You’re much nicer when people get to know you.
You’re not as nice as people think when they get to know you.
I’ve heard both of these sentences said to me a handful of times, and I’ve contemplated them a lot in my life. I’ve contemplated them a lot when trying to figure out who I am. I’ve contemplated them a lot when I’m trying to make sense of my actions.
But, there is one particular comment that has stuck with me the longest, one that I contemplate and reflect on the most.
I think you’re the truest you when you write, if it wasn’t for your letters back then…I would have thought you were just a really mean person, or just too nice of person.
This was said to me several years after what the person was referring to, which were letters I used to write to this individual in middle school. I had an enormous crush and infatuation with this person, but I was painfully shy and incredibly awkward with expressing myself verbally. Demonstrating how I felt outside of my comfort zone with a pen and paper involved a lot of teasing and downright bullying of those I was interested in romantically.
With a pen and paper, I had the freedom to think, not the pressure to respond.
With a pen and paper, I had the opportunity to erase and change, not to regret.
With a pen and paper, I had the ability to tell others how I really felt, not to feel like I was holding anything back.
I am horrendous at conflict because I need twice as much time to put not just my thoughts, but the appropriate and most effective words in my head together to justify my argument most appropriately while simultaneously taking the other person into account.
I am horrendous at communicating at a professional leadership level because I want to adapt each line and phrase to everyone I am speaking to, which brings me to find comfort in preference to emailing.
I am horrendous at still, to this day, interacting and conveying my emotions adequately to those I care about the most. I look forward to birthdays and every opportunity that allows me to put together and write a card.
That doesn’t mean, at least I personally don’t think, that I am walking around like a vacant vessel void of emotion; on the contrary, I think most would describe me as a very dramatic, sensitive and over emotional type of person. I love to feel, I crave to feel, I need to feel.
However, this ineffectiveness to sufficiently express myself verbally to others leaves me with a very prominent and afflicted issue I think I’ve dealt with for a long time. Do people really, know me? Can they? I can’t blame them if they don’t, because how could they? I can’t ever tell them half the time how I feel, the opinions I want to elaborate on or the thoughts I have to share. This has more often times than not left me with the understanding that I give people a very different impression than who I view myself as, which is a creative, reflective and intuitive individual; instead, I am described as energetic, bubbly, humerous and naive.
I’m not here to argue that I am not all of those things, because I am. What I can admit to though, is that it is very rare to find people that stick by my side long enough to allow me to find those rare moments of comfortability that grants me opportunities to express myself in the methods I find most comfort in. Those that get to know me near enough as I know myself, or at least, try to find me in the words I write.
Verbally, it requires a lot of patience and time, honestly I don’t think more than three people in the world can listen to me sort and jumble my words out loud long enough until I get them just right. I think what I’m trying to say is, I struggle a lot with who people perceive I am outside of the pen and paper, or in this case, a laptop and keyboard. But at the end of the day I am the only person aside from the Lord himself who is capable of understanding who I am in it’s entirety and complexities.
I tend to forget that when I’m faced with a situation where I feel I am heavily misunderstood, which regrettably happens more often than I could unfortunately care to admit. One of my resolutions for 2017 was this, stay true to who you are, whether that person is found here or out there; love yourself for it, those who are meant to meet and understand her, will.