Growing up, I was known as the “social-butterfly” in my class. Making everyone feel at ease was my thing, and I did it because I genuinely cared.
Things haven’t changed much over the past eight years, except that I have noticed that the teenagers and the young adults quickly express their judgments. Quite recently, a few years down the line, I was told that for some reason, my general pleasantness and optimism bounced off everyone I met and I was judged as being “fake”.
This isn’t a tale of strength, but of experience and reflection. I didn’t take those judgments easy on myself. Because I cared for others, I took it upon myself rather harshly. What I didn’t know then was that for I cared for the comfort of the others at the cost of my own tranquility.
I tried not to socialise much, because I was told by a few well-meaning friends that everyone thought I was a fake because I seemed happy always with the smile I had plastered on my face. I stopped talking to teachers, janitors and every other person I crossed my path with because others thought I was being too “smart”. Most of my classmates didn’t like the fact that I asked questions regarding the class to my teachers, and I went back home with the queries lingering in my mind.
I realised much later that I was just different. And the world didn’t change much once I stopped smiling, talking or asking questions. It only stopped the earth in my galaxy stop receiving even an iota of sunshine.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re different. How could one even distinguish you from another if you weren’t different. Your experiences, perceptions and ideas shape your personality. As long as you don’t hurt anyone’s sentiments or feelings, you’re good to go.
Even when I know that there are those peers of mine who think I am a fake person because I smile widely, speak positively, or get irritated when I ask my doubts to the lecturer who encourages student participation in class, I do it anyway.
You can only direct the flow of the river through a different channel. It’s life comes to an end if you block its path. The very purpose of the river is defeated if you it doesn’t flow.
It’s alright to be different. In fact, I salute you for not giving into the prejudice or judgments which others make and retaining your uniqueness.