I think just recently I've noticed that my life would be a lot better if I stopped trying to appear to be something to other people. It is ten times as much work to try to appear to be something you aren't than it is to simply do what comes naturally. Unfortunately, I've really set myself up for failure in this area because I think it has gotten to the point that I habitually adjust my behavior. It would be one thing if it were actually effective, but in the end I probably seem pretty disingenuous. I can't really read social situations, so even when I adjust, I might not even be adjusting correctly. All the things that in my mind are things that people don't want to hear might not even be so. In silencing my own voice in favor for the one I think people want to hear, I probably just isolate myself, never really knowing who actually supports me. I think the fact that this kind of behavior still being with me is testament to my immaturity. Even though I want to stand for something, I value the support and opinion of others to such a degree that I downplay the significance of myself. Plus, whenever I feel vulnerable in front of people, I end up desperately trying to save face. I honestly wish I wouldn't, especially since it usually turns out disastrous, but generally just because that isn't the person I want to be. I want to be the kind of person who can handle having the people around her know about her vulnerabilities, and be able to talk about them without getting defensive. I simply feel like this option is locked to me because my ability to have and explore an identity of my own is compromised, and I've done so by my own choice. I wanted to be able to live at home and go to school close by. The consequence of this choice is that I have to live with my parents and attend a Christian private school. Looking back, I wish I would have chosen to simply go out into the workplace right away. I'm too deep in now though. I've sunk nearly three years into this college, and transferring means wasting about a year of that in nontransferable credits in addition to running out of money and taking on student debt. Even though the freedom to live the way I want is valuable, it seems that I can be bought. And in understanding I can be bought, it makes it easy to see how negative that is on how I view myself. It makes me think that it is more important to tell people what they want to hear because the people closest to me do not value what I most closely identify with. I'm acting in order to receive the kindness of others so often that it isn't really strange that I doubt that people could be kind to me if I dropped the act. It isn't strange that I've been acting so long, it has become the thing I fall back on when I don't know what to do. I just feel sad that when I was younger, I chose this for myself. I chose it because I felt lonely and insecure. I chose it because at the time I didn't think that I was strong enough to stand up to the criticism of others. But this too has changed. Even in spite of everything I've talked about above, I know that I am not a weak willed person. The one oppressing me is not others, but instead myself. While it is true that other people reinforced the idea that I needed to behave if I wanted to win their favor, it was me who accepted that I needed that favor. It has always been me. It was me who decided to rely on my parents, to wear a mask, and to hide away the parts of myself that I merely assumed people did not want to see. Just as I decided it, I need to remind myself that I'm able to take it back. This false identity of mine, I want to tear it down, and rehumanize myself. I want people to understand exactly how flawed and vulnerable I am. I want to live up to everything that I am. I want to do this because I believe that I need every part of myself to be myself, and I need myself to be beautiful. So since I need to be comfortable with my vulnerabilities, I just wanted to get out a lot of dumb things that I've been thinking about lately. A Few Things I'm Embarrassed to Share (Move your mouse to reveal the content) A Few Things I'm Embarrassed to Share (open) A Few Things I'm Embarrassed to Share (close) 1. I want to change my legal name to Luna even though I was named after family, and it would probably be viewed as a sign of disrespect. I've gone by Luna to my closest friends since Freshman year, and I react to it as if it has always been my name. I like the name for a number of reasons. I once had a split personality, and I conquered it on my own without seeing a trained professional. The name Luna was the name of my second personality. It is almost symbolic of the event. Luna means moon. It is a light which shines in the darkness, but the light is not its own. It is a reflection of the sun, of the life I've lived, which allows it to illuminate the Earth. I love this name... It makes me extremely sad that people refuse to call me it simply because they don't want to call me by a female name. 2. I have never had really big aspirations of my own. For me, if I could just make enough money to have a place to call home, some friends, and an internet connection, I would live a content life. Even still, I think the closest thing I have to an aspiration is to find someone with a dream, someone of a caliber that humbles me, and to somehow be valued by this person as I attempt to make their dream become reality. I don't know if it is weird, but I actually find this concept romantic to a degree. To be far surpassed by someone in intellect, but to still be valued and appreciated by them. It feels meaningful to me. 3. I often feel guilty for my own privilege because I see others struggle so much harder to perform just as well as me. I've met people who work so hard that they barely get any sleep. They go to school, take 18 credit hours, and take a job on top of that. Even though they work themselves to the ground everyday, I end up making As, and they don't. Sometimes it is even just an intellect thing. As a tutor, I've watched someone struggle for 3 hours over concepts that I understood the moment they first came out of the teacher's mouth. I often feel like I need to accomplish more, just to account for the fact that I have advantages which others do not. 4. I've been having trouble with my body perception. Even though I don't encounter gender dysphoria, I still feel like I'm constantly in a battle with my body to look the way I want it to, but I never have the time or experience to actually ever look completely how I'd like. Despite being underweight, I feel like I have a bit too much belly fat, and I still skip meals on a weekly basis. I also have body hair which simply grows way too fast, dark, and thickly for me to keep up. Plus, there are so many dark ingrown hairs that even after I shave it leaves behind a dark shadow that makes me wonder why I even bothered. Plus my skin is so sensitive that I cut myself all the time. Part of me thinks that because of this, even if I dressed up in more feminine attire that I'd look ugly, or at the very least, not cute at all. 5. I receive praise like a little kid. If you wanted to manipulate me, simply praising me would probably be enough to do it. The entire reason why I'm susceptible to trying to live up to an image that I am not is because I enjoy praise too much. Even if it is just someone liking a post I made, I'm likely to actually reread the entire post just to see what it was that someone liked about what I said. It can even get pretty shameless. So long as it is sincere, it can even get to the point where someone is talking down to me and I still enjoy it. Like, if someone pet me for doing something well, I'd be embarrassed, but I'd still receive it positively. I don't even know if I should change this about myself... For right now I'm just trying to remind myself that my own perception of my work is important too. Would put more, but I need to get to class.