Of all the lessons I’ve gained this year, being ridiculed by those once closest to me taught me the most.
A former friend criticized me for my aspirations. A few scoffed at my choice to be areligious. Others tried to slut shame me, then shame me for regarding the slut shaming as grounds to end the relationship; apparently, belittling by “friends” is something to be accepted. Somehow, even the music I like listening to was brought to question.
Someone I dated tried to tell me I wasn’t doing enough in my career–while knowing that I had been booked to film a TV show for MTV. Even the thought of being featured on an MTV show was ‘trashy’ to them. I could probably write a book about the litany of things they generally disapproved of, but I’m trying wholeheartedly to stop self-shaming for ever having dated them.
Another, tried to pressure me into getting a tattoo, over and over again, unsuccessfully. Needless to say, they’re still blocked.
Family members often expressed wanting me to have a traditional career with “security.” Apparently, staying the course, while living out your passion isn’t impressive.
All of these things happened this year, and I found most of them to be laughable, but a few of them really hurt me to the core. But, it helped me to realize that whether you know the person or not, the second that they can’t wrap their head around something that you like, are passionate about, or are aspiring to, they will ridicule you.
I laugh at how none of the things on their laundry list of critiques is harmful to me or them. I laugh at how any of them truly believed that they had enough power over me to change what I wanted to do. But I’m hurt by the notion that, me simply being me, and liking the things that I like, was rejected.
And though some of the things honestly made me cry, I’m happy that their ugly words taught me the beauty in simply being who I want to be, and no one else.
I’m happy that this year has taught me to not be afraid to be different, after I experienced a barrage of “you should do this,” “or be more like that,” and saw it as nothing more than bullshit. The strength I’ve gained in being myself has given me the strength to tell you this: