How To Love Yourself When You Are An Outsider

alone girl hi

The clamor for good self-esteem has become almost cliché, an excuse for parading out a barrage of aphorisms: Love Yourself For Who You Are, Accept Yourself, Love Yourself and Others Shall Love You, Woman.

Whether that means loving your skin, or eyes, despite the White Beauty ideals seen on magazines and television; or flaunting those curves or hips rather than hiding them, it is part of a new wave of Self-Love scouring across society.

And sure, I can relate.

Being Asian myself, and very thin to boot (throughout school, I was teased mercilessly for my stick-thin wrists, and a girl once, upon raking her eyes over my spindly body in a bathing suit during swim class before puberty hit, pronounced me a “monkey” – skinny-shaming is just as debilitating as fat-shaming), I have had to deal with self-confidence issues related to these two traits, just like people who are a little on the plump side, people with disabilities, any physical signifier that classifies them as “Ugly” or “Other”.

But so much of the recent Self-Love onslaught focuses on appearances, particularly the appearances of women. And while that is all good and important, humans being highly visual creatures, very little attention to paid to the confidence issues one has to deal with by having a particular personality.

Personality is the true determining factor of your self-confidence, I think, at least in one’s younger years. It is much easier to feel happy with yourself when others seek out your company, like to talk with you; when you feel loved, approved of, accepted – and when peer acceptance is not present, low self-esteem is often, unfortunately, a natural consequence.

For instance, for many years I was made to feel defective for being introverted, so introspective that I barely paid any attention to the real world reeling by before my eyes. In the media, in modern literature, a new breed of the ideal woman was sprouting forth to smash traditional gender barriers: independent and bold and confident – in other words, extroverted. Though this “New Woman” allowed for greater opportunities among the female populace, at least in Western countries, doing so only replaced a previous admittedly debilitating standard for women with another – less constraining, yes, but a new standard to measure oneself up against, nonetheless.

Being Asian, in this case, actually made matters worse, as there is this absolutely nonsensical stereotype that all Asian women (I do hate using racial monikers; we’re individuals, not groups; people do not think all, say, brunettes or Caucasian men possess the same personality type, so why the generalizations?) are shy and submissive. As an INFP, a personality type which naturally, even among males, is conflict-averse, withdrawn, dreamy and, yes, has a tendency to be quiet and shy and burrowed in a corner with a book, I fit into this stereotype perfectly.

But, racial stereotypes aside, it is a fact that introverts, or any outsiders, have greater difficulty with self-esteem than their extroverted or more accepted counterparts. People find “confidence” (Read: Extroverted) beautiful, they find a “sense of humor” (Read: Usually Gregarious) attractive; and those who are shy, reserved, slightly weird, are overlooked or disliked, dubbed sometimes, infuriatingly, as possessing no personality at all.

It is hard, to learn to love yourself, when not only do people not seem to like you, they do not even see you.

How can you love something that does not exist?

On top of being shy, introspective, and skinny as a rake, I also had Asperger’s, suffered from social anxiety, and, lo and behold, was a creative thinker and writer – and we all know how solitary and odd writers or original thinkers have a habit of feeling in mainstream society, probably accounting for their general recluse lifestyles throughout history. This is not me complaining (Oh, Delia, my dear, I had such a hard time of it, you can’t possibly imagine!); all I am doing is trying to point out the various contributing factors, along with living in a low-income household that could not afford items such as new clothing more than every few years (“daggy” clothes are not great for popularity), that led me to have such low self-esteem for years, and years. Long, long suffering years.

Oh, actually, I am garnering for a little sympathy here, but it comes from a good place: perhaps some of you out there can relate, to any of this, and will feel less alone for it.

The bullying from my peers, ranging from abuse to exclusion, the days spent hidden in the back of the library, the days spent watching television showcasing people who looked nothing like me, a lack of supportive friends, not looking right, acting right – all this, for an excruciatingly sensitive and aware child, and later teenager, added up. I did not like myself – no, I loathed myself.

As if that wasn’t enough, once the Self-Love movement took off, self-help books flying off the shelves, people told me I just had to realise I was “worthy”.

Yes, indeed; it is easy to feel worthy without the particular history I had, without the particular brain and psychology, the particular body, skin, experiences; it is easy for you to say that, when you are talkative and loved and have never spent time alone in the bathrooms, imagining yourself being flushed down the toilet in a gurgling swirl of oblivion; it is easy for you to say that, when you are not slightly neurologically different from others, when you do not feel like an Outsider, when you are not so sensitive each day is a tiny battle, each night a time to cry, and bandage your accumulated wounds.

It is easy to say that, when you are Extroverted, or Straight, or a Non-Minority, or Well-Liked, or Neurotypical, or Male (though this is unfair, men, on average, tend to suffer from fewer self-esteem problems than Women), or Non-HSP, or Non-INFP, or Well-Off and can Fit In Happily.

(Note: I do not mean to say that Extroverted, Straight, Caucasian, Well-Liked, Neurotypical, Wealthy or Male individuals do not have any problems: I am simply trying to make a point that when you are an Insider, it is rather presumptuous to dole out voice to an Outsider)

It is easy for you to say that I simply must feel “worthy”, when everything and everyone your life has affirmed that, and everything in mine has pointed to the contrary.

Frankly, just being an INFP and Highly Sensitive, especially if you are male, is enough to lower your self-confidence drastically, let alone the extra baggage I dragged around. What’s worse, being sensitive dreamers, we have a tendency to blame ourselves whenever anything goes wrong.

People, extroverted individuals surrounded by friends, told me, I should tell myself I was “worthy”. They were speaking from a good place; they just wanted to help. But when I was unsuccessful at raising my self-confidence that way, I believed there was something wrong with me. I grew ashamed of my lack of self-esteem, which only fueled the self-hatred.

I was a big, fat Not.

Not curvy enough. Not talkative enough. Not outspoken enough. Not friendly enough. Not normal enough. Not realistic enough. Not pretty enough. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not.

Also, I was a big, fat Too.

Too weird. Too quiet. Too shy. Too strange. Too sensitive. Too poor. Too androgynous. Too isolated. Too skinny. Reads Too much. Thinks Too much. Head Too stuck in the clouds.

Above all, what drove the pain deeper, and still stabs me now and then today, was my unbearable loneliness, for I had no friends – and loneliness, as you may well know, only breeds further insecurity. A young female, or male, lonely and misunderstood, is bound to have some problems loving themselves without either a dose of wisdom or intervention.

In my case, the intervention was internal. And the recovery slow.

Yes, I did realise I was fine, just the way I was; that many writers, throughout history, had been considered eccentric, reclusive, shy, and many even had Asperger’s – so I was not alone, really; and perhaps, if I was not the way I was, I would not have my creativity, or interest in writing, or my imagination. That being shy daydreamer does not make me submissive woman; I have my own inner strength, only it is expressed differently. That the negative opinions of other people, though they hurt when expressed (“Shit! Look at your wrist: Are you anorexic?” “You’re too, um, quiet”) are less important than how I think about myself.

But the turning point, for me, was the realisation that, in the end, no-one really cares whether you are strange or different or shy, as everyone is too focused on themselves, and that everyone, even the most privileged, like all humans, go through their share of suffering. Sure, you may suffer more, you may feel lonely more frequently – but is that so bad a price to pay, for your unique gifts of sensitivity, compassion, creativity, perspective etc.? You may be disadvantaged in some respects, but blessed in others. Everyone is good at something; everyone has a spark, deep within them.

It is true, what they say: self-acceptance does come from the inside; but you will not find it by repeating mantras to yourself (I am worthy, I am worthy, please let me feel worthy…), or pretending you like being an outcast, or wearing a mask of superiority (Those unoriginal commoners!).

