Mmmkay. So here’s the deal. I have always been a person who cared if others liked me. I was always in the “outcast” group at school. I always have had a hard time making friends, and more importantly, keeping them. Before I understood what my moods meant and WHY I would be one way in the morning and come lunch time I would have cycled through countless moodswings, and why I seemed to be so “different” from everyone else, I was painfully shy and clingy. I still am to a fair degree, but I’ve made progress in that area of my relationships.
So, I always desperately wanted to “fit in”. There was this “idea” I had in my head (that probably everyone has some version of in their own heads) of the “perfect” person, and the person I wanted to be. When I was a child, in I think Grade One, I had my best friend teach me how to draw like her. I completely changed the way I drew pictures (specifically people) because I thought that somehow my way was inferior and that for some reason hers was superior.
I do have an idea of where the desire to change who I was comes from. My whole childhood I spent hating who I was, being told on a daily basis (in more ways than just verbally) that there was something “wrong” with me, that I was a “bad” person, that I am “worthless”. That mentality is still stuck in there, after a solid 11yrs of being told you’re a bad person – from your FATHER, the one man in your life who is supposed to love you no matter what – takes a while and a hell of a lot of effort to dislodge.
I even go by a different name as an adult than I did as a child. Up to the age of 14yo, everyone knew me by my middle name, Rose. I hated my name, I don’t actually remember WHY other than to a little kid “Eleanor” has way more letters, syllables and is harder to spell, but when I got older (and ironically, now that I look back on it, I changed the name I go by at the same age as my Bipolar really kicked into high gear AND also the age I began self-harming. Yeah, it was a busy year!) I then went back to my first name and also ditched the second half of my surname (my birth surname is hyphenated and the first half is my Ma’s maiden name and the second is my father’s surname. As I want nothing to do with the paternal genetic contributor, I dropped his name).
Anyway, after school I ended up in the local Goth scene. I was around 18yo, I was horrifically shy and as it was an online forum (which no longer exists) I was able to interact and hide at the same time. I found out many years later, that since I didn’t go to any of the Goth night clubs that would pop up every so often, and I didn’t post any photos of myself online, a rumour started going around the group that I was actually a 40yo man pretending to be a young woman.
Me (roughly 2009?) in my “Goth” get up.
Me, like last week lol.
So about 8yrs separate the two photos above. SO much has changed in that time.
You know one thing that has changed? My care factor. Back in the “Goth Days” I was so desperate to fit in I even changed the music I listened to, the clothes I wore (I’m not saying this is true for all, BUT in the scene I was a part of, what music you listened to and even where you bought your clothing, was dictated to you by the “older” members. If you deviated from the unspoken rules, you were … taught the error of your ways … so to speak). I stopped wearing most colours, such as pink, and my makeup was always the same: dark eyes, as pale as possible foundation (though mind you, I DO have a very pale complexion, so I do have to wear fairly pale foundation, that is when I bother to wear any these days) and red or dark lipstick.
And to be fair, the scene was not ALL bad. It was through the scene that I met my love, Mr Hippo.
Since I left the scene I have embraced the whole spectrum of colours! I spin that colour wheel like the freaking Price is Right! I have rekindled my love affair with the colour PINK! And my makeup bag has welcomed in the Glitter Brigade!
I still cared what people thought about me though. Even after leaving the scene, I would still make sure a “cool” song was playing on my ipod when I was out, just in case anyone ever asked me what I was listening to. So that meant no Beyonce or anything even remotely “mainstream”.
And after I finally accepted that I am “koo koo for Coco Puffs”, and met people who have similar medical situations (that’s polite speak for “mental patients”) and who have similar interests, I have STILL felt this horrible desire to “fit”. I remember one friend I had, I met her fiance (while wearing one of my many Nirvana tshirts) who complimented me on my music preferences, that was until I mentioned the fact I enjoy the music of Lady GaGa, and then I was told I had “bad” taste in music. And the sad thing? I actually CARED what this guy I have never seen since, and doubtful will ever again, thought about my music choices! And the weird thing? I HAD THIS INTERACTION IN A PSYCH HOSPITAL DINING ROOM!!
That was awhile ago. And sadly that friend is no longer in my life (her decision not mine). But the interaction with her (now) husband has stuck in my mind ever since. And it took quite a while and quite a lot of thinking.
You know what is so goddamn ironic? I started this post yesterday. And at the time I started writing it, I really DID give zero figs what anyone thought of me. But as the day wore on, and the inevitable mood swings came and went, I lost that “Devil may care” attitude.
So I changed the post title to include (Mostly) because even though I MOSTLY have stopped caring what others think of me, there is still a part of me that does. And it will take more than pink lipstick and glitter to change that.
But I am getting there. It is going to take time, but I’ll get there.