I am not everyone’s cup of tea. (Heck, some people don’t even drink tea.)
This may come as a surprise to you. (I mean, after all, tea is just so good for you, what with all those antioxidants and such. But, sadly, it’s true.)
But seriously, I have been known to come off as offensive now and then. I can be a bitch sometimes…I know this (even if I don’t mean to be). I tease too hard. I often talk too much (oh, the verbal diarrhea). At times it seems like I’m trying to hog all the attention (I was born under a Leo moon after all). And I definitely drop more F-bombs than the average jane.
On the other hand, some might see me as dismissive. Maybe I don’t take things seriously enough for you. Maybe I seem arrogant or snobby. I do have a lot of opinions (but I also try to be a good listener and have a pretty open mind).
Perhaps I’m too loud… or too quiet. Maybe I embarrass you with my frankness or questionable behavior. Maybe I push you in ways you’re not ready to be pushed. Maybe I ask you to go too deep when you just want to float on the surface. Maybe you don’t want to dispense with the pleasantries.
For whatever reason, there are those who are put off by me. And, more often, those who back away quietly. They fade into the distance with unreturned phone calls or stacks of excuses. Apparently, not everyone wants to be my friend.
I used to be bothered by this a lot. I felt that people ought to like me, dammit! If I was rejected, it must be because I wasn’t doing something right, and therefore I should amend some aspect of myself.
But no, not anymore.
It’s not me, I’ve learned. It’s you.
Not because I’m perfect or always in the right. Not because I’m any more likeable or friendly or interesting or fun than anyone else.
No, on the contrary… I’m sure I can be just as irritating and basic as the next gal.
But I have learned that some people aren’t going to want a slice of Vixen Lea in their life, and that’s ok. Other people’s acceptance or rejection of me no longer validates my self-worth.
Everyone is not required to make space for me. My unique way of being does not have to meet everyone’s needs.
There was a period in my life that I was obsessed by popularity (or more accurately, my lack thereof). I thought was checking all the boxes: new perm, towering bangs, MC Hammer pants, toothy smile (no more braces!), pretending not to be smart, managing a seat at the “cool” table at lunch (even if it was on the far end), and making eager small talk with the local Heathers while they flipped their hair and looked bored… You know, all the keys to making friends and influencing people.
But it just wasn’t working for me. All those formative years dedicated to the quest for popularity and I never did “make it” with the in-crowd (whatever that means). I was teased for my eccentric handmade jewelry, my love of horses, my knowledge of algebra, my freckles and rosy cheeks. I was too childish for some groups and too mature for others.
But come on! I pleaded with the universe, I just want people to like me! I morphed and pretended. I followed the crowd and muted my identity. As I got older, I took risks that bent my morals, and I betrayed people who genuinely cared about me. I lied about what was important to me. I drank copious amount of alcohol to become wild and loose and ridiculous enough to attract the attention I so vehemently craved.
All of that left me so far away from my true essence, that I barely even liked myself.
Now I am in a different place.
I am learning to embrace who I am without the burden of care about whether other people approve or not. While my feelings can still get wounded from a rejection or rebuke, I am able to rebound without letting it erode my own self-worth.
I can be loud or opinionated or crude, as long as I remain true to my own inner compass. I can tease and joke and curse, as long as I lead with love and compassion. I don’t intend to be rude or abrasive, but I refuse to apologize or adjust myself in order to make other people feel more comfortable.
If you don’t like the cup of (strong and piping hot) tea that I’m serving up, no hard feelings. Go drink a La Croix.
©Skye Nicholson 2020
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