Instead, it comes from having a realistic outlook – no-one really cares that much about you, so you might as well care for you – and feeling compassion for all human beings. Even those who possess all the traits society accepts, they, just like you, have their moments of awkwardness, isolation, their own internal conflicts and problems.

We are all outcasts, deep in our hearts, only some people are better at hiding it. By the same token, we are all beautiful, in our unique and wonderful ways, and even if other people do not see or affirm it, you must. Hard as it may be to possess a trait that deviates from the norm, you can use it to your advantage and, if not like, at least accept your differences, in spite of the pain, in spite of the suffering.

Loving yourself, as an outsider, is not about never feeling uncomfortable or out of place among other people; that will never go away. Instead, it is about feeling Acceptance and Compassion: For The People Around You, For Others, and, most of all, For Yourself.

Advertisements

Being Sensitive And Having An Insensitive Mother

House

Sometimes, I dream of running away.

And then I remember that I would not be able to travel more than a few blocks without a panic attack setting in, and be forced to find either return home, tail between my legs, or find some other means of shelter, perhaps a public bathroom cubicle with a door that can lock.

So I stay in my room, and instead dream of not being conscious, which in itself is counteractive, as dreaming itself is a conscious act.

My mother is not a kind woman.

In fact, for someone like myself, who is highly sensitive and scatterbrained, I cannot think of anyone under the sun more unsuited to being my parent.

She screams at me. She screamed at me today. If you have Asperger’s, having someone screaming at you is a full-frontal assault, both emotionally and sonically excruciating. I curl up and cannot take it. I curl up, and wish I was dead. And still she goes on screaming.

Often, I am in the wrong. I can’t keep our apartment clean, and that is a fact. I am messy. I try to be neat and tidy, but sooner or later it all becomes disorganized again, and then I get screamed at for being the most disgusting slob to ever walk the land.

I daydream. Often my physical surroundings are often nothing more than interesting wallpaper. I live inside my head. I am introverted. So my mother screams at me for not socialising. I am sensitive. So she screams at me for using my sensitivity as an excuse for not wanting to deal with any that is unpleasant and stressful, like getting a job and interacting with people. I am empathetic. So she screams at me for refusing to eat meat, and is horribly scornful when I tell her I can’t put flesh, most likely from an animal who died in agony, into my mouth and swallow it. She tells me that she loves her two other nice and sensible children, and that I am deadweight, a burden; the sight of my face is abhorrent to her; that sometimes she doesn’t want to come home just so she doesn’t have to deal with me.

My siblings watch on, cold and unsympathetic. They are tired of my emotional outbursts, and tired of mother’s screaming. They are tired of having an older sister like me, useless and housebound, and perhaps that is the guilt talking, and perhaps that is not. My sister barely speaks to me anymore. She is getting a job soon, an after school job, to help my mother with the finances. And look at me. I am lucky not to be out on the street, as my mother likes to remind me. One of these days, she says, I’ll throw you out, and shut the door in your face, and it doesn’t matter how much you cry or beg, I won’t let you come back. You’re nineteen almost, you’re an adult. You’ll be on your own. I’m not working all these long hours just to feed and keep someone so inept and abnormal, who seems to float through life as though she were lost in her head.

All I ask is for a room of my own, where I can be alone, and read, and write, and work. I always work, even when I am miserable. Writing, and working, is all I have, and I know, given enough time and practice, I can get very good at it. I’m just not enough good enough yet, not by a long shot. I’m too young, too inexperienced. Any career in the Arts takes practice, long years of strenuous and constant effort. I don’t ask for much. Just a room. I can live on rice and beans, I don’t want any new clothes, just enough food to live on and pen and paper and a room of my own where I can live and write and not be disturbed. I wouldn’t mind if the room was small and cramped. As long as there is enough space for a desk and a chair, it would be fine.

It’s as if all everyone sees are the horrible parts of me: how awkward I am, how defective, disabled, strange. No-one seems to see the sensitivity, the empathy, the creativity, the imagination, the soul behind the stuttering mask. And because no-one around me seems to see my gifts–least of all my own mother, who laughed scornfully when I once made the mistake of telling her I would be a successful writer one day, before proceeding to tell me, her voice hard as a hammer knocking against my skull, that very few people succeed at writing–I begin to doubt whether they really exist. Once, my mother told me that I thought I was so “special”, her lips curled back in a sneer, that I needed solitude and to be undisturbed by people like some princess, and that, well, it was a big world out there, filled with talented people, and I was nothing in comparison. Go comfort yourself with that, she told me. When you have nothing to eat and no roof over your head, we’ll see whether you continue these dreams and delusions. If you can’t work and earn money, the world won’t care about you. Society has needs, and you need to fulfill one of them to survive. Who needs books? You don’t need books to survive. I never read. It’s too much reading that got you into this mess in the first place. You got lost in fantasy worlds, disconnected from reality, and now look at you. You’re a coward, you just want to escape into your imagination, where everything is fine and good, and ignore your duties and responsibilities.

Again, my siblings watched from the sidelines—there are no spare rooms for them to escape from the sideshow into, after all—and again, they remained silent. I think they hate me, too, for being who I am. I think they’re irritated with me.

I cried and screamed when she yelled at me today. It was my fault. I forgot the keys. I forgot where I placed them. I am always losing things, and I don’t know why. My mind doesn’t co-operate with the concept of physical location, doesn’t pay attention to my surroundings. I couldn’t open the door to let my siblings come in from school, which is a task allocated to me because my mother is afraid they will lose the key while at school. They were stuck outside until my mother came back early from work so they could be let in and do their homework at their desks.

She was boiling with rage. I could feel it through the front door, smoldering gushes of it. I was so scared. I hid in the bathroom. She came inside the house and banged on the bathroom door until it felt like my skull would break, screeching for me to come out. I didn’t want to. The screaming would be louder then, without the door acting as a physical barrier. But I did, because I knew she would get angrier if I didn’t. I I didn’t even have time to get fully-dressed; I was changing when the key cracked in the lock, signaling my mother’s return, and then I was running, half-dressed, wearing nothing but a long singlet. To come out, half-naked, and have her scream at me, felt so humiliating I think I could have died.

Now she is gone, back to work, to the grocery store, to do what I cannot help her to do. She left me to my tears, and my rocking, and my crying, in a cold fury. It is her anger that hurts me the most. I sense emotions as if they were physical rather than psychological, so her anger felt as though someone was repeatedly pummeling me in the stomach until I was coughing up blood. But my mother is right about one thing: I am a burden. More than a burden. And to place all your hopes on success in the Arts is a risky move. Besides, I am not disciplined enough, not talented enough—she is right, she is right. That was what my brain told me, as I rocked on the floor a few minutes ago. I don’t know if it is true. I don’t think it’s true. But I don’t know.

Loneliness set in soon afterwards. My family does not treat me like one of them. Half the time my sister doubts everything I say because she is convinced that I am crazy and delusional, insane. I am a tolerated pet whose unruliness is no longer amusing. I can’t turn to anyone for help: not my father, not the Government; I don’t have any friends in real life, who I can call and ask for help. After dropping out of university, any educational institutes could not care if I lived or died. I once called a Helpline number, desperate, and the man on the other end of the phone was clearly bored and rattled off a series of generic questions, and I couldn’t stand it so eventually I hung up on him, and then felt bad for being rude. Later that evening, I was scolded for using up the remaining credit on my phone.

