I Want To Be Anyone But Me

I Want To Be Anyone But Me

I want to be anyone but me.

I hate being introverted.

I hate the shiver of anxiety I get when I talk to someone new.

I hate the fact that I can’t talk and be bubbly for as long as I want to.

I hate that social interaction makes me feel like my cells are withering after an hour or so.

I hate that people think I hate people. I don’t. I just hate the feeling I get when around too many people for too long.

I hate people drawing me out of my book to talk to me. Just, please. Can I have a little bit of peace?

I hate the fact that my mother thinks I have a mental disorder because I don’t want to be around people all the time.

I hate how she puts me down and hits me because I had a mental breakdown after a day of work and university.

I hate that no-one around me understands.

I hate that the people who ‘get it’ are in books or on the internet.

I hate that I can’t live my life in a hut somewhere on a remote island and just live on wild plants and read and write everyday.

I hate the fact that I completely understand why Emily Dickinson became a recluse.

I hate knowing that so many careers are closed off because I can’t stand extended periods of social interaction.

I hate that the only times I am happy are when I am reading or daydreaming.

I hate feeling so out of place. Everyone seems to be swirling around in the maelstrom of life while I teeter on the edge of it, an observer, peering into the dark, thrashing masses and trying to make sense of it all and never succeeding.

I hate having to please and satisfy the social demands of extroverts.

I hate feeling shame for stealing away to be by myself.

I hate people’s reactions when they find me, all alone with my thoughts, happy as a breeze, in some corner. Why the pity and scorn? Why? I’m not weird just because I’m not mingling. Stop it. Stop making me feel like nothing.

I hate introversion being mistook for submissiveness. Especially since I’m a feminist. They. Are. Not. The. Same. Thing.

I hate having to keep quiet in class even when I know the answer to the question the teacher is proposing, simply because it uses up too much of my socializing battery to speak, my voice echoing through the room, everyone watching, everyone listening.

I hate knowing that I could be a great English teacher but being barred by my introversion. Teaching? Got first-hand experience. Could I do it? For years and years and years? Day in, day out, laughter, chatter, talking, talking, talking, students, teachers. Help.

I hate being highly sensitive.

I hate that I can’t stand next a busy highway without wanting to curl into a ball and wail because of the noise.

I hate that I pick up on everything, social cues, gestures, until I convince myself that everyone hates me.

I hate that I can’t stand my raucous students after thirty minutes.

I hate having to leave the room to go to the bathroom when a bloody or violent and frightening scene appears in a movie and seeing the derisive glances of my friend, ‘Oh, what a wimp, what a soft, weak, little, fragile thing.’

I hate having to move to a different seat in the classroom with everyone watching my migration because one of the fluorescent bulbs above me is flashing.

I hate that I feel like crying if someone looks at me the wrong way.

I hate replaying every social situation or blunder or painful experience from the day. Over and over again. Like a tumor I can’t rip out.

I hate the fact that my own mother doesn’t understand and in her fits of frustration at my sensitivity (life is hard for everyone! Pick yourself up! Why are you crying just because you’re tired of noise and people and talking? What’s wrong with you? You have a mental disorder. SHUT UP. It’s not sensitivity. Don’t use it as an excuse. You’re lazy and didn’t get enough sleep. You’re useless. How do you expect to survive in the workforce? Whack. Slap.) Her physical assaults only sting but the emotional pain burrows deep inside my soul.

I hate being an extreme right brain thinker.

I hate not being practical.

I hate having my head up in the clouds so people think I’m either crazy or weird. Or both.

I hate liking the humanities more than the math and sciences. Math and science are practical. They will get me a ‘proper job.’ It’s where the money is, darling. Now go and study those scrawling numbers that are like barbed wires sticking into your brain, prodding and churning it into a grey mush.

I hate how I’m not suited for any job in the world except being a writer. That’s going to pay the mortgage, isn’t it? Sitting at my desk, typing words, not knowing if I’m just fooling myself and not selling any stories. Not to mention the self-doubt. Besides, your parents will need you to support them, one day. Give up your dreams. Stop being fucking foolish.

I hate people making me feel dumb for liking the soft subjects, the arts, literature, philosophy, anthropology, history. I’m sorry, okay? My brain just isn’t intelligent enough to chew through quantum physics and calculus. And I’d rather die a million horrible deaths than force myself to study them because something deep within me roars and screams and tears at its rib cage enclosure when I do, screaming to me that I’m wasting my time, my life, my abilities, that I’m trying to sieve cement, that I hate this so much, all these dead numbers and formulas, that the only way I could ever push through it is if I daydream and imagine the numbers coming to life and peeling away from the page and pirouetting across the ceiling, telling me about what life is like in a textbook and the students they meet everyday.

