Sunday, June 25, 2017

Don't be Yourself (A Rant)

Disclaimer: Normally I try to keep my ranting (and cussing) to a bare minimum on the blog but this just pisses me off and I have to get it out there for now and for the future. 


If I had a nickel for every time someone in my life accused me of thinking I was better than they are (or than anyone else is), I would never have to work again a day in my life. EVER. I mean, for real, I could buy a house along the ocean shore and never owe a single penny of debt ever again. 

Why must my success and striving to be better mean that I think I am better than anyone else? Why is it always, and I mean always, quantified in this way? Why can't I just be trying to be a better me? Why does it always have to be about the other person and thinking I'm better than they are? I will never understand it.

Over the past six years, I have been accused, multiple times, of thinking I believe I am better than other people. "People" would include family members and colleagues. Apparently I earned National Board Certification for the sole purpose of one-upping everyone around me. It couldn't possibly be because I saw/see weakness in myself and want to get and be better. 

Apparently I have busted my ever loving ass working on my doctorate for the last three years while teaching full time and managing a household simply so I could be better than everyone around me. 

Puh-leeze. 

Let me lay it on the line. I am probably the most insecure person you will ever know. Truly. I can talk a big game and probably do sound completely full of myself to people who don't know me very well. But actually have a conversation with me. Engage in dialogue with me about the same topic over a period of several days/weeks/months. I guarantee that if you actually listen, you will hear my insecurity. Some people never do because they don't actually listen to hear and learn. They listen to respond. If you actually listen to my message, you'll hear (and likely see) my insecurity. Many times over. 

I hold people to an incredibly high standard of success (and quite frankly I have probably screwed up relationships because of it) because I can't stand mediocrity. I don't want to be around mediocre people because I'm afraid their mediocrity will rub off on me. For a huge chunk of my life, I was told I wasn't good enough. Every single thing I did was questioned and analyzed and told that my motivations were selfish. I was doing things just to give the finger to the man. 

I rid my life of the person who gave me that message in the summer of 2011. Six entire years later, I still hear that voice. When I earned National Board Certification, that voice told me that I didn't deserve it, that I was a fake and a loser and people would find out about me. As I have pursued my doctorate, that same voice has constantly snuck into my ear and told me that I'm a fraud. 

People closest to me know who this voice belongs to and why it is so ingrained in my head. They also know why I finally had to take out the trash in my life and cut ties with this person. In fact, most people who have been around me for more than 3-4 months know the truth about that person. I don't hide it. I own it because hearing that voice, still after all of these years, makes me who I am. Whether I like that or not. 

This is why it is so damn frustrating when the people closest to me, who should know better, accuse me of thinking I'm better than they are. The message I get, loud and clear, when I hear this is "Don't be Yourself. Be who I want you to be." 

Most recently I have proclaimed that I dislike most people. It's not a lie. I DO really dislike most people. They are fake. They go along, they try to fit a mold. (Someone I hold near and dear told me awhile back that mold is for cheese and I don't need to try to fit a mold. And I love her for that.) I'm sure these people mean well but they conform. I am not a conformer. I never have been. This is why people either like me or they don't. It's one extreme or the other. There is no in-between. 

I don't care if people don't like me. I am not fake. I am who I am. Take it or leave it. 

What I do care about, however, is people who are supposed to actually care about me turning around and telling me I think I am better than they are or better than anyone. It's the same message. "Don't be yourself because I can't handle it" or more likely "Don't be yourself because I can't compete with who you are becoming."

Why do you need to compete with me? Why can't you recognize that I am still, every single day, trying to convince myself that I'm good enough. That I'm worthy. That the voice in my head is wrong about me. 

So to those people...I say this: Screw You. You should know better. I thought you did. It's a real shame to discover you are just like everyone else. 

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