Only through this blog have I met other like-minded people. Some of you might think, seeing as I can be quite wise and mature for my age, that I cope well, but the truth is, I don’t. I am stuck: I want to be financially independent, yet cannot due to my psychology. Thus all I can do is suffer in my family’s home, and suffer in silence, and be grateful for it, because at least I have a roof over my head and most nights go to bed without feeling too hungry. These days, I feel guilty even eating any food in the house. It’s the energy that radiates from my mother whenever I eat. Like I am a beggar from the street come to sit at her table, and steal her food, food for which I did nothing to work for to get. Some nights I go to bed hungry just so I don’t have to stay in the kitchen around her, and have her eyes on me as I eat.

I’m not sure what to do. I don’t know why it is that the outside world hurts me so. It’s the noise, it’s the sounds, the lights, the people—but it’s also the energy. Out in the noisy city streets, there is a lot of bad energy, and it gusts against my skin like skittering sparks from a flame. It’s too rough, too cruel, no kindness, no love. It makes me want to shrink down and down, into a mouse, and scurry away into a tiny cubbyhole inside a wall, where I can have my own miniature doll-sized bed and drawers, a tiny firefly coaxed into acting as a lamp, a niche where I can store nuts and berries, a wardrobe holding clothes stitched using spidersilk, and miniscule books on little shelves, their pages patterned with rows and rows of miniscule writing. There, in that quiet, tiny space, I would be safe, and happy, and not be hurt by anyone or anything.

And so it goes. When reality becomes too painful, I disappear into my mind, a turtle retracting back into its shell. It heals me. It lets me escape. I write, and I imagine, and am happy, if only briefly, and I hold tight to the hope that one day, my books will be published, and they will exist long after I am dead, to provide comfort and joy to others who need to escape or to forget, or who are sad and suffering. That is the power of fantasy, of literature, of Art. The world does need books, no matter what my mother says. And I will write them. No matter what it takes, or how long it takes, I will. As long as I can still breathe and think and communicate, there is hope.

Becoming A Life Coach: Yes? No?

help

**If any of you who read my blog or are just stumbling across it are needing any life advice or guidance, especially if you are sensitive, introverted or a dreamer and feels a little lost in this cold world, please send your Skype username to dreamerrambling@hotmail.com. Though I can’t guarantee I can speak with everyone, I will try my best. These sessions will be free, as I’m just going to be practicing my life coaching skills and developing my own techniques and learning how to talk and counsel people. Thank you for helping me practice and taking me a step further on this new little journey of mine, and I hope that I can help you in the process too. Please no spam: it’d be good to send a message along with your username telling me a little about yourself. Thanks. Keep dreaming.

Whilst searching on the internet for possible career choices for INFPs, I came across one that struck a chord: life coaching.

After reading a few articles on what this position involved, I have come to the conclusion that, other than writing, which utilises both our literary and creative skills, this would be an ideal career choice for INFPs as it taps into our often pent-up altruistic tendencies.

For those of you have do not know, what life coaches essentially do is help people overcome issues that prevent them from having the life they want, such as a lack of self-confidence or purpose, or recent adversities that have thrown a hammer into the workings of their existence. Through counseling and mentoring, these people then hopefully emerge from the counselling sessions feeling re-energized and healed. Often these sessions are undertaken over the phone, or Skype.

Frankly, as an INFP myself, I can think of few careers so suited to our sensibilities.

Most of our personality type are excellent at reading and analysing people, which would come in useful for targeting things like self-limiting beliefs preventing people from achieving the things they want to. We also like to help people nearly more than anything else, and what could be more gratifying than aiding people in building the life they want in order to achieve their own, unique form of happiness?

Not to mention the fact that most of us are budding philosophers or old souls who are wise beyond our years, and thus able to look at issues from the perspective of a much older and jaded individual.

Very little qualifications other than experience and testimonials are necessary to become a life coach. Personally I would love to work as one, rather young though I may be, especially as a life coach specifically for the groups of people I am care most about, such as INFPs, HSPs, introverts and dreamers.

Considering how many questions I receive through email and comments on this blog regarding life, it certainly seems a viable career path, especially when people who are introverts or HSPs tend to have a harder time of it than those who are not.

Of course, before you start haranguing at me for trying to exploit all my lovely readers at “Dreaming. Living. Loving.” by imposing my sudden, new-found life coaching services upon them, I’d just like to say that all these are but the seeds of ideas at the moment – nothing germinating yet folks, not even a tendril.

However, it is a possibility. Making it as a creative writer in this world isn’t the most lucrative job out there, and what else can an INFP do except capitalise on the few skills valued by society, in my case, my literary, creative and counseling abilities?

Without any hefty inheritances ready to plop into my lap in the near future, or a parent who can support me, and some family debt to boot, lately I have definitely been dwelling more on ways to survive in our capitalist society.

I do not doubt as to whether I am capable of, say, counseling teenagers on their career choices or helping people understand introverted women; it feels as much a part of my blood, my soul, as writing. I have even volunteered, two years ago, as a camp counselor, a brief stint which was very enjoyable.

However what I do not much like is the idea of asking people for money, even for services that I provide. To be honest, it makes me feel guilty, which might sound ridiculous to some, but, well, it’s true. If it were up to me, I’d help people regardless of whether they paid me or not, out of the sheer pleasure of helping others. Unfortunately, this would probably be a fast-track to homelessness, a state which I never plan on entering again.

Either way, it’s just a possibility that has been percolating through my brain. Who knows, perhaps if I do end up acting on it, I could end up helping people using my insight and wisdom, both of which I have in abundance but have little outlet for, and maybe even make a living out of it. That would be very nice; I know we can’t always get what we want in life, such as the jobs most suited to our sensibilities, but we can try.

Would any of you be at all interested, if I did act on this idea? There would be little point in starting a service if there is no need for it. I know that INFPs aren’t the wealthiest individuals out there, nor are introverts and dreamers likely to come from money too, but I could charge low fees, or allow for free sessions.

Or I could just extend my services to everyone, of all personalities and races and walks of life. The more I think about it, there more I feel as if there would be nothing more personally fulfilling. Apart from writing novels, stories and articles, counseling is my one other ability I can offer society.

This is just a thought. If I must wade my through the morass that is our capitalist society, I might as well find some ways of doing so without compromising my integrity and help those whose plights I care about in the process.

A Tiny Call For Help

I know very well that I’m only one tiny organism out of billions, and that my life does not matter much in the long run, that nothing matters, really, seeing as the sun will one day expand in a red wash of fiery energy and engulf the earth and instantly vaporise every single living creature on it, but…

                   …I skipped school today.

So many thoughts are swirling in my head, a crowd of vultures pecking at my skull for attention. I’ll try and stand still and let them descend, one by one, until they pick me clean. I would like to be a skeleton.

My loathing for school has reached an all-time peak, to the point where it is making me physically ill to attend classes. One of the main reasons for this is the impersonal nature of the educational system, where you have all these students crammed into a small space, chattering and laughing and socialising, while I’m left dangling at the fringes, trying to suppress immense anxiety at my own awkwardness. Today, in class, I sat next to someone who I had interacted poorly with many times, and almost had a panic attack right there in class. I seem to have a lack of ability to tolerate people at all, especially in crowds, and feel so starved of solitude my soul is withered with the deprivation.

Motivation for my classes have plummeted. Even some of my favourite subjects, like English, hold little allure for me anymore; every single class is so regimented and dull, it’s more like a game of connect-the-dots than actual learning. Teachers talk to us and we parrot back whatever they say. Hundreds of students clip-clop down the corridors down like automatons, faces gleaming with fixed, metal smiles. The entire affair is an object of horror, like lying down in a casket crawling with cockroaches. I want to scream. Hard little bodies are tickling over my tongue and down my throat to skitter among my organs. I want to scream.

