Just trying to fit in!

When I was younger all I wanted was to be normal. I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to be singled out. I wanted to be liked and blend in with everyone.  
I didn’t want the bullies to take a shine to me, I didn’t want them to scream in my ears in the playground, circle around my friends so that I would stand alone, make up embarrassing rumours about me, threaten me, start on me or throw the things that hurt me in my face. I didn’t want to be humiliated. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to fit in.
When I lost my mum at 13, I didn’t want to be the girl whose mum had just died, I didn’t want everyone to look at me, pity me, know that I was the girl with no mum. I didn’t want to be the talk of the school. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to fit in.
As I got older and faced monsters in the shape of grown-ups, I didn’t want to be the damaged woman, I didn’t want to be the one with a troubled childhood, I didn’t want to be the one that came with baggage, I didn’t want to be the one scarred by the actions of people doing wrong, I didn’t want to be pitied and have eyes rolled behind my back. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to fit in
But I wasn’t normal.
I felt far from normal and I was FAR from normal. I realised that by hiding how different I was that I was actually crushing my own soul, by trying to be like everyone else I was becoming nobody, by fitting in I was losing any meaning of life.  
I am not normal and nor would I want to be, I am the only one of me. Why would I want to be invisible? Why would I want to live my life to be accepted by other people that are no better than me? Why would I base what is ‘right’ on other people’s opinions? Why would I want to hand my worth to someone else when it is the most valuable diamond of this earth?
I wouldn’t. I don’t want to be anyone but me. I don’t want to be anything other than who I am. I don’t want to concern myself with the opinion of ‘they’. I want to be every part of me. I want to feel every drop of my blood feed my body. I want to think every thought that runs through my mind. I want to speak every truth that flows from my heart and I want to be a platform for my soul to give meaning to this world.
I want to live. I want to tell others to live too. I want to help everyone see how completely not normal they really are. I want everyone to know that a light shines in them with colours that no one has ever seen before.
Realising that no part of me is normal is when I truly began to fit in. I fit in to me. To my own skin. To my own world. And it’s fantastic.
Be you.
Fit in with you!
We are all part of one seriously abnormal Pride fellow Lions and Lionesses! 

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Uncontrollably in control

Society today can be tough right? We are told how to look, think and act and then we are told to ‘just be ourselves’. Wow, sure, ok.

Then we have people. People love helping other people. Advising them. Telling them what to do and how to behave. I’ve already covered the topic of people advising you based on who THEY are rather than who YOU are. Most people want to fit in to society – and then believe they are different from anyone else. Which ironically they are when they stop trying to be like everybody else.

And finally we have fear. Fear is painted as a person shaking and looking terrified. But fear, like the devil, wears many disguises. It is the cause of people wanting to fit in and look perfect and not be singled out. It is the cause of those advising you to keep quiet and put your head down and not upset anybody. It is the quiet voice in your head that says ‘you can’t do it’, ‘you look stupid’, ‘don’t cause a problem’.

Some of us are aware of the ‘truth about fear’ and some of us are not. Some will come out and say ‘I am far too shy for that’ ‘I can’t stand everyone looking at me’ ‘I am just not brave enough’. Some lather themselves with excuses and stories to avoid people questioning them or so that they can avoid speaking their truth or just to feel better in themselves.

I haven’t always been one to face fear. In fact I used to be the Queen of excuses. I was living in a ‘woe is me’ world drowning in my victim river. I haven’t always been able to be truthful and express my feelings without trying to belittle others or feeling the need to put them down and have the last word.

Why did I do this? Because I didn’t like who I was. Because I didn’t feel good enough to be listened to. Because I didn’t have the courage to say how I felt. Because I would feel stupid or silly for feeling the way I did. Because I valued myself based on other people’s opinions. And a whole list of other reasons, none of which benefited my life.

However that was a long time ago and mixed with a whole load of other problems that I had to face on my journey of becoming a Lioness. I have learnt the reasons behind all of those and in turn, studied others. Watching people convince themselves of their place in today’s society. Watching people excuse the things they are unhappy with and play victim to win sympathy off of others and it is quite fascinating.

I believe very strongly in being true to yourself. True to your creative side. True to your feelings. True to your likes and your dislikes. True to your own worth. And I believe something else:

Bollocks to anyone who doesn’t like the authentic version of you.