I hate that I don’t like the practical subjects, which means I can’t get a practical jobs, which means I’ll be poor forever. Or so they say. Or so my mother says, with her disappointed glare. Only my mother can look both disappointed and affronted at the same time.

I hate my mother’s wrath when I told her in high school that I wanted to drop math. I hated her threats. I hated her telling me I was her only hope and that if I didn’t study some practical subjects, she would die in poverty. Did I want to do that? Her own mother? Sell your soul with a smile, dear.

I hate having weird, off-beat thoughts. I hate having once made the mistake of voicing them once. I hated the judgmental stares and the silence.

I hate feeling like such a freak in a left-brain society. I hate the fact that health and engineering and accounting or whatever are where the jobs are and the art courses are being cut back at universities every year. Arts degree? Pffft. Hope your parents are rich. Literature and writing is a luxury, darling. First, go off and study something practical, like pharmacy. Then you can save up money to dabble in your quaint, little writing hobby. Besides, who knows if you’re good enough to make it? Don’t take the risk. You’re probably not good enough. Only one in a billion make it. You can’t make it.

Money. Love. Money. Love. ‘Money!’ they scream, gold fever fizzling in eyes, lips stretched wide and teeth whisked with gleams, a billion faces, clutching banknotes and throwing them like green birds into the air. Love. Love? It’s a job, honey. You’re not meant to love it. A starving, disheveled writer at his desk in a garret, nibbling on a piece of bread and fighting for crumbs with the rats. Now, now, you wouldn’t want that would you? That’s it, get in line, become a good, hardworking citizen of society. Join the ranks! Collect your retirement money. Live for the weekends. Don’t think too much. They say that helps.

‘She was such a quiet, strange child,’ said Society.


‘Oh, yes. In kindergarten, wouldn’t talk to or play with any of the other kids. Best friend was a cat.’

‘How queer.’

‘I’ll say. And she reads, all the time. And she always looks off into space. She gives me the creeps, to be honest.’

‘What does she want to be when she grows up?’

‘Ha! Get a load of this. A writer. The stupid flake wants to be a writer. When her parents are in a state of such indigence. Irresponsible. Flighty. Morose.’

‘Does she need to see a doctor? We can book a psychiatrist for her. There’s something terribly wrong. Yes. Not quite right in the head.’

‘Yes,’ says Society, and pats the heads of laughing, gaggling children.

I hate me.


24 thoughts on “I Want To Be Anyone But Me

  1. Do not hate yourself, ever. http://youtu.be/yVPeuvFn_lY
    Right now, it’s my time of day… 3 a.m. Enjoy and celebrate your introversion. It means that you are not a follower. It means that you are a doer… when it needs doing. You are independent and not needy. Celebrate these and other benefits that come with introversion. Stop trying to conform.

    • I try not to conform and appreciate my introversion. It just can get a little bit tough sometimes. I suppose I still need to grow a thicker skin and follow my own compass. Thank you commenting and the video, it’s one of my favorite TED talks.

      • That thick skin thing is important 😉 It helps to march to the beat of your own drum, as they say. I think some people believe I march to the sound of my own machine gun… there are several ways to be non-conforming. One of them is to be a leader. I tend to pick areas where there is no leader and then try to take charge in that area. I have a unique job that I love doing because of a life long effort that way. It’s an area where there was no one to conform to so I was able to set the standard so to speak of what to conform to 🙂 Think about that… don’t be what others wish you could be, be what they wish they could be.

  2. That is quite the list…
    Now what are some of the things you love about yourself?
    You don’t need to depend on others for happiness?
    Materialistic things mean little to you?
    You find joy in the simplest of things?
    You’re not a dime a dozen?
    You’re like that one burger joint, you think outside the box?

  3. I feel you. Not going through exactly the same in terms of details (for example, I don’t yearn to be a writer), but I feel you. It’s like our stories were weaved out of the same outline: “Write a story beginning with…”

    • I’m glad you understand. Not glad about our situations though. There are all these unnoticed dreamers around the world, you know? It’s sad. We’re like tiny flowers trying to blossom but being choked by the weeds around us. Let’s both try hard not to suffocate and allow our beauty to shine. We’ve got to save ourselves and occasionally band together or reach out for moral support in our journey towards budding.

