Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Dear Weird and Wacky People of the World

Dear Weird and Wacky People of the World,

I’m shy and I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell you because I feel as if people think I’m more confident than I am. By thinking this, when they get me on a particularly shy day or see me avoiding a person or group of people, they might believe I’m being grumpy, or perhaps that I’m sad. The likelihood is that I’m just not feeling up to making the approach: to making those few steps across the room and introducing myself. Why? You ask. I don’t think I even know the specific reasons but I know it’s related to how I feel about myself. It sounds sad but I’ve always felt like everyone I see around me is judging me. Whether it was at school, parties, having people over for lunch, university, jobs – I’d always walk into each situation with butterflies in my tummy and the strong feeling that I was doing, or was going to do, something wrong. I am always confident that I am wearing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, asking silly questions, looking stupid. It happens most frequently around people closer to my own age, a little bit younger, a tad older and PING! My confidence has gone. Just like that. In my head, i’m standing before a group of people who are all wondering what I’m doing there: ‘she’s not good enough, clever enough, pretty enough, what is she wearing? Did she really just say that?’

The thing is, I’m pretty sure this isn’t true. It may be true on occasion but it’s probably not a whole room full of people questioning my existence, and these thoughts probably don’t last. Yet, I still can’t help believing it. Any time I say something and I feel like whoever I’m talking to isn’t being very responsive, or doesn’t seem to be listening, or doesn’t seem interested, I instantly jump to: ‘Stop talking Ellie! Just stop! They’re clearly not interested and it’s probably because what you’re saying is really, really, really stupid. You’re not making sense and you certainly don’t sound cool. So. Just. Stop.’ So I tail off and walk away feigning a sudden interest in the scenery outside the window or something fascinating on the floor on the far, far, far side of the room. Never again will I speak to that person. They definitely think I’m mad.

The thing is, I don’t really know why I care. I’ve always been one of the odd ones. I’ve never been part of the ever-expanding “Popular Crowd”. My friendship groups over the years have always consisted of the loveliest bunch of wonderful nutters I have the privilege of calling my friends. If you’re ever looking for us, we’re probably sitting around a table or on a sofa, with cups or tea, showing off our various different senses of style – if you get me in the summer, you have the joy of seeing my various pairs of Harem pants that I alternate each day of the week. We’re probably discussing something brilliantly weird to those on the outside and we’re probably laughing quite a bit. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yet I still can’t help but want to stay away from those I don’t know. Or more importantly, from those who don’t know me. When I am forced into a situation where meeting and greeting peers is a must, I will cross my fingers the entire time in the hope that one of these young adults will connect with my weirdness. That some invisible message will be passed across from them to me signalling: ‘Yes! I’m one of you!’.

Sometimes I do find someone. At university, I definitely met a couple of people on my wavelength but even that was terrifying. The idea of having to approach someone new and introduce myself, in my case with a tin of brownies in the hope that, if nothing else, this would be an icebreaker, was awful. I mean, what if it all goes wrong and everyone just thinks you’re strange and no one wants to be your friend?

This doesn’t happen. Wherever you go in life, you’re bound to find people that you click with. I know this because, so far, I have and although I fear it, I tell myself it’s pretty unlikely all the wonderfully weird of the world are going to just disappear once I pass a certain point in life.

They’ll always be there, somewhere and wherever that may be I plan to take a deep breath, walk up to them and just say…

Um…………..*trips over my own foot and feels my face go the colour of a tomato*……..hi

Yours Confidently (perhaps…or.......we'll see)

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