I’ve been lying to myself for a long time.
The lie I’ve been telling myself is that if I hide enough parts of myself, or if I try to express myself in careful enough ways, I could find a place in normal, mainstream, polite society.
This is false.
I am never going to fit into polite society, whether I try to fit in or not.
It’s Time to Stop
I’ve always been a weird guy. I say weird things. I do weird things. I think weird thoughts. Even when I try to speak, act, or think in normal ways, I end up doing all of those things in weird ways.
You express yourself around regular people, and sometimes they get mad at you. For a long time, I had the belief that when someone gets mad at you, it’s usually because you did something wrong. You did something annoying, or said something offensive. There are times where that’s the case, but it also happens when you’re not being annoying, and haven’t said anything close to offensive. I don’t think that’s what’s really going.
What’s really going on is that there is a large group of people who will never approve of you if you’re not normal. It doesn’t actually matter what you say. It doesn’t actually matter what you do. It doesn’t actually matter what you think, or how carefully you express those thoughts. What they disapprove of is that you’re a weird person, who either can’t or won’t be normal.
And if you try to be normal, that’s even worse. They will just despise you even more, because they think you’re hiding something – because you are hiding something. You’re hiding your real thoughts and feelings, and people can sense that. They disapproved of you before, and now they disapprove of you even more.
If there’s no way to gain your approval, respect, or friendship, why should I even bother?
It’s time to stop. It’s time to stop trying to fit into normal society. It’s time to stop hiding parts of myself, or wasting time trying to carefully express myself, to try and fit into a narrow band of acceptable words, actions, and thoughts. If being myself and trying to fit in both get me equally criticized, harassed, and shamed, I might as well just be myself.
Creating a Life Outside of the Norm
I’m not going to have a normal career. Especially one that would require working at a normal company, or being approved of by normal people. Either I’ll have some skill that makes me money regardless of whether people like me, or I find a way of appealing to a small group of people who like me as I am.
I’m not going to date normal women. Instead I need to lean into being eccentric and weird – if most women don’t like that, then it wouldn’t have worked out anyway. Rejection is how people are kept apart who would be unhappy together. The women who actually like me at my weirdest are the women I should be trying to date in the first place.
I’m not going to have normal friends. If one of my current friends doesn’t like something I say or do, then maybe we shouldn’t be friends. There’s a lot of people in the world. The internet makes it possible to meet all kinds of people, and make new friends.
Creating a life outside the norm is hard. But it’s easier if you do it with the right people.
I need to find people I genuinely like, who genuinely like me. The only way to do that is to stop hiding myself, and be willing to be vulnerable to people who might look at me and say they don’t like the real me.
Varieties of Conformity
And there are many who won’t like it. People are familiar with the normal kinds of conformists, the ones who loudly and obviously shout that what you’re doing isn’t normal, and that you need to stop. But there are other types of conformists. The list of them is potentially endless, but there are a handful I’m thinking of.
There are people who will dislike you under the guise that you did something annoying or offensive, when they are just annoyed or offended by anything and anyone that isn’t normal. They just won’t say so out loud.
There are people who claim to be open-minded or tolerant, but all they’ve done is take their conventional upbringing, create the mirror image of it, and try to enforce that as a new norm or convention – one that you don’t match just as much as the conventional upbringing.
There are people who have such a high need for agreement that any kind of disagreement is intolerable. And if this person has a low enough stress tolerance, disagreement is so stressful that it feels like violence to them.
There are people who cannot separate their feelings about a person from what the person is actually like, and if they dislike you for any reason, they conclude that you must be a bad person in general.
There are people who hold you to standards that they would never hold themselves to, either out of a lack of self-awareness, or simply because they want to limit you in a way that benefits them.
If any of the above makes you angry, maybe you should ask yourself why.
The point is that there are many varieties of conformity. And many varieties of conformist. If you try to appease them, they will never be satisfied, and you will spend the rest of your days trying to meet their standards, instead of doing what you think is important.
The revelation that nothing you do will be good enough for this kind of person is depressing – at first. And then it’s liberating. It’s not that you’re doing something wrong…
It’s that you never had a chance in the first place.
So it’s time to stop hiding myself. It’s time to stop apologizing for things I don’t think are wrong. It’s time to stop trying to appeal to people who have already decided they dislike me and will never approve of me.
In short, I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want, and if you don’t like it, that sounds like a You problem.