  4. You really have it tough these times, do you? 😦

    I can relate to the vast majority of your points. And I can feel #8 and #30 all too well. I know that pain. Different story, different context, but I know first hand (no pun intended) how destructive it is.

    On the bright side, many of these lines are precisely what gives you an edge over quite a few aspiring writers. You can learn prose. You can learn the art of iambic pentameter. You can learn how to craft a story, how to connect your ideas, how to keep a suspence. You can memorize the whole dictionnary. But you can’t learn how to create deep, credible characters with consequent personalities. This is something that requires an extensive experience of feeling things. Of thinking. Of analyzing. Of understanding. The level of sensitivity you appear to have is a prerequisite not so many people have. You can tell a character is sad, but if the writer doesn’t feel the character’s sadness, (s)he’ll never be able to convey it well enough with the best words for the reader to perfectly grasp the magnitude of the feeling and experience the very same emotion, tying the reader to the characters. This makes all the difference between a fine story and an awesome one.

    P.S. Regarding teaching, If I may… perhaps teaching to an adult audience would suit you better? Easier to deal with than teenagers, don’t require perpetual entertainment and are in class with an actual goal… Might be day and night for you. Depending on your background, current skills and environment, translation might be a valuable option as well. A friend of mine did that part time as a freelance, she’d work from home, in peace and quiet, and was relatively well paid, despite not having a formal training in that. These things are not writing. But at least they offer certain aspects of it and may be fair temporary measures until your first best seller! (What? Oh, seriously. See how intensely you feel things? You have

    • Thank you. Really. I don’t think I will be able to acquire the necessary skills to become a translator right now but teaching adults definitely sounds less taxing. And thank you for your words and your encouragement. Writers can be anxious, self-critical creatures and sometimes all we need is a little pick me up to once again go back to putting pen to paper, raring and ready.

  5. You are gifted, we introverts are different but not weird. I can see how it may be difficult to see differently, especially if you have not heard encouragement from parents or adults in life. Never take abuse from anyone. Seek someone with whom you can talk to in private, maybe a school counselor, even if just to get things off of your chest. We all need it at times, not because we are mentally ill, but because we need support at different phases of life.

  6. I want you to realize the silver lining to each one of the things that you dislike about yourself because society has ingrained it within you to dislike that aspect of yourself. I want you to see that you are loved, and this is the whole other side of how you view yourself (and it’s a reflection of myself) out there.

    It’s 6 am on a Sunday night, and I can see snow heavily falling outside my window. Bear with me if you begin to read the unexpected.

    I love that you’re one of the small percentage of the whole who is introverted, and comfortable with being introverted. Proud of it. I love that you do not shun your true nature, trying to play along with extraverts. I love that you are able to see beyond and deep enough to understand that you are different – so many introverts are simply ignorant of their different nature and they won’t accept it out of a lack of self-awareness; acceptance of their introversion is something they can’t even cope with. I love that you are cognizant of your introversion, aware of yourself, and part of the small percentage of people in the world (4.4%) who are INFPs. If 4.4% is what evolution and natural selection has created, clearly INFPs are not the most suited to reproduce, but they are the rare beings who have minds capable of incredible thoughts that wield immense power and potential.

    I love that you become anxious when you talk to someone new, because it shows that you are valuing that new person and instantly (subconsciously, maybe) calculating in your head all the numerous possibilities and paths your life could take in relation to this person. You realize that a new person means your future can and may be altered by your interactions and experiences with this person. You psychologically over-value new people that you meet because you see the inherent potential they possess in influencing your own life. I love that you become anxious because your mind places half of its resources on pondering this subconsciously, and therefore overthinks and probably messes up social interaction as a result.

    I love that you find yourself drained after enduring too much small talk; I love that you have proven to yourself many times that it is the more important topics within the world that concern you – things that elicit beauty and awe, rather than ordinary humor.
    I love that you value books, and more so messages and realms, outside of ordinary reality that you become irritated when distracted or disturbed from the world you were in a moment before.

    I love that you have a mother who appreciates you enough to care about your well-being and future that she tries to help you as other mothers she sees on television, movies, and in her friend-circles have done so for their children.
    I love that you feel that no one understands because it is only through that feeling of isolation you have achieved this greatness online, these experiences of introversion and solitude which are catalysts that in turn result in the wonderful writing about your experiences.

