to make my own destiny, forge my own true image, and then it’ll really matter.
That is the message I want to give out to people, to myself even. Be who you are and never be afraid to do that. A frightening amount of people are too small minded to let you do it completely unscathed, but don’t sacrifice who you are for this one small part of your life.
Be noticed for the right reasons, for who you really are, not who you’d like to be or who you think is bound to actually be noticed, because all you’re getting noticed for is a lie, and in that, is it really you getting noticed, or just some imaginary person you’ve made up? People need to be noticed, need to be valued and accepted.
I know that this is a tired, overused cliché, but you have to love yourself, and be yourself. Then, if you’re noticed, you’ll be noticed for the right reasons.