So I am sitting here thinking about personalities. I was reading something online about how we are all born with this core personality that follows us through our lives. Even as babies, we are all very different and have our own unique personalities which show themselves more and more within just months after birth.
Unfortunately for myself, somewhere along the line, my personality got damaged. Or rather, it’s been covered up by so many layers of bullshit that I no longer recognize myself, and the personality I had is so far hidden I hardly know where to begin to get it back and bring it back out.
I remember my mom telling me how outgoing and goofy I was as a young child. I was always talking to people, and in fact, would dangerously talk to or go with absolutely anyone, stranger or not, because that’s just how I was. I was always imitating funny things or doing funny voices just to get laughs or be plain silly. I was the girl roaming the camp for monkey gold, looking for seashells on the beach, finding cool rocks, playing in the creek and mud to take home frogs, on the prowl for caterpillars and taking home any stray animal or insect I could find. Getting lost in the neighborhood because I just had to follow that butterfly. And everything just had to go home with me. Even that dead bird that I just couldn’t leave on the side of the road.
Then I remember her telling me how I changed when I started school. She remembers the teacher telling her how quiet and reserved I was and my mom was so confused because that didn’t match my personality at all. My teacher just must have gotten me confused with someone else. But no. She hadn’t. It was me. Or was it?
So what happened? What happened when I started school? Was there a traumatic event that I just don’t remember? Why was there such a sudden and dramatic change to my personality? Honestly, as many layers that are hiding that personality, I still relate to it. I still remember. I was so carefree, free spirited, my own person and I was totally ok with that. Until I started school.
I remember the terror that set in. It was constant. The fear of not being accepted. Suddenly everything I was, was wrong. No one else seemed like me. Kids were so mean and I didn’t want to be the target. I was too afraid to continue being who I was out of fear that it just wasn’t acceptable. I remember those feelings because I still feel them to this day, but they’re even worse now. I was the quiet kid doing everything alone and only speaking up when I would see someone else getting picked on. No one stood up for me but I always stood up for the other loners. Hate on me all you want but I’ll be damned if you’re going to hurt other people. I knew what they were feeling and couldn’t watch someone else be hurt. But me? I was always left to fend for myself and I was stubborn and held it all in. I was strong and I would be fine. Except I wasn’t.
I also remember a lot of conflict with my sister. I would get so angry with her and always felt like she got special treatment. I always felt like the black sheep and can pin point a few times in my childhood that the treatment was legitimately unfair. I always felt like, “What about me?” But I clung to her. She often had to tell me to give her space because I would physically stay too close to her like when we went to the pool. I just couldn’t face all of those people on my own and I never felt like my parents were there for me. Sadly I never felt that she was either. My mom and her were always very close, my dad was scary and had his own issues, and then there was me. So from very early on I have had to try and figure out how to survive on my own without needing anyone.
Why was I so afraid? Why did I feel so different so early in life? People just never seemed to appreciate things the way that I did. No one cared how cool that pine cone or rock looks, how pretty that butterfly was, or how sad that bird’s family must have been for losing it. They were all too busy worrying about designer clothes and shoes and having the latest and greatest of everything and having the best status in the class. Popularity. I didn’t care about that yet it just made me feel so absolutely different that I just felt so alone. Why didn’t I care about those things? Apparently I should. What is wrong with me?
Looking back, it doesn’t matter if I was different. I think I sounded like a pretty cool kid before I started school and became so terrified of the world. Is that still me? Is that who I’m supposed to be?
Why did it have to lead where it did? How did life go from butterflies and caterpillars to the torment I lived through in various situations out of my control as I got older, and to where I am now?
Maybe if I could understand that, I could try to get that person back. I still honestly feel like that personality differs from most. I don’t care about social status. I don’t live for anyone but my kids. I don’t care about the things that most others care about. Maybe being different is just my thing. Maybe it’s ok to be her. And if that means being alone, than so be it. I just have never cared about having the most friends or being “in”. I just don’t want to be bothered. I’d still rather chase butterflies and see where they’re going.
If I were more like me again, I think I would be a better mom. A better girlfriend. A better everything. Maybe that’s what I need to do. Find her.