    I love that the people you connect with are online or in books, because it shows that when you take out all the materialistic, petty nonsense that 90% of the world can so often be distracted by (looks, social personality, ordinary humor, other social barriers), you are an extremely ‘full’ person. [And it’s here that I want to recommend a movie that I watched 3 hours ago, which I feel like only INFPs or people who are highly sensitive to understanding reality can fully appreciate – and that movie is Her with Joaquin Phoenix. Trust me, it is worth watching multiple times and will leave you glowing. Others that I really find incredibly valuable are The Fountain, Fight Club, and American Beauty. Trust me, if they affect you like they affect me, you will never see the world in the same way again after viewing these.]

    I love that you value the idea of living like a recluse, because it shows that you value so much more in life than the petty suffering that people get entangled in such as social drama, violence, and selling your soul for money.

    I love that you … okay here’s where I want to impart some advice. What if you were to attack the world one day with a person, doing exactly what you feared? Interacting with others socially for extended periods of time. What if you were to go to a party or bar, and just go with someone with the intention of laughing at everything you say and do throughout the time, no matter how different or unexpected it was. If you went up to someone and started talking about a book, what if you were to laugh at yourself instantly afterwards with that person. (Because that person would bring you down to earth and desensitize the after-effect feeling you just had – keeping you cognizant that everything for the evening/night was going to be you laughing at your quirks) I think social interaction can become fun the more comfortable you are in an environment. Maybe the friends you’ve always gone to places with aren’t friends who know the real you and actually understand every reaction you would have to each situation. So maybe all the careers aren’t closed off, there may be quite a few that fit exactly you. Imagine working in a strategy and planning department of a company with a team of 5 people who were exactly like yourself. And the team would essentially be guiding the company’s path. Now this changes the landscape, doesn’t it?

    I love that you find that much happiness in reading and daydreaming to value it so much over all of the rest of the pieces of your life; the fact that you are perceptive to that extent is amazing, not detrimental.
    I love that you find yourself out of place, because now you know how rare you are, and when you find people like yourself, you can instantly identify with them through a mutual knowledge of how rare and yet similar your life’s experiences have been. I feel this right now for you and that’s what’s really driving why I’m writing this. I feel that who you are has so many connections to me, and the rarity that someone like you intersects with my life’s trajectory is making me to write what I’m writing. Something that you’ll appreciate greatly, I hope, because I feel what it would be like to be on the receiving end of this.

    Yea…extroverts are kind of annoying like that. But they can’t help it, so I guess we just have to feel bad for them.

    I love that you have the ability to retreat to solitude rather than pretend in a world where you don’t see and value and honestly don’t belong (and shouldn’t want to belong).

    I love that you are so aware that you don’t simply see that 1+1=2. You don’t see when a teacher asks a question – let me raise my hand and answer this with my opinion which I know everyone will respond positively. Instead you are aware enough to be able to see that there is more – some people may not want to hear you, some people may not agree with you, some people may be offended, the teacher may not agree, so on and so on. You can perceive, and more importantly see all of that in an instant of time. While others are so simple-minded that they can only see reality for the most base form – the teacher asks a question and I will give an answer with no regard for consequences. Remember when I said that INFPs make up 4.4% of the world, meaning that we are not favored evolutionary in terms of natural selection. Well to me, based on our intellectual capabilities from things like this, it seems like we are largely more evolved than the other 95.6% of this world. Much, much more evolved.

    I love that you are highly sensitive. Why? See above. I love that you have the rare ability to perceive extraordinarily.

    I’d go on for the last 10 or so but now I’m starting to get tired….
    Anyway…here’s how I’ll end this.

    Don’t think of this as weird. Don’t overthink this, even though I know you will. Your subconscious will be so amused over the fact that someone, possibly hundreds of miles away or right next door, spent the time writing something like this. The reason I wrote this is that it’s a reflection of myself and how I view (and value) the distinct and amazing qualities of people like us. And part of me wanted to help you see things the way I do, even ever so slightly. Stop your therapy, all you have to do is watch those movies I told you about above. Movies. Books. Daydreaming. That’s your therapy. And it’s not even therapy. It’s life. And it’s ending one minute at a time. (You know, it just hit me that you find suffering so valuable because you feel gratitude for being alive and able to experience. Without pain we would have nothing, be nowhere – it’s through suffering we learn, develop, grow, and appreciate the beauty itself by comparing it to the past. Again – watch Fight Club, but really delve deep when you watch each of these movies, hear and think about each of the lines or fully experience and think about each scene to get the full effects. Much of this you’ll do naturally. It’s legendary, to say the least.)

