Just a thought about validation

People. Myself as well as others. We very often need validation from other people to feel okay with being who we are. And that really sucks. I know from experience that when I don’t hear from people for a few days I start to think I must not be interesting enough or important enough to them, otherwise we would have spoken. Constantly needing confirmation and reassurance that people want you in their life is exhausting. Not only do you feel like they may not want you in their life, but when this happens with many people at the same time you also start to feel incredibly lonely and abandoned.

Writing the word “abandoned” just now made me think of abandoned buildings and train tracks and things left in forests. You’ve probably seen “abandoned places” accounts on twitter for example. I always thought that they were beautiful and interesting. And perhaps that is the case with humans too? We can still be beautiful and interesting even though people don’t talk to us all the time. I think maybe that’s a way I need to try to start thinking on days like today…

– Julie 

How We Should Protect Ourselves (but never do)

Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Holden, The Catcher in the Rye

Personally, I have a twist on this quote, an idea I would like to share with you. Something I wish I was more capable of controlling myself. It goes like this:

Don’t ever think anything about anybody. If you do, you start missing everybody.

What I mean about this is… As people, when we get to know other people, we start thinking things. Imagining things. Creating scenarios in our heads that the people are a part of. It’s all good and well so far. We’re aware that they’re just daydreams and imaginations, they’re not real. But the people are. These imaginations and scenarios are things we want to do with these people. Things that maybe someday will happen. Conversations we’ll maybe have, someday. Places we’ll maybe go to. All good and well so far.

The problem with this, I propose to you, goes something like this: those people aren’t real either. They are our imagined versions of these people. How we want them to be. The things we want them to say. Things we imagine maybe someday they will actually say. We know them, we know how they talk and behave, and all we do is take this a step furter and create situations in our heads. Correction: All we think we do. But something else happens, that we may or may not be aware of. We begin to apply the imagined version to the real person. We look for traits in the real people that fit the fantasy. We begin to believe that the imaginary version is the real person. But they’re not.

People, sooner or later, in one way or another, will let you down. They’ll say or do or be something that doesn’t fit with the imagination. They’ll shatter the illusion. Naturally, we blame them. “This isn’t who you are, you’ve changed, you’ve never been like this before” we might say. It’s their fault. They don’t fit the version that we’ve created. The version WE’VE created. We. Us. I. The individual. Our mind. We are to blame. We created the imaginary version of the real person. We are to blame, not the person. They never promised to be this or do that or say a certain thing. We expected them to because the made-up version of them did. But the actual person never agreed to being who the imagined version them are.

We let ourselves down. We lead ourselves on. We break our own hearts. The person didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t do anythign at all. They just weren’t how you made them out to be in your head. And that’s your fault, my fault, each our own fault, and not the person’s fault. We hurt ourselves. If we didn’t do this, we’d be more protected. But it’s impossible not to. We can’t fight what’s inside of us. Well sometimes we can, but fighting ourselves is the most unnatural thing in the world because we are everything that we are. Maybe. Not necessarily. Other sides of this can be argued (think: “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are”). But if you drag that statement into this it becomes a matter of distinguishing right from wrong and knowing the difference. What I propose is that imagining scenarios and creating versions of people is on the light side, the right side, we don’t see anything wrong with it, which is why it’s unnatural to fight this part of who we are.

Before I lose my point completely: the last part of my twist on the famous sentence from the famous book taught in most high school literature classes. If you do, you start missing everybody. People turn out not to be how we imagined them, how we wanted them to be. When we find this out, we have to come to terms with that. Accept that they’re not who we thought they were. And that isn’t necessarily easy. You may feel like you’ve been lied to (by the person, but really by your head). If you can come to terms with who they are, who the REAL person is, then maybe you can have a wonderful friendship (or relationship or whatever it is that you might have). But if you can’t, you’ll probably end up not having anything to do with them. And you may find yourself missing them. But you don’t miss the real person, you miss the imaginations, the fantasies, the daydreams, about the person you have by this point discovered doesn’t exist. Holding on to those is hard to do once you know the person isn’t like that. So you end up missing them, too.

Don’t ever think anything about anybody. If you do, you start missing everybody.

This entry was inspired by this tumblr post.

~ Julie

A Note on Weirdness

We’re all a little weird, in one way or another. Many of us try to hide it. We wear neutral makeup. We wear what society deems “normal” clothes. We keep or music volume to a minimum. We try to stay below the radar.

I think that’s wrong. If we hide who we really are, if we all hide who we really are, how are we going to find other people that are like us? Looking for and finding one specific needle in a stack of needles that all look the same is nearly impossible. Looking for a specific color pencil in a pile of pencils of all different colors, now that’s something that can be done. It may take a while (it may not) but eventually you’ll find the color you’re looking for.

We often hear about teenagers and their stages. The hair, the makeup, the clothes, the attitude. I wasn’t like that. I started wearing makeup late. My clothes were ordinary. When I was around 15 I started wearing dark nail polish and a leather jacket, and was then called emo, despite my natural blonde hair and only wearing some eyeliner. I did what I was told. I was quiet.

It was only by the age of 21 I started expressing myself as a more “different” type of person. I had just gotten out of a bad relationship and realized I had absolutely no idea who I was. So I started to figure it out. I listened to music. I made friends online, friends who liked the same music. I gradually started to change how I dress. Gone with the plain t-shirts and normal hoodies. In with the beat up old converse shoes and skinny jeans that aren’t Levi’s and printed t-shirts and band merch and fandom merch and plaid shirts. In with the makeup, the eyeliner, the lipsticks. The hairspray, my god, the hairspray! “Inhaling hairspray” became a phrase of mine. Sounds like a band name, doesn’t it? It was a friend online who pointed it out. Same with “hills and high heels”. Another phrase of mine.

Do your makeup. It’ll make you feel better. This is something I do now. When I feel bad or ill or anything, I do my makeup. Take my time, and do something artistic. I know it’s weird. My mother stares. Sellers in the streets don’t approach me. Perhaps I look foreign. Good. I don’t want to look pretty. I want to look otherworldly and slightly threatening. I wear my individuality on my sleeve (or in this case on my face). Leaving my face natural, to me, feels unnatural. Like putting up a blank canvas at an art exhibition. With all the things I can do, why should I choose to do nothing? I don’t look like this on accident. I want to look like art. Art isn’t supposed to look nice, it’s supposed to make you feel something. Maybe I scare people away. But that’s just so many less color pencils to sort through before I find the right one.

My 23rd birthday is one month from today. I’m an adult. My dad tells me to behave like one. Maybe I should. But I’ve spent so much of my life not knowing who I am. I want to find that person first. Then I can be an adult. I have a few years left before I finish my university studies. I plan to know who I am by then. Maybe someone else will know who I am by then, too. Until then, I keep staying weird. Keep exploring. Keep being me. Keep trying to find the real Julie. She has to be in here or out there somewhere.