After one of my classes, during which the teacher publicly showcased by incompetency for not keeping up with the coursework, I walked slowly by myself into the bathroom, locked myself in a cubicle and cried until I felt like I’d squeezed all the juice possible from my face. It was very dramatic, and stupid, but I was in so much pain, over everything, that I simply had to release it, though silently, so no-one in the cubicle next to me could hear. Then I just picked up my bag and strolled out the school gates and caught the bus home, even though I still had two more classes until the end of the school day.

Just like that.

A sense of surreality now overlays everything. I’m so detached and dead inside, even reality has begun to thin, and what lays beyond I do not want to see.

Honestly, what I’m writing may sound lighthearted, but it’s not. I’m really struggling. I hate saying that, because I don’t matter, but I just have to write it out, if only for the sake of catharsis. I’m really depressed. Social isolation at school has only grown worse: it seems as if I can’t relate to the other students at all, like they’re these gleaming, shiny, highly-developed creatures while I still remain stunted and unseen and strange, an abnormality from the Old Age. I can’t stand the lot of them. Teachers used to tell me I’m talented (before I started getting serious about my writing dream), the school counselor told me it would be a shame for me to drop out when I was such a bright student, but how can I POSSIBLY be a halfway-smart human being if my grades are falling like shot birds and I can’t even manage basic social interaction with my peers without a panic attack?

That’s the worst thing: the attacks from the inside are far stronger than the external. My desired path in life is to drop out of school, get a part-time job and obsessively pursue writing in my free time. But the self-doubt is overwhelming, clawing up my throat like goblins, until I can’t swallow, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can only choke and choke and choke. If I can’t even talk to the kids at school, how on earth am I supposed to land a job anywhere? And what places hire a highschool dropout? But the biggest doubt of it all squats squarely on my chest like a bloated slug the size of a bed, slime dripping into my eyes and mouth and nose: I doubt my own abilities. I doubt them so much I can’t even see anything except the slug, taste anything except the slime. I live in the swamp, every minute of my life, trying to keep the marshland out of my lungs. To take a gamble on my own writing and creative talents when I’m sure I’m delusional and fooling myself, is terrifying. I can’t speak for the terror. Even now, every word I write is atrocious, so terrible, that it makes me cringe. You are an idiot, the voice screeches. You’ll never be a writer. You’ll die with your words unsung, your books still locked away in the library of your heart. Quit dreaming.

Unfortunately, writing is the only skill I have. Anything that requires the slightest social interaction is odious to me – I do have social anxiety – and I have trouble relating to others which I’m sure is some terrible, personality defect. But I must get a part-time job to help my mother somehow, who barely scrapes by as it is without a drop-out daughter. My existence will be a stain upon her heart, and I don’t think I could bear to live in this world anymore if I were not able to get a job, if I failed my mother, my mother, who has already gone through so much.

These words are disgusting smears of excrement on the page. I blame sleep deprivation, to preserve my waif-thin ego, as last night I was so caught up in the web of my thoughts, so feverish with anxiety, that I did not sleep the entire night. At this rate, I’m afraid of becoming a downright dysfunctional human being, one of those twitching, haggard, neurotic ladies who cart around plastic bags like old ghosts. I’ll end up homeless, trailing the streets with my ragged dress and broken dreams, too dirty and lowly to even gain admittance to a public library and enjoy the books I so love.

I just feel so wrong. So broken and wrong, so bad and stupid, so silly and pathetic, so hopeless and useless. And I don’t know what to do. I fear that if I wallow in the black sticky pool of my thoughts any longer, I’ll drown. Today, while on my way home, for the briefest of seconds, I contemplated just running out onto the road on the off-chance I car would hit me and end this suffering. I obviously didn’t, but I was frightened that I’d even considered it. It would have been so easy.

The world is so loud. The cars are so loud. Everyone talks so loud. Everyone is coarse and hard around the edges. My aura is starting to gutter like a candle flame in their presence – soon, it will wink out, I know it will, it’s just a matter of time. Existential depression lurks always in the corner of my mind, an elegant demon in a gray-suit and with eyes cold as the universe. Books hold no allure. I can’t write. I can’t write.

I don’t even know what I’m writing about anymore. Words that once seemed to me a ticket to bliss now hang like fleshy growths from my body, misshapen and bloated and veined. None of my stories work, and each time I try to begin a novel, it runs out of steam before it leaves the station, sputtering and disintegrating into a mass of rusty parts and wheels. What do I have? Nothing. Not even hope. I just don’t…know…anything.

A Private Diary Entry: Bravery

scared

Dear Diary,

I am scared.

It’s strange, how shameful it is show your fear. You’re seen as feeble. Someone who revels in their own pain, and has the impoliteness to rip out their own intestines and show the pinkish-grey coils to others. No thank you. We don’t want that. I am scared, and I wish I knew why. I wish I could clinically extract my fear, distil it into a test tube, and then view it under a microscope to determine the best way to destroy it.

Do you ever find yourself curling your lip at your own behavior and thoughts? For a moment, you are disgusted and shamed by your own neurosis. All my life, I’ve been this tangled knot of fears and insecurities and anxieties. It’s pretty much like walking around as a human-shaped tangle of nerves. A network of live wires. I get thousands of shocks every single day, until I’m twitching and buzzing in pain. When you’re so…aware, so self-conscious, so sensitive, when loving yourself is harder than inching a nail through rock, everything hurts. It hurts so much. Honestly, it’s as if you don’t have a skin, that you’re just exposed to the world, slabs of red flesh lined with muscle laid bare for all to see and poke and prod at with surgical instruments. Lift up the gleaming organs. Stab the heart until it spurts and gushes a red fountain. It’s as if you’re entire soul is a festering canker sore. You’re a cat, festering with sores and itches and rashes, missing an eye, fur ripped out in places, crawling with fleas, and, most of all, mewling in pain, and yet they still beat you. Again and again and again.

I care too much about what people think. I’m terrified of being disliked. And this is at counter purposes with my desire to be individual. To be brave, and strong, and not care what people think. I fear everything under the sun. I fear the world. I fear it all, and it swallows me until I’m just a dark rush of shrinking. I try to be strong. We all try to be so strong, because we’re told that breaking under pain, curling up into a fetus to nuzzle at the imaginary flesh of our mother’s womb (Safe. Safe. Where has safety gone? I’ve lost it, long, long, long ago. I never feel safe. It’s all danger) is weak. Weakness is frowned down upon, in both men AND women. Strength and toughness are admired in our society, along with persistence and grit and being true to yourself. So, we are strong. We show ourselves to be strong. But being strong can sometimes be a cover-up. It doesn’t mean we aren’t hurting, hurting so much we’d rather fold ourselves into shadows and collapse into dust. I don’t know why I’m weeping a bit writing this. It’s just life. It’s all transient, and it all ends. That’s the thing about pain though – it always seems the most important thing in the world in the moment. Battling with anxiety, trying to handle social situations without looking like a fool, keeping your head up in a world that doesn’t understand you, feeling so wrong, so off, so defective, feeling so delicate and yet being told that we have to be TOUGH, tough and confident and assertive…it’s like being stabbed every day. Everyday. Wounds. Come home to lick the wounds.

