I’m myself every second of every day, but lately, I’ve been feeling increasingly discouraged to continue, should I wear this socially constructed facade?
In tribal times, being different meant putting the group in danger; failure to conform meant you were the weakest link, an unreliable chink. However, in modern times, societal norms do not directly protect us from danger, however, they do uphold the cultural status quo. Think, why do so many people feel unworthy, or not enough? Unworthy, not enough, in the eyes of who? In reference to what? In order to feel unworthy, you must feel unworthy in the presence of a standard, a reference point. Culture is the reference point. The ideal body displayed on your feeds, the narratives of motion pictures, and the imagery in Instagram marketing; 12 hot tips to lose 35% of your body weight so you are summer ready! Culture infiltrates your mind every day, you are a subject in a grandiose and cruel experiment; they call this experiment life.
We’re constantly told to be ourselves, but what the fuck does this even mean? Does being myself mean thinking and acting uninhibited, doing whatever I fucking please? Oh no, you can’t do that…that’s not socially acceptable. To discourage some fucking behaviour but encourage others? Who the fuck are you to decide?
At age 7 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism. I didn’t have many friends until I was legally an adult. I grew up socially isolated because I didn’t conform; it’s not that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t understand that I had to, nor did I understand any aspect of social interaction. Sure enough, this left me alone and vacuously depressed; my life pre-eighteen was nothing short of hell. As an adult, I read stories romanticising the strong correlation between tech entrepreneurs and Asperger’s Syndrome; this gives me hope, however, they have left out the struggle.
Every day I struggle. Every fucking day.
Always embodying the energy that is me, wearing a genuine smile, looking out for the well-being of others, and seeking to always brighten each person day; I don’t understand why I feel so isolated? It cuts deep when the person that I am is not enough; is there something wrong with who I am? To be myself means I exist outside of the group, I must stand outside in the cold alone. This is the daily price that I must pay, an inescapable tax on living.
It’s not all bad though. I possess an energy that others do not comprehend, and yeah, neither do I; I can go 12 hours a day, all day, every day. Every second of every day the force that is my mind is analysing the world, observing patterns and formulating theories. This force is almost unbearable, but somehow I’ve managed to focus it toward improvement, rather than destruction (when I was younger, I did battle with this unrelenting self-destructive energy). I can think outside the box, and solve problems in unconventional ways. Now, I can’t validate the truth of this, but I hypothesise that it is because I do not, and have not ever conformed to the cultural group-think. There are definitely upsides that I feel in a big way, but is it worth the feeling of ostracisation, and the cold lonely breeze?
Today I am fucking angry, but tomorrow is a new day. Another day to get up, walk, run, and then trip, stumble and fall right back down again.
I wish I was an emperor penguin, at least they stand out in the cold together.