The most interesting part of my journey is most definitely the other people around me. Since I am no longer influenced by other people’s opinions of me or the need to ‘fit in’ anywhere, people see me as a potential problem, I know right? Little old me! Well the reason is that I will not people please or hide from how I feel. I will not try to ‘fit in’ for the sake of other’s opinions. I will not act according to anything other than the way I believe. For example:

I am happy to speak to a man sleeping on the street and bring him a hot drink or something to eat – people often fear those that they do not understand and often worry about their own or my safety when I talk to someone homeless.

I am happy to offer help to a stranger and do not fear rejection – If someone looks like they could use a hand I will lend it, if they say no (for whatever reason) that is fine too. At least I offered, this is often embarrassing to other people, they feel silly for trying and fear what others around them are then thinking.

I am not affected by someone disliking me – Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business. If they wish to tell me what they dislike or cast judgement that is fine by me. I know who I am. I know my intentions in this world and I also know that their opinion is not a reflection of who I am in this world but rather, who they are. It is a compliment to be thought of enough to be disliked.

I am not able to be controlled, muzzled or put off of speaking my mind – I won’t be told who I can or cannot speak to or confront. If I feel the need to confront somebody when they have upset me I will. I don’t believe in putting someone down or trying to scare anybody at all but I do believe my feelings are important and I should be able to express them without being made to feel like I am causing a problem. I will always consider how it may make someone feel and use my words carefully. I will always try to express hurt or anger after I have calmed down and I will aways take responsibility for my own feelings. If someone is afraid of confrontation that is THEIR problem. I will not stay silent just to keep the peace – silence isn’t truth. There are no rules on how to deal with a negative situation but it is my personal belief that you have to be true to yourself and speak the truth to others. I won’t look you in the eye and smile whilst secretly seething inside. It is not me. I will not be told what I can and cannot say or to whom. I will also have the intention of making peace with someone and clearing the air.

I won’t change who I am for anybody. If someone doesn’t like me or accept me then my suggestion is to not be around me. To leave me be. If you feel embarrassed or awkward or uncomfortable with any of the ways in which I live my life then I won’t be offended if you step away. I do not wish for you to do anything you don’t believe in either.

Why should we be anybody but ourselves or made to feel like we have to change who we are in certain situations? We are human. We are each imperfectly perfect. We do great things and we make mistakes. We have good days and bad days. We have beautiful days and not so beautiful days. Why are we so ashamed of being ourselves? Of excusing those around us? We are not responsible for anybody but ourselves so why would anyone try to justify anybody elses truth? Why should you tell someone how they can or can’t act because YOU are scared of what the other person might think.

Be you

Be every part of you

Do right. Be right.

Do wrong. Be wrong.

Learn

Grow

Be brave

Be shy

Be beautiful inside.

Be anything you want to be. Be everything you want to be. Don’t be sorry for being you. Be sorry when you feel sorry but don’t be sorry for being you. Don’t let anyone make you feel you should be. Let the world know you will always be you and you won’t be controlled by anybody. Let them fear that, it’s not your problem and none of your business.

In the words of Lesley Gore – ‘You don’t own me, don’t try to change me in any way’!

100% Lioness 0% Mouse

Here’s to YOU Pride.

YOU WANT MY ADVICE?

Advice – noun

an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action, conduct, etc.: I shall act on your advice

We all turn to our family, friends or colleagues for advice at times. Sometimes we need a few suggestions on how to handle a situation we are faced with and other people can really help us out.

Somehow, with some people and all too often, this advice turns into instruction. A way you ‘should’ be doing something. A lecture.

I hear about this all the time and witness it myself. You start talking to someone about an aspect of your life and almost instantly regret it as you begin to be instructed on exactly what you should do, how and why based on nothing other than that person’s preference or belief. You are no longer considered into this equation of ignorant advice/instruction and you end up trying to look like you are interested whilst thinking of ways to stop this person talking. I have listed below the most popular topics that people often feel like they are instructed on (the list on how to stop them talking can be sent upon request):