I know I’m an overly neurotic, anxious, depressive, melancholy and obsessive person, but the knowledge of that does not make it any better. Only, it leads to self-hatred. Look at me. My insides are curdled with these thoughts. I feel lesser than others for being haunted by so many demons. Like I’m unhallowed. Add to this the desire for perfection in one’s art, and you’ve got an exhausting cocktail of angry shadows that seek to chew apart the deepest recesses of yourself. My writing has been taking a nosedive, along with my confidence, if it isn’t obvious already. My jewel, once so bright, and faceted, and tough, is being squashed like a mere grape. Squelch. I know it takes persistence. I know it takes hard work. I know I have to get used to misery, and create art despite the misery, even when it hurts. To run even when it hurts. Nevertheless, when you’re knee-deep in it, it’s hard. Especially when being bombarded by the talents of others. This envy is pointless and no-one cares about it, but I think that if anyone reads this diary entry, and feels the same way, and feels less alone for, then I will have accomplished my goal. I so want to love you. I so want to love everyone. I want to hug and love people. Why is that so hard? Believing in yourself is hard. Loving yourself is hard. Why is it the hardest to deal with ourselves? Why are we so often in conflict with ourselves? I wish we could separate the parts of ourselves into different people, and send them off to situations that require the specific functions. That way, I could send my confident and happy self into the world every day, rather than the hunched, scared self, wringing hands and giving weak smiles. It’s just life. We’re all going to die. But boy, must we suffer between the interval. There’s nothing I wish for more than to embrace other people who are suffering. When people suffer, and expose the rawness within themselves, a bottomless reservoir of affection within me rises up to the surface. I love the rawness. I love the pain in their eyes, not for some sadistic reason, but because it makes me feel close to them, makes me feel connected, as suffering humans.

I think I could only fall in love with someone who shows me their vulnerability, their suffering. There’s nothing I love more. As suffering organisms, all swimming in the same consciousness. If you’re suffering right now, I wish I could hug you. To wipe the tears from your eyes, and know, together, in our hearts, that this is all we have, this sun, this moon, these stars, this us. Just, to cry, and to know. I’m so idealistic when it comes to love I even laugh at myself, but it’s the bad kind of laugh, the kind of laugh you laugh to cover up the true pain underneath. I hate that about myself, you know? Independence is something I try to pride myself on. I use it to hold my head high and weather the batterings of life. I tell myself to be realistic. I tell myself not to hope for too much, for fear of getting disappointed.

Disappointment hurts more than any other emotion. It’s a grey wound, deep, and very, very quiet. When we’re sad, we cry, when we’re happy, we smile, when we’re angry, we shout and fume and seethe, but disappointment is silent. We just sit there, a little dumbfounded at the intensity of the pain, while the hurt nibbles at our soul like so many ethereal piranhas. We allow ourselves to be eaten, to be chewed, and do not run away, so stunned are we.

But, yes. Deep inside me, down where the glowing fishes and shipwrecks lie, there is a deep yearning larger and older than the universe for love. For true love. A grand, tired, sleeping fish, with sad eyes the size of countries filled with pale glitter. I tell myself it’s just a fantasy. I remind myself of my own parent’s divorce. I tell myself no-one can love me until I truly love myself. I tell myself love is transient. I tell myself there are more facets to love than that of the romantic. I tell myself I’m not worthy of love, that no-one could love anyone as messed up as me, as unwanted, as socially shunned, as misunderstood. Who wants a broken toy? No-one. I tell myself that I don’t need true love, that friendships and soulships and familial relationships are enough. I tell myself that a relationship won’t complete me, that life is dissatisfaction. That love can’t fill the gaps in my being. Nothing works. I’ve never even met true love, yet I yearn for it as deeply as mothers yearn for their lost children. The entire concept caters to my sensibilities so perfectly it makes me weep just to think of it. I yearn for it so hard it sometimes feel like my heart is ripping to shreds in the process. I yearn, oh!, how I yearn.

And how I loathe my own yearning. Sylvia Plath summed up my feelings perfectly in one of her quotes: “How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.” The moment I saw this quote, grief stunned me in the chest, hard as a smote from a loved one. None of my family members understand the slightest bit of me. I want to be understood as much as I want to be a writer. I need to be understood as much as other people need to breathe. To grieve for something you have never known! To feel safe, secure, loved, understood by a single person. To be in someone’s arms, and to wake up in the morning to their soft comfort. To love. Love. Needless to say, if I ever loved, it would be with complete and utter devotion. If I ever loved, and were betrayed by that love, I would shrink from the world. There is no middle ground when it comes to emotions, when you’re an INFP and a HSP. It’s either splintering joy or crushing despair. I’m afraid of dying alone, and never being loved. I’m afraid I’ve idealised love too much. I’m afraid of loving too much. I’m afraid of losing the love I have not yet received. I’m afraid of pushing away love. Of being too socially awkward and in too much pain to open myself to love. I’m afraid of people being disgusted by me. I send the wrong messages. I do this stupid thing where I push people away, and act cold and aloof when what my heart really is screaming to do is to talk to them, get to know them. And this empty screaming inside me goes on and on. For instance, right now, dear diary, there is this one person I would really like to get to know. I keep bumping into him, and I’m afraid that he hates me for my coldness, my unresponsiveness. I would love to get to know him. I find him quite fascinating – incredibly logical, systematic, and grounded, yet kind and heartfelt, full of integrity and wisdom. I’m afraid of being too enthusiastic, and pushing him away. I’m afraid he won’t like me enough to let me talk to him.

I’ve kind of let the relationship (if it could be called that) devolve into mutual hostility from pretended apathy on my part, when all my heart wants to do is be amiable. This has been bothering me a good deal, and I’m afraid of not talking to him soon enough and thus giving my silly brain time to build him up in my mind, to fall in love with a fabrication of my own imagination. I’m afraid of falling in love with ghosts. I’m afraid of being seen as too obsessive or weird. I’m afraid of passing up an opportunity to get to know a good soul. Someone I can connect with. You can see that kind of stuff, in the eyes. The next time I bump into him, I’m going to try and strike up a conversation, and if it doesn’t work, if he brushes me off (a stab of rejection, deep into the sensitive flesh of my soul), then I’ll lift my head, put on a brave face while my heart cries, and move on. That’s what I always do.

Maybe if I yearn hard enough, I’ll disintegrate.

I’m going to write for a while, and then go to bed. I’m going to find solace through my distasteful words, and dream of better worlds. Of better “Me”s. Of true love. I’ll probably sniffle and a shed a few tears. And then I’ll wake up in the morning and scoff at this entry and scoff at myself and scoff at my words and toss my hair over my shoulder and go out into the world with a flat smile on my face.

I’m brave.

Love,

Anne

Anthem For Misfits

Anthem

I’ve suffered from an inferiority complex all my life.

No. It’s not just my own problem. It’s because of you.

You were so sure, so bold. So confident. You still are.

But the problem is, with that assurance came cruelty. Indifference. You batted me down, like an alleyway of cats swiping at a single desperate starling.

Your words were etched in stone. My own opinions, qualms and dislikes, even when I did voice them, evaporated like smoke. I was a ghost among the living, unheard, unnoticed, unheeded.

When you’re introverted, it’s hard not to be intimidated by extroverts of facile tongue.

When you’re sensitive, it’s hard not too feel weaker than your less soft counterparts.

When you’re a dreamer, it’s hard not to let the words of realists get to you.

Every word I hear in my day-to-day life is another nail hammered into the coffin.

You can’t be a writer. You don’t have any talent. Besides, it’s really hard, and takes a lot of time.

Thud. Thud.

You’re too sensitive. And optimistic. You need to start thinking realistically.

Thud.

Why are you so quiet?

Thud.

Only unintelligent students who will get nowhere in life skip school.

Thud.

You have to go to university to be successful. Otherwise, you’ll be a failure. Washed up.

Thud. Thud.

You must work at a job, even if you hate it. You must give up precious minutes of your life and stand at a desk shuffling papers and twittering on phones. This is the contribution of every good citizen.

