Face the Truth

So I’ve noticed several bloggers are taking part in a 30 Days of Truth blog meme. It’s a nice way to give yourself 30 days of blogging prompts, and while I’m all about jumping on board that bandwagon, there’s no way I’m doing 30 in a row. That would be too much commitment and way too much emotional sludge for me to slog through at once. I’ll just do them here and there and hopefully get through all 30 before I forget what the remaining ones are.

Day 1: Something you hate about yourself

They decided to start easy, didn’t they? I could write a book about all of the things I don’t like about myself. From my dull, flat hair, past my big nose and all the way down to my monster feet, I’m good at finding fault with myself.

But what I really dislike is my lack of social understanding. The more I look inward, the more I can begin to understand and accept that I have a daughter with autism. My daughter’s pediatrician even admitted she thought I had Asperger’s. And as Cordy gets older, I’m starting to see the awkward moments I suffered through as a child relived by her.

I’ve never been popular. I was always the kid on the outside, wishing I could understand how to do the “right” things to be liked by others. My interests were never popular interests. I had trouble being witty on the spot, and often missed the social cues that I wasn’t wanted in a group.

I was told I was a freak and a weirdo, and I was bullied and shunned all through school for being different. I tried so very, very hard to fit in, mimicking others yet never quite getting it right. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong to never earn acceptance. I remember feeling suicidal more than once as a child and a teen, always confused about how I could be so amazingly smart in school but couldn’t figure out how to get people to like me.

As an adult, I’ve learned to blend in a little more, but I’ll admit I still don’t understand people. I’ve never figured out the secret to being popular, and sometimes it hurts that I know I’m rarely at the top of anyone’s list of people they like to hang out with. In public I make an effort to conceal some of my quirks.

When I’m funny, it’s generally on accident. (Ask our friend Baca about the scissors sometime. I made everyone in the room nearly suffocate from laughing so hard that day.) I suck at predicting how people will react to something.

I try to accept my geekdom, though. (The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite TV shows and I understand nearly all of the humor on that show – Sheldon fans unite!) I’ll freely admit to strangers that I’m socially awkward at times, or that I need to drop out of a conversation quickly because I’m feeling overwhelmed. I know my brain doesn’t work the same as others and I’m not ashamed to admit it anymore. After all, I have a daughter with autism, and I want to make sure she doesn’t grow up thinking she’s a worthless freak like I did. Thankfully, being different is more accepted today than it used to be, but we still have a long way to go.

I’m sure it sounds like I’m being hard on myself, and I might be. There were kids who were just as unpopular as me in school. (A few possibly more unpopular.) But if I could change one aspect of myself, I’d love to be that person who can expertly navigate the world of popularity, winning friends and influencing people with ease, instead of the person on the edge of the social circle, wishing I knew how to be a little less awkward.

My personal anthem at the moment:

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  1. Great first post and I’m sorry that people were so cruel to you growing up. Maybe I have a little of that in myself, or maybe I just embrace the differences everyone brings to the table, but I never really liked the popular crew at school and always had the offbeat friends who introduced me to cool new things.

    If we lived closer to each other you’d absolutely be one on my list to invite for dinner parties, trips to the zoo or anything else!

  2. I could have written this too.
    Great post!

  3. Christina,

    The best blog posts are the ones that come from the heart, and this one did. I read your blog for that very reason.

    I appreciate your honesty. Keep in mind, popularity is overrated, especially for parents like us. Raising great kids that are kind, loving and make meaning is what’s really important. Good luck on your journey.

    Jeff, Lee Jeans Community Manager

  4. I think we had the same childhood!

  5. I think we had the same childhood!

  6. Oh honey. I’m an occasional reader of your blog, and I love your natural voice and honesty and how modest you are. I am sorry you suffered so much as a kid. You are so disarmingly frank and kind (that comes through in your blog)–just the kind of person I would want to be friends with!

  7. Wow, powerful post. I’m thinking of starting that meme too…I too wasn’t popular, although didn’t get teased, and my parents were even nerdier/less popular as far as I know. Funny, I sometimes find myself hoping my kids are more “popular” but I also love that we now realize more than ever that being different can be much more “cool” than blending in.

  8. Wow – that was so touching and incredibly honest. Growing up is hard, especially when people can be mean and awful.

    I know the pain you feel from being teased through my childhood, and I just hope my children don’t have to go through it too. At least, I am packed full of ammunition and prior experience to help them if it does happen.

  9. Great blog. Its funny because I always felt that whenever I got close to a “popular” person, they really did nothing for me. I expected this great, fun, exciting person, and nope it didn’t exist. Its all in the perception I suppose, but we are all the same just living our lives. And now, as an adult, I have learned to wean my friends list down. Having only a few friends is much more pleasant then dealing with the nonsenese that comes with “popularity”.

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