  • Pregnancy – All of my friends that have had children have said that one of the worst parts of pregnancy is everyone telling you what you should and should not do with your body. Can you imagine? Forget the labour, swollen ankles or the peeing every 5 minutes being so bad, it is the other people around you that can make it so tiresome. It seems that when you fall pregnant a majority of the people you will come to communicate with will be ready and waiting to share their ‘expertise’ with you. And will they all have the same advice? Oh no, of course not, but they will ALL know best and make sure you know it. If you happen to be pregnant at the moment and are suffering through this torment I feel for you. Nobody really knows best and everyone has their own way of doing things so I think it is important for you to listen to your body and the people you feel happy listening to and tune the others out. Perhaps use the extra need to pee to get the hell outta there and stop them talking…..unless of course they follow you to the toilet and talk outside the door, then, failing you and bump being able to squeeze out of the window, proceed to sticking toilet paper in your ears until you can no longer hear them.
  • Relationships – Well we all like to discuss our relationships with friends when we need to but, there are those certain friends that you instantly regret opening your mouth too. You know the ones, they tell you what you did wrong and what you should be doing instead. They advise you on what you need in your life and it sounds strangely similar to either their current ‘successful’ relationship or similar to the person they think they are but in fact, are not. I’m not talking about the friend that kindly suggests something thinking that referencing themselves may inspire you, I’m talking about the friend who proceeds to lecture you on exactly what you need, what you are ready for, what age you should be, where you should be at in your relationship and how you should feel about it. The phrases ‘you shouldn’t want to settle down yet, you are too young’ or ‘you are mad wanting to meet someone, if I was single I would love it’ or of course ‘he’s a nice man, don’t end it hastily, your feelings will grow’ all because they liked him the one time they met because he complimented her dress. These are the times when it is fully acceptable to think about what you will eat for dinner instead. Nobody knows what is right for you and telling you what you should want or what you should do based on what they want and think they would do isn’t helpful. Suggestions are of course helpful but only when a person considers who you are as part of that, not who they are. If they want to go at it from that approach then the following should be said in that sentence ‘I can only tell you what I would do’ and it should not become an instruction for what you should do.
  • Careers – This is the one I suppose I feel most strongly about. I grew up being told that a ‘real’ job was working for somebody else, that following my dreams was a fairytale and would never get me anywhere. That working part-time in my twenties was me refusing to grow up and that £8 an hour was good money. I have had to battle a lot with other people’s judgements and my own to continue to work towards my dreams. And now, finally I have fully accepted that my life is made for living and dream chasing. It may not be for everyone and their dreams will be different from mine so I say to anyone – do whatever makes you happy and do whatever you feel is right for you. To anyone telling me, you or any other soul how and what they SHOULD be doing in regards to working a ‘real’ job that isn’t, in fact what YOU want to do, I say IGNORE THEM. They don’t have the courage to believe in themselves otherwise they would be encouraging you to believe in yourself too. These negative people want to soul suck you down into their pit of fear and misery so that they are not left alone there. They believed the people who told them the same thing. I want to say I BELIEVE IN YOU, ALL OF YOU. If it doesn’t work the first time, it can work the second or the third or even the three hundred and seventy-fifth time. You can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do. At least the journey towards doing that will be one hell of an adventure.

It is also good to consider the advice you give others, where does it come from and is it in the best interests of the person you are giving it too, or yourself?

To all of these people who want to give you the rules and instructions for these above mentioned parts of your life and any other parts of your life, I want to share with you a visualisation technique (a practical exercise if you are around those it won’t offend). I was with two of my favourite people on this planet yesterday, Ciara and her husband Dan. Dan was telling us a story about a group of kids driving past his boss and in slow motion one of the kids raised his middle finger at him, his boss shrugged and carried on walking. That was it. It was actually pretty funny by the sounds of it too. But it got us laughing at the idea of using this method when someone is really butting in to your life and telling you what to do. Imagine it, hold up your closed fist and as slowly as you can with a blank expression on your face, raise up your middle finger. I think it makes the perfect point. We named this ‘The slow flip of the bird’. Anyone who starts telling you the ‘rules of life’ or instructions on how you ‘should’ do something, just give them ‘The slow flip of the bird’, perhaps in your head if it is inappropriate to physically do this but do it. Slowly. All the while remember that you can make your own choices and your own decisions about what is right. Listen to your instinct. Your gut is your guideline, always.

Slowly flippin’ the bird at all the preachers and rule-tellers out there, have a great week pride!

Why believe anything else?

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(photo from anonymous source – Facebook)

Life is sure to have its dark days and we know that nothing lasts forever so why not trust there is always light waiting to shine. Light that takes away the darkness, for a second, a minute or perhaps the entire day. Beautiful, exciting, warm and hopeful light.

Isn’t the thought of thinking that wonderful?

Enjoy your weekend pride!