    • Hello. Hi. Hello.

      Your comment… I can’t even put it into words. I can’t. I want to cry and smile both at the same time and it’s proving very frustrating for my befuddled brain. I hope you realise how much I appreciated your comment. You probably do realise, but I wanted to say it anyway. I just. I can’t convey the breadth of my emotion through mere text. I can’t. I’m crying. I hope this doesn’t sound overly melodramatic or insincere to you, because it isn’t. I just. I want to give you a big cyber hug. It’s pretty late where I live right now but I promise to reply and type back a proper, well thought-out, response worthy of your beautiful comment. No, beautiful doesn’t even cut it. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. I can’t say it because words don’t suffice, it’s just pure emotion and feeling, all abstract and engulfing, like when you see one of those surreal paintings and you just want to leap and cry for joy because the beauty is too much.
      You understand.
      You understand.
      You understand.
      Just like so many on the internet.
      And you took the effort and time to type this miniature essay. I feel undeserving. I feel like I should give you something in return. Something nebulous. Like joy? I hope you feel joyful for truly touching me. Another human being. Breathing. Crying. Living. That’s pitiful, but it’s all I can give you at the moment. But, then again, no, it’s not pitiful. No, I don’t think you would believe to be pitiful, because I experience unimaginable joy when I truly affect someone. And you have truly affected me.
      I don’t feel up to ending this with a poetic flourish but I just wanted to say, thank you, to condense my infinite appreciation into those two little measly words, because that’s all I have right now.

      Thank you.

      PS: I have watched American Beauty. I cried at Lester’s word at the ending. It did unlock a part of life for me.

      PPS: Can’t get over the emotion. Okay, I’ll stop. You’ve chased away many of my depressive thoughts today. I just. Thank you.

  7. Did you really not interact with the other kids in kindergarten? Me, too!! My teachers advised my mother to hold me back. I’m glad my mother refused. Let’s face it, another year of kindergarten would not have helped.

    I do also tend to view my introversion/INFPism as a burden most of the time. I get so frustrated with myself, just as you do. Self-loathing? I guess that comes into it, too. And yet, I tell myself, we ARE rare. We ARE special. We do see things many of the other types will not or cannot see. We do have a purpose, even if it often seems like our purpose is suffering the agonies of embarrassment having to function as we do. I have been asking myself lately, how many things in my life have I had to force myself to do? Too many to number.

    Okay, so I haven’t quite figured our purpose out. But I do know one thing. I’m so happy to know that you are there, reaching out in the darkness to your INFP brethren (if you will). That is how I see us all.

    I just had a picture pop into my head from the Dr. Seuss story, “Horton Hears a Who.” (I do believe that genius, Dr. Seuss, was also an INFP, by the way.) Remember when the Whos were yelling, “We are here! We are here! We are here!” That, my dear, is you. Thank you. Please keep on yelling.

    • That was a beautiful comment. Thank you. And yes, I didn’t talk to anyone in kindergarten too! The teachers were all worried, they all thought I had a learning disability. Nope, just shyness and introversion. I’ll take when I want to.
      I promise to keep on making myself heard. It’s hard to do that during my everyday life, because I find oral communication to be exhausting and contrived and I’m just not any good at it. The words just don’t come out right, I don’t get enough time to think and formulate them. I hate it when some very fast-thinking, extroverted people cut you off after you’ve said one sentence and immediately refute your argument. I’m left standing there, thinking, I haven’t finished what I wanted to say yet! It didn’t come out right! Please, don’t discount my opinion and look at me like I’m retarded…
      It is hard. There’s no denying it. Sometimes, and I mentioned this in another comment, I feel like I’m tired from just existing.

  8. I feel what you’re going through. I used to feel like this everyday. I’m now on celexa and it does wonders for me. Do I think I should be on it? No! is there anything wrong with me? No! i’m just sensitive. Truth is i have a job helping people that I love but I couldn’t do it without drugging up and smoking a pack. i hate that I have to sacrifice my health and my sanity. i feel like i’m being pressed into a plastic doll of myself that can no longer feel or move accept in the required places. I am also married and that’s only because of the drugs too. My husband said i was too unstable to marry. After I faked calmness and being a robot did he propose. i love him and I would have walked through fire to be with him. i thought my sanity was a small price to pay. Oh darling stick with it. Life is beautiful and ugly. In my job i get to see it in all its gory glory. Dont miss a second of experiencing what it’s like to be tortured you in it. only then can you reach out.

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