Thud.

Follow our rules. When the bell rings, then you can go home. When the man turns green, you walk across the road. When everyone rushes in one direction, you better follow.

Thud.

You’re dead. You’re dead and buried, at least three feet down beneath the earth, and you can’t breathe. Thick earth clogs your throat. A thousand beetles scuttle industriously over your body. Rats chew out your eyes. You’re dead.

And how fantastically easy it is to live a life this way, with a tombstone weighing on your heart. There is nothing less stressful and more simpler than to coast along the path ordained for you, passed from hand to hand like a well-trained little puppy.

After all, that’s what they told us, and look at what tough, grand, glorious, knowledgeable people they are! Navigating through the perils of society like it’s only a little trip down to the corner store. Their words must be right. They understand the harsh realities of this world, and while they go out and succeed, sipping wine in their million dollar complexes, you’ll be a raggedy, homeless person by the curb with only the bitter dregs of broken dreams in your mouth.

No. I refuse to believe it. I refuse to believe what they say. I refuse to be buried. I refuse not to trust my own words, my own instincts, my own intuitions. I refuse to feel inferior every time you ignore me, talk to me, hate me, avoid me, look down on me. I refuse to see my strengths of sensitivity, creativity, quietness, insight, and understanding as weaknesses.

Enough.

I’d rather be a pigeon pecking at crumbs on the sidewalk than live on jeweled fruits in a gilded cage.

I’d rather be out in the open air, and see the sky, the clouds, the stars, than be buried in the most comfortable coffin.

Yes, I’m not like you.

I like to talk to flowers more than people. They can teach me more of life than you ever could.

I like my own company better than that of others. Our conversations will sparkle like stardust. You don’t like talking to me? You think I’m too strange and awkward and quiet? Good. Because I don’t like talking to you either. After conversing with you, the taste of lies and high-pitched laughter that lingers in my mouth reminds me of blood. My eyes are shiny and bright and blank as copper pennies after trying to light up for you. No more.

I like to be quiet, and I like silence. All the better to hear the mice chewing through your soul. Oh, did you know your face was cracking? Look, it’s splintering like plaster. Goodness, what squeaking. I wonder when they’ll burst your skin open and crawl down your chest in a tidal wave of furry grey bodies.

I like to daydream and imagine. It makes my existence happier. Sure, I might lose my keys. Misplace my money. Forgot phone calls. And maybe my imagination will not earn me a single dime – after all, like you said, I can’t become a writer, right? But don’t slap me across the face for it. Don’t rip my books out of my hands and slam my head into the jaws of a mechanical grinder. My brain works differently from yours, and, in the long run, you’ll lose more than me.

I’m soft. I’m sensitive. I’m a daydreamer. I’m quiet. I’m an introvert. I’m a misfit. I’m scatterbrained. I’m awkward. I’m solitary. I’m not like you.

But that does not make you better than me.

But we both have dreams, don’t we? Only, you sure like to crush mine, grinding your heels into my fingers until they break and bleed. You sure like to discount me. And I don’t need that. I have enough self-doubt as it is. I don’t need you to make me feel worse.

And your dreams of making big bucks and living the high life? They don’t touch upon the pulse of life. They are dead, shiny dreams, like slaughtered animals with hairy golden pelts.

We are different. I chase my dreams. You chase yours. Just don’t try to kill mine before they’ve grown their wings. Don’t try to put me down before I’ve even taken my first shaky step.

We’ll see who’s happier in the end.

Reasons Why I Am Actually An Alien

Image

I have some news for you.

Good or bad, you say? Well, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

I know this must be hard to grasp, whether you are a reader of my humble little blog or chancing upon it for the first time.

I have a confession to make.

*takes deep breath*

I am actually an alien.

Okay.

Just going to let that sink in. No, no, not the human-eating kind! No, I can’t go back to my mother ship. No, I told you, I’m not going to eat you or that man over there! Why are you backing away? Don’t you dare throw that banana at me, I’m warning you!

I know. I look remarkably normal, thanks to the craftsmanship of skin-clothing by the talented tailors of my home planet. But don’t judge a book by it’s cover, as you Earthlings all are fond of saying. How am an alien? You want me to prove it you? Fine. I will. Behold. Reasons why I am an alien.

1. No one understands me. Goodness, I sound like a irritating adolescent human bemoaning her own incomprehensibility. But I have a legitimate reason. It’s because I’m an alien and my brain is super weird.

2. I hate pop music. I hate loud music of any kind. I only like quiet, lullaby-like music. But, mostly, I like silence. I know, it’s crazy.

3. I have no interest in the bits of coloured paper which you humans use to purchase things.

4. I like being by myself. Okay, I’ll wait until you all finish gasping in shock. I actually hate human company. I like being alone. I wouldn’t mind being alone all the time. If everyone had a unique disease which prevented everyone from contacting anyone, it would be a blessing.

5. I have no interest in the economy, in politics  or in current affairs. At all. Zilch. More gasps? Wait, why do you look so offended? What, I’m not ‘cultured’ enough? Your petty human troubles bore me. It’s all just a bundle of messiness that wants everyone to know that it’s messy.

6. Other humans don’t like me at a higher frequency than is normal. I can see through people who are being transparent or artificial quite easily. It’s part of my emotional x-ray vision. It makes humans uncomfortable because I can see the dark shadows that writhe beneath their skin and the skeletons clattering inside their bodies.

7. I don’t want to work, not because I’m lazy, but because I have no interest in being a slave to the system and selling my time and soul doing something I will probably hate. In fact, I would almost rather be homeless than work at a job I loathe. I know, it’s astounding.

8. A permanent melancholy pervades my thoughts. You humans have tried to diagnose me with depression, told me to ‘cheer up’ and even thrown glitter and confetti in my face on multiple occasions. But it’s actually part of my psyche. Sorry.

9. I SEE DEEPER MEANINGS AND TRUTHS. Not to honk my own horn, we aliens are humble creatures at heart, but the things I can think about and the concepts I come up with about life and existence are so freaking deep and convoluted that it sometimes makes me feel like I’m insane just thinking about them. All I’m saying is, everything is an illusion. Literally.

10. I have no interest in personal adornment. You humans seem particularly fond of this past time especially the female members of your species. How little interest, you ask? Well. If I’m not leaving the house, I will not brush my hair or get out of my pajamas. Sometimes, I even forget to shower. Okay, I saw that, now you’re really backing away from me.

11. I can’t communicate well with humans. See, I’m a different species, so it’s just pretty darn difficult. I stutter, I feel awkward. Just having a human look at me makes me feel unbearably vulnerable and self-conscious.

12. I don’t like parties. Period.

13. No one understands me. I know, I said this at the beginning, but it deserves another mention. Do you have any idea of the wackiness of my brain? Do you have any idea how lonely it can get, being the only alien for miles around?No, I thought not.

14. Aliens are more sensitive than humans. It’s why I hate loud noises and bright lights and those horrible movies with random scary faces that pop up.

15. A library is my ideal habitat. I feed off of books and creative energy.

16. I am very scatterbrained. I will get lost on the way to my own house. I will lose my own sister at the shopping centre. It’s the magnetic poles you have here, throws me all out of whack.

17. I have a special kinship with cats because it has been my long held belief they were imported from my planet to yours.

18. I am particularly susceptible to the love bug, which is spread through Valentines Day and romantic comedies. My immune system just isn’t strong enough to fight it. Symptoms include self-pitying weeping, fantasies about the perfect romance and lots of cat cuddling to assuage loneliness followed by yelling at self for being a stupid dreamer and idealist. 

