You know the cover.
The cover we put around us to hide who we are from the other humans.
I have a cover. So do you. So does everybody.
So, no matter who you are, no one really knows who lives in your head but you.
Sure, there are people who probably know you more than others, but they don’t know everything.
It’s no wonder loneliness is a thing.
I’m not suggesting that you drop your cover. I mean, you can’t get rid of it, that is just ridiculous.
If we all acted exactly the way we wanted all the time, then life would be bizarre. We would also see a lot more adults throw tantrums. Probably would be a lot more fistfights, too. Inappropriate behavior would rise to biblical proportions.
Still, there is something to be said for living as authentically as comfortable.
It wouldn’t be horrible to at least loosen up the cover a bit. Perhaps drape it seductively over your shoulder. Or wear it like a cape like Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter.
Until someone can offer me definitive proof, I have to assume we have this one go around. We’re all going to die one day, we might as well be who we are as much as we can. It’s not too late. It’s never too late.
I don’t really have 50 suggestions on how to live authentically, I was just stealing a little from my favorite Paul Simon song.
Don’t judge, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover is a perfectly good Paul Simon song.
Anyway, I can’t express enough how much more I enjoy life by being more “me”.
For instance, this job?
I was on the job for about two weeks when I told a group of women that I appreciated them asking me to lunch every day, but that I have a lot of social anxiety and group lunches are torture for me.
It’s been over 3 years and they mostly leave me alone at at lunch. It’s great. That was a turning point for me. I was at a new job, with new people. I had an opportunity I could go ahead and be who I am as much as I can, which is so much less exhausting.
I confessed to struggling with anxiety to a group of strangers and the world didn’t swallow me whole.
In fact, the world got a little easier. I was running out of excuses why I couldn’t have lunch.
Every once in a while, I do go. Maybe, twice a year. I take a lot of shit from everyone about me gracing them with my presence, but it’s all in fun.
I guess. I hope. Oh god, they all hate me, don’t they?
Anyway, the point is this, you are you.
- You don’t have to be anyone else.
- You don’t have to pretend.
- And you don’t have to make excuses if you don’t want to do something.
You know what else you don’t have to do? You don’t have to be consistent.
You are a human and humans are not robots. I think. I guess it’s possible some of the humans might be, but I’m afraid to find out for sure. I predict that some day humankind will be very sorry we ever thought up robots. Did we learn nothing from The Terminator?
I have a wide personal space and I mostly don’t like to be touched except by my people. Casual hugging is a nightmare for me. People at work know this and they respect my feelings.
However, sometimes I am in a place where human contact comforts me and I’m all about the hugging.
I get to decide if I feel like getting a hug or not. And I don’t have to apologize for it. Again, I’m going to take a little shit when I willingly accept a hug from the huggy lady at work, but that is okay. I still get to decide when someone else touches me. I don’t have to submit to a hug I don’t want to receive.
Someone at work told the owner that I don’t like hugs and about every week or two, he will catch me walking down the hallway and ask me if I want a hug. Every time, I say “No, I do not.” He thinks it is hilarious. I don’t so much, but still, not hugging him.
Also, this isn’t just about setting boundaries with other people and being honest about who you are to others.
Being honest with yourself is also helpful.
You know what you are? A little odd. Or maybe, a lot odd. I don’t know. All I know is, we are all at least a little odd.
So? Who decides what is normal, anyway? Be you. Quirks and all.
If a person has a negative opinion about you because they don’t get your quirkiness, that is their business. Not yours.
Unless your quirkiness includes spitting on people or singing Muskrat Love all day, every day. Don’t do those things.
I may never be completely comfortable in my own skin. But I am more comfortable in my own skin and that is, well..comfortable.
Also, a good thing because if I were comfortable in someone else’s skin, then we’d be in a Buffalo Bill situation, wouldn’t we? Just to be on the safe side, if I ever offer you a bottle of lotion, just say no. Because now I’m wondering how comfortable your skin is.
Photo courtesy of Gratisography.