“We are not normal.” Chad and I say this to each other often, laughing, reveling in the fact that we are in fact the same kind of weird. And it’s true… we are not normal. I am not normal. I’m not really sure what normal is. And yet, as far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to appear normal.
I was home schooled, all twelve years. My parents balked at the “socialization question” every time it was raised, since I was in Awana, every church activity possible, and various home school activities like field trips and band. I was far more socialized that my public schooled peers, they told everyone who stood still long enough. But they knew I was weird, too. They encouraged me to try and fit in with the kids in my home school group, they celebrated my (few) friendships, they comforted me when normal kid-teasing and bullying happened. But they (especially mom) always assumed I needed to be reminded to “act normal”. So people wouldn’t know what we were really like.
Fast forward to being an adult. I’m married (happily so, at least there’s no pretending there), and mom to two kids. I work full-time. I struggle with anxiety/depression. I struggle with my beliefs. I can’t keep house to save my soul. I yell at my kids a lot more than I’d like to admit. And yet I still want to project that “Everything is Awesome!” image to people I meet. And to my friends. To everyone, really.
I guess I just want people to like me. And I’ve always felt like if the saw the hot mess that is the real me – maybe they wouldn’t like me at all. Maybe they would laugh at me? Maybe they would just ignore me? I don’t even know what, exactly, I’m afraid of.
But I do know this. I’m tired. I’m tired of pretending. I’m tired of telling everyone I’m fine. I’m tired of answering every “How are you?” with a “Fine!”. I’m tired of worrying that everyone will find out how not-fine I am, or what I actually believe, and will judge me for it. And I’m tired of thinking that I’m the only person who is like me – I have a hunch there are more of us out there, hiding behind our picture-perfect Facebook feeds.
So. Welcome to my new life, being authentically weird.