18. Back at my planet, procrastination is necessary for survival. See, over there, everyone lives for at least a million years, so if you did not procrastinate, you would get bored and run out of things to do. Unfortunately, this trait is still a part of me despite my abridged lifespan here on Earth.

19. I love the night sky. It makes me wistful and think of home.

20. Existential angst is a trademark of my species. I don’t understand other humans and how they can do the things they do everyday and think the things they think everyday without having an existential crisis every weekend.

Now, I know this has all been a bit of a shock for you. I must say, you’re taking it better than the last group. They wanted to take me to the laboratory. Thankfully, I sorted them out. I don’t think they’ll bother me again.

Well. I’m sure you’ll gradually adjust to the idea. I must admit, you humans are pretty good at adaption and survival.

And I’m sure there are many of you out there reading this who are fellow aliens. Greetings.

To you, I say: Uogoegyouvouvdfvjflfvjiueorvoeifhbfdohbauerybuerbhlfhblbflbdlfbm.

To those who do not speak Alienish, here is the translation: When is the mother ship coming back, gosh darn!

Choosing A Career

Image

**To get INFP and general life advice, or Skype counselling conversations, or to choose a blog topic, click HERE or the link: http://www.patreon.com/dreamerrambling

Being the introverted, intuitive, creative, idealistic little dreamer I am, choosing a career isn’t easy.

I’m so jealous of those people who seem to shoot out of their mothers’ wombs knowing what they want to become. I have a friend who is dead set on becoming a marine biologist and has been ever since she could talk. I have people who tell me, oooh, I want to either do this or that or, hmmm, maybe even that? with smiles lighting up their faces.

And I just stand there, nodding and smiling, dreading the moment when they pop the question, ‘So…do you know what you want to do?’ And, maybe it’s just me, but that line is always delivered with such an accusatory, judgmental air, and I feel like I am before some invisible, nebulous jury who will pronounce me unfit for society when I tell them, ‘Uh…no, not really, I mean, I’m still sort of looking into options.’ Clash, bang, down goes the hammer.

I got to thinking about this the other day. As I child, I always assumed I would become either an author. It was an immutable decision in my head. I think it’s fair to say that at that age (six), I hadn’t been able to factor in the reality of money. Or any thing realistic at all, really. All I knew was that my little heart yearned to put paper to pen like all my lovely heroes, Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Paul Jennings, Ray Bradbury. But, if I have to put writing on the sideboard as a hobby rather than a career, what can I do? And, as usual, to work out the problem, I wrote the pros and cons of various careers down.

1. Journalist. I mean, I like writing, right? And journalism is a field that employs the written word. I could, you know, do that, can’t I? But, then again, I hear you have to sniff out stories at the crack of dawn and interview people ferociously. I’m the least chatty and charismatic person on the planet. Not sure if that would work out. And jobs are scarce in journalism at the moment.

2. English Teacher. I’m not the most verbally eloquent but I can get by, as least when I’m not nervous. I’m great at explaining complicated concepts, breaking them down into layman terms. And I love kids, I love seeing the beams of understanding on their faces. And English has always been my best and favourite subject, even in highschool. It would be perfect but it would be incredibly draining as an extreme introvert. Trust me, I’ve had first-hand experience. The level of noise that can be achieved in a classroom – ! Perhaps I have to just adapt myself to the environment? Or become a tutor rather than a classroom teacher.

3.  Counselor. Really appealing. One-to-one contact. Still would be draining but less so than talking and being animated in front of a class all day. I would get to talk about FEELINGS all day, and feelings are the essence of my soul. Hope that didn’t sound too dramatic. And I get to help people solve their problems. And be sensitive and caring and nice. But apparently Psychology courses at university are stuffed chock-full of science and spiky statistics rather than hands-on work. Would I be able to hold my interest? Not to mention job security at the end of the degree and the fact that, as a HSP, I would absorb all the emotions, darn it!

4. Editor/Writer. For some online magazine, I suppose. There are lots of those floating around lately on the ocean of the web. But I have no idea how to even crack into a field and whether I have the chutzpah to do it, especially in this ‘economy’ (newsflash: the economy doesn’t exist, it is fabricated by humans and only lives in our minds and has no bearing on reality whatever).

5. A Speech Pathologist. I mean, a lot of it is one-to-one contact. And it involves linguistics, which can sort of satisfy the literary monster within me. And I always loved biology in high school and would prefer to work with the children and the elderly rather than adults. Not a stable career where I live though, the majority of speech pathologists hold part-time jobs.  

6. Translator. You need some creativity or, shall we say, flexibility of mind to work in translation, to be able to switch from one language to another. And, if I’m translating written work, it would fit my introversion. Yes, sitting down and translating at my laptop at home in my pajamas sounds very nice indeed. The only problem is, the only language I’m good at is English. Wouldn’t it be too late to try learning a whole new language from scratch? Should’ve kept those French classes.

7. Advertising director. Creative job. Someone has to come up with unique ideas for advertisements and write the slogans on pamphlets. And I could use my writing skills and it pays well to, at least, working in advertising does. It might be a bit too extroverted of a job for my tastes, but hey, no job can be perfect, right? But is apparently very high-stress, with all the deadlines and whatnot. As a highly sensitive and anxious person, I would prefer a more toned-down occupation but I you can’t everything. I will have to sell a little bit of my soul though, seeing as I hate the entire concept of consumerism and psychologically manipulating people to buy mere objects that they don’t need.

8. Copywriter. Churn out the slogans, write for the pamphlets, be the word flag waver for these countless corporations that want to bleed your pockets dry. But, seriously, it could work? Then again, how does one go about creating a portfolio to get hired. It’s not an easy field to crack into but perhaps I just need to believe in myself a bit more.

As you can tell, I still have no idea what I want to do. I just want a day-job that pays the bills and doesn’t suck out my soul each day so I can go home and spend the rest of my time writing. Deep down, I just want to escape from society and live in a garret in the woods or something as a starving artist, picking off squirrels and writing from dawn till night. But we all know that’s not going to happen.

-Dreamerrambling

Reaching Out

Image

I need your advice.

I know each and everyone of you have very busy lives and that there are better ways to ask questions on the internet, such as on yahoo answers, but I’ve just met so many wonderful, lovely introverted or highly sensitive people through my blog that it makes my heart ache with joy because they UNDERSTAND that I thought it would be better to ask the tiny community on my blog or any empathetic readers that straggle by.

I hope that doesn’t sound presumptuous.

Given my lack of blog posts, I don’t blame any of you for not tuning in to my rambles.

Either way, I’ll spill out my emotional guts as usual.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been drained. Absolutely drained. Bone-crushing, cement seeping, cells withering kind of drained. The kind of drained that makes you want to collapse into a dead faint and sleep for a thousand years. My nerves are fried, they spark intermittently with bursts of anxiety and tension. Even the skin on my face feels as if it were old and sagging like leather, though it looks perfectly smooth and youthful in the mirror. This is a fatigue that has set its roots in my soul. And I want out.

Why are you on the verge of throwing in the towel and moving to the Tibetan mountains to become a monk just so you can have some solitude, you may ask? I’m currently a student at school. I am studying a strenuous course jam-packed with contact hours. Jam-packed. Forty hours a week. No time to take a breather in the library or bathroom cubicle. Rush, rush, rush, from lunchroom, to classroom, to get on the bus for the racous commute, to home. I am an extreme introvert. Like, more than 89% introverted. Which means all of that whizzing around? It is exhausting. I’ve felt like a robot set in triple-speed motion, all blurred limbs and buzzing brain.

