I was talking with a friend that said she wanted to try some different things, like ballroom dancing or go to the roller derby, but didn’t want to go alone. She didn’t think any of her friends would like the things she wanted to do, she was afraid to ask because they might not want to go and she’ll feel rejected. So she feels like she ends up missing out on a lot of things.
I used to be like that too. But when I do the thing that I really want to do regardless? It gets easier to do the next thing. And the next. And eventually, going by yourself or not having someone else’s approval for the thing? Not even an issue. There’s a point where it moves past making yourself go anyway to more of a “I’m going anyway, and I’m gonna have fun.” to where there’s no “ugh” or “going anyway” involved and you go and you don’t even think twice about it. Added bonus? You’ll meet people there that enjoy the thing also that may be in the same boat as you. And that’s a good starter for new friendships, to diversify, to experience and learn and do. And that’s pretty awesome. It can be really hard sometimes. And I’ve got to learn to let myself be okay with not going if I don’t feel up to it. I’ve gotta be more forgiving with me. That helps too.
She said she also has a hard time living up to expectations because when someone tells her “You are so amazing” she feels pressured to retain a certain level of excellence and gets stressed and is just generally too hard on herself. On the “You are awesome” bits: I totally get that once you hear that you’re doing a great job enough, you expect more out of yourself. My opinion? I don’t think they necessarily put any extra expectations on her. People tell her that she’s amazing because she is amazing. She doesn’t have adjust any bars, or jump through more hoops, or any of that stuff. She just has to keep being herself and we’ll keep thinking she’s awesome. It was by being herself that made us think she was awesome in the first place.
I think people don’t say what they want to because they’re afraid. We all want to feel like we belong somewhere, and if we have a set group of friends we’re afraid they’ll think we’re weird or won’t want to hang out with us, or at the very least, we don’t want their opinion of us to change for the worse. That’s probably an important reason for going out and trying new things of interest. Of not being afraid to go to a workshop or a show or do a project that you might really want to do but don’t go to for various reasons. You already know when you show up to that thing, that there are OTHER PEOPLE there that also enjoy the thing, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. So you already have something in common.
I’ve been through enough in my life to realize that worrying about and subsequently not saying something that you like, or want to do, is stupid and a waste of time. WHO CARES if someone doesn’t like what you like? That doesn’t mean your friends will stop liking you, that doesn’t mean the world will end or they’ll think it’s stupid. And this is why I never say anything. I’ve been conditioned to feel like if I don’t agree, that I am wrong. And that is so very wrong.
Now, I think maybe they’ll think, “I don’t enjoy making jewelry out of random rocks, but there’s this girl I know that does it, and it’s pretty fantastic.” and if they don’t think it’s neat? Well, at least they know something about me that adds to the total picture of Who Kim Is in their minds. I am here, this is me, this is what I like, and it’s up to them to take that information and process it how they will. I can’t paint the picture for them, but I can give them the right colors. My colors.
And if I gave them the wrong colors just because I was worried about how the end result of the painting would be? I would be doing a great disservice to myself and to them. The painting wouldn’t look right, the colors would be all wrong.
p.s. I don’t use that as an excuse to be as obnoxious as I want to be. But it does help me when I’m too worried to show bits of myself to the people that I care about. Perspective, and all that.