Now, if it were just the classes, I would be dead brain tired. After all, I even hated high school due to the extreme noise and requisite social interaction in that institutional hellhole. But, no. Oh, no. On top of all that (which may sound like not much, but for an extreme introvert and anxiety sufferer, it’s like being put onto a forever tightening torture rack each day), I have a part-time job. Why? For money.

I don’t come from an extravagant background. Even though my parents aren’t dirt-poor anymore, they’re still struggling with the mortgage and other bills. They can’t help me when it comes to paying for tuition, buying textbooks (and they can get real expensive. I mean, what are they, made out of solid gold?), paying for food, for school supplies, for transport, etc. And I don’t want to leech off my parents and put even more strain on them in their middle age. They’ve endured enough. I need to be independent and make my own livelihood.

After all, even dreamers have to eat.

So I work at my part-time job after school hours. Seems pretty normal, right? Fit it in when you’ve got time sort of thing. I’ve been working as a part-time teacher for teenagers in high school. Hey, shut up, you have a job, what are you whining for? But it’s like two school days packed into a twelve hours. Like trying to cram two meaty burgers into one’s already shrunken stomach instead of the usual one, and even that it usually has trouble digesting.

And the job isn’t some introverted stocking-the-shelves kind of gig. It’s teaching. I have to be animated, talk in front of the class, smile until I feel my lips are going to drop off, followed my cheeks. It means crinkling up my eyes in bubbliness, because it’s the only way to get their attention, a happy-go-lucky persona, until I want to gouge out my own eyeballs so I can turn this world to blackness and not have to look or face it any longer. It’s slowly killing my life force.

I’m convalescing in bed right now. I’m sick. I have a sore throat, achy limbs. It’s obvious I can’t keep it up. I so desperately crave solitude after a day of slogging at university but I’m not getting it. I’m jumping from the lion’s mouth into a pit of fire. Screaming silently all the way. And I don’t know what to do.

I need the money.

It’s hard for someone like me to find another job. I found this one after many applications. I’m also sick of the application process. Maybe it’s just fear? This job pays well for someone with my level of experience and I feel like I am giving up an opportunity others would die for (ironic, seeing as I feel like I’m practically slowly dying for it).

I’ve tried asking to switch the classes to the weekends. Been told right of the bat that it isn’t going to happen, something about the schedules of the students and their parents. Was wallowing in too much despair to absorb the exact details.

What’s a girl got to do? I’m so sick of this loud, talkative world, it makes my brain rattle and tangles my nerves terribly. I can’t stand it, I want to scream and bawl and cry. I want to hide in some remote cave and live off bats, anything is better than this (well, maybe not that exactly, I couldn’t bear to kill a living creature. Gah. I’m so soft and sensitive it’s no wonder I’m trampled over by the callous, thick-skinned, extroverted people of this land).

Note:  My self-deprecating part of me would like to say some things right now : Oh, poor little me, poor little me. I know I’m being selfish complaining about my introversion issues when people are struggling with far greater issues in the world. My empathy and imagination simply cannot ignore that others might be suffering much more. And that any of you who read this needn’t give a damn about me, I’m just another voice on the internet. So, please, if I’m taking up your time unnecessarily, do not answer. I have no right to your time.

So, here is my question. What should I do? Quit? Stay?

The thought of quitting is liberating, my lungs expand in response and my nerves slacken. But some part of me whispers, maybe you’re giving up too easy. I mean, you’ll have to a get a job one day, right? If you can’t handle this, what if you can’t handle a job in the future? What if you just need to toughen it out? 

I don’t know. All I know is I am a highly frazzled extreme introvert/HSP in need of your help.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, if you cared enough to read this long-winded post this far.  

Dreamerrambling 

The Need To Be Special

Image

We are inculcated from the moment we are born with the idea that each and everyone of us are special.

“No fingerprint is the same! You’re unique!”

“Ever since humanity began, there has been no one like you. You are one of a kind. Cherish, that. Oh, you’re so special darling.”

Most of us have friends and family to shower us with love and compliments. They tell us we are beautiful and wonderful. Your mother looks down at you and says, yes, dear, you are so special in my eyes.

But are you really?

See, the thing this, if everyone is actually ‘special’, the concept of uniqueness is nullified. If everyone is special, then everyone is technically on the same level and therefore no one is special. If the idea of exceptionally is to exist, there has to be some people who are special and other people who are, to put it bluntly, not special. Common, pedestrian, ordinary, white bread people.

But most people would recoil at the idea of being merely average. Deep in our hearts, each of us thinks we are special. That we have some sparkle within us that no one else has. Why? Because it allows people to create a sense of their own self-worth. It gives them a reason for entitlement. People cling to the idea of being special because it validates their existence and creates a comforting, fugitive illusion of their life being valuable, like, hey we are all going to die one day, me, you and everyone who comes after us and humanity itself will shrivel up into nothing some day but at least I’m special, I’m different, this gives my life meaning, doesn’t it? doesn’t it? *claws at the other person’s shirt collar with fever of desperation in eyes*

I’m exactly the same. It’s terribly hard for me to admit it, like digging up the unsightly, sordid dregs of my personality, but I obtain my self worth from being different, being special. It even allows me to accept parts of myself which I would otherwise be adverse to.

I’m an introvert. Translation: Oh, I’m different, I’m quiet and mysterious and think deep thoughts, I am a great listener, look at those chatterboxes with such malarkey spewing from their mouths.

I’m a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). Translation: Everyone else are these thick-skinned, emotionless people who go through their days numbly and thoughtlessly. I’m so subtle and sensitive, like a delicate little flower, picking up on all the nuances of the world, look at me, sensing everything, feeling everything, imbibing the beauty of the world.

I’m an INFP (Idealist). Translation: I’m so misunderstood by society, so unique and complex that others can’t understand me. My thoughts are so august that mere commoners cannot comprehend them. They say I’m weird and strange but that’s because I’m special. My idealism soars above the banal, pragmatic thoughts of others, my mind is alight with wonder, I am this jewel nestled among the dull pebbles, my coruscant surface winking now and then.

Image

People try to salvage their self-worth from aspects of themselves which they believe make them special.  

For me, I think I’m creative, deep and intelligent. I think I have some wonderful literature within me that is still fighting to escape. I use these aspects to satisfy my desire of being unique.

It could be different for you.

Maybe you have great physical beauty. Yes, you say to yourself, I’m a moving work of art. People stare at me longer than they should or love me more because of it and that makes me special.

Maybe you’re brainy, logical and smart. You’re another Einstein in the making. You’re so special, you’re going to make all sorts of scientific and mathematical breakthroughs.

Maybe you’re the kindest, sweetest person. Maybe you connect with animals. Maybe you are spiritual. Maybe you have a special connection with a deity/God that you think no one else has. Maybe you have a glib tongue and can convince and persuade people to believe anything you say. Maybe you’re a magnificent actor/actress and can cry at the drop of a hat.  Maybe you’re funny. It could be anything.

The desire to be special is a universal urge of humanity. We don’t want to be nothing. We don’t want to be worthless. We don’t want to be another nameless organism that dies and returns to the soil as part of the circle of life. We want ourselves and our lives to mean something. The only way to do that is to convince ourselves that we are unique.

And even though not everyone on Earth can be special, there is a strange comfort in knowing that this concept is propelling people all around the world to do greater things and achieve greater heights and bring their own kind of magic into the world that will shine on long after the breath has faded from their lips.

Because, ultimately, even if the idea of being special is but an illusion for most of us, it brings meaning into our lives. It’s good. It’s beneficial. And it helps us to do the things we want to do and become the people we want to become.  

In the words of Mark Twain, ‘Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.’

And that is something this dreamer will definitely remember.