epiphany: people are phony
I was thinking back to my days of high school the other day, because I always considered high school to be my biggest social failure. I remember just hating everyone I saw... Every place I went, I'd put my headphones on (always Korn) and block out everything around me.
I always thought i was so angry because i was insecure. because i wasn't "normal" like everyone else.
years passed, and i found ways to be more socially-accepted, but i couldn't help but feel like "if i knew then what i know now, it would be different."
i always thought of going to reunions, visiting the school grounds and watching everyone else reminisce with nostalgia about all the good times they had together in high school, while i would quietly and sadly reminisce about all the places i would hide with my headphones on to shut everything out.
then one day, i truly went back mentally to where i was in high school, and i realized the REAL reason i didn't get along with most people: because they were phony. it's the same reason i don't get along with a lot of people.
What is a phony? a person who takes part in whatever is popular and keeps up appearances for social acceptance. They sacrifice all originality and individual thought, as well as honesty and integrity. They do what would be the "socially-acceptable" thing to do rather than what they would truly want to do. their hairstyle, dress, favorite movies and tv shows, and hobbies all mold to what the new hip thing of the time is.
it's what hipster emo kids call "mainstreamer".
i remember a lot of songs at the time that talked about "plastic" people, and fakes... liars... counterfeit. a lot of nu metal at the time was about that. i still think korn nailed it on the head best with their song "fake".
"be yourself, let "you" come through."
i didn't much care for that song because the flow of it and the vocal work kinda seemed sloppy, but i did like the message and lyrics.
the reason why this clashed with my "unnatural" personality is because i'm an honest person to the core. i'm honest about my opinions on everything, and if i like a style, i wear it simply because i like it. if it goes out of style, i still wear it again because i like it. korn is a perfect example of that. go into a crowd of radio rock listeners and drop the name Korn, and they'll all chant in unison "lolzomg Korn SUXOR roflmao stfu kthxbai". Back when I first got into 'em, they were popular, but here i've continued to listen to them because I want to, not because it's a trend to follow.
I realized at that moment that even if i did know then what i know now, it wouldn't have made any difference. these people were fakes and phonies all putting their social clown masks on to play in the popular political cloud. I wasn't willing to do that, so i got picked on. my honesty would go so far as to admit things about myself that are weak or embarrassing. i had no problem admitting these things because i lived with them every day and found no fault in having them. they didn't impede me from living or surviving, and they didn't make any difference in the long run. but admit anything weak about yourself in front of phonies, and it scares them.
they would never admit something weak about themself, unless it was hip or popular to admit the specific weakness. ever heard someone say they are a "self-confessed nerd"? why do you feel the need to "confess" it? you call yourself a nerd like it's a bad thing. there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a nerd... assuming you actually ARE one and aren't just spouting off nerd-isms because nerds have found ways of manipulating pop culture so many times. "nerds are intelligent, and intelligent is socially-acceptable!" you're trying to be like a nerd because of the intelligence appearance without actually BEING a nerd and gaining the intelligence. phony.
it frightens people when you admit weaknesses, because they know if they do it, they'll lose their social status and reputation that they've worked so hard to build. so they react in different ways... they either dismiss it (e.g. "whoa, TMI", "ummm ok, i guess... hee hee") or they begin to tease you and make fun of you. they do this either to discourage such behavior from anyone else as they don't want admittance of embarrassing details to become the new hip thing (a major social change) or they do it because they don't have to work as hard to keep up appearances if they have everyone else focusing on YOUR shortcomings rather than theirs.
i was socially awkward because i was an honest person. such a socailly-acceptable trait on paper, but in practice almost nobody follows it. i'm real. they're phony.
high schoolers think that:
A. you rank higher as a person with the more friends you have
B. there is a personal ranking system in the first place.
many people today think this way, and it's just wrong. socially-acceptable? yes. dishonest and lacking in integrity? you bet.
i believe i had a higher power watching over me, because i always saw how happy everyone else was, and i tried to be part of what they were to enjoy the same happiness. this always ended in failure, because no matter where i went, i couldn't be true to who i was. i never fit in any niches. i never could do what others do, nor could i find enjoyment out of doing it. sometimes i would, but in the long run, nothing truly worked. i had this social ranking system in my head driving me to believe that things i was involved in and places i had gone made me better than i was.
upon realizing this epihpany, i realized just how easy phony people are to deal with. smalltalk is something i was always bad at because there was never any honest interest in anything. the weather, the game, last night's show, upcoming events... boring.
well, there is one area of smalltalk that everyone can do: complimenting every example of someone's insecurity. their insecurity makes them dress the way they do, get the hairstyle they have, buy the things they have, or watch/listen to the things they do. compliment them. what you're actually doing is pointing out in every way how this person is insecure and phony, but they're none the wiser... they think you're recognizing all their hard work for being socially accepted. they begin to like you as you swoon them with simple stating of the obvious. you secretly are laughing to yourself at what a simpleton blind-submissive idiot this person is, while they hail you for it.
this comes with a heavy caveat, however. you can never express your true opinon about anything. they're phony... being REAL is faux pas. do whatever's trendy, and enjoy their acceptance of it.
Suddenly, your social awkwardness will fade, as all the answers come into view. Live for yourself... don't ever feel like you've got to make sure that you rank up there on the nonexistent social rating system. It doesn't exist. If you want to spend all day indoors watching TV, go do that. If you want to play video games all day, go do that.
Also, if you want to do something that's perceived as popular, do it because you want to do it... do it because you have an appreciation for it. don't do it because you think you'll be accepted for it. here's an exercise: go do something that sounds really fun, but don't tell anybody you're doing it. hell, take it a step further, start dieting and exercising without telling anyone. why does anyone else have to know? you're not HIDING it, but you just don't care if anyone else knows about it. you're doing it because you want to... not because you want to feel accepted by doing it. no one's reaction should make a difference. people's 2 cents on what you're doing is irrelevant. turn facebook off, don't update anyone on what you're doing, and go do what you want to do without fear of anyone's input.
i've been doing this gradually, since socially i don't think i'll ever stop flinching about things, but i am getting better. i'm now able to get out and go eat alone at a restaurant, and slowly i'm getting better at approaching people. even beautiful women, who previously really made me nervous, no longer affect me. it works.
i still listen to the music i like, and even roll down the windows and scream along. why do i care if the sexy justin bieber fan in the white mitsubishi next to me at the red light thinks i'm a dork? am i having fun screaming/singing pop a pill in the most passionately-expressive theatrical voice? yes. then she can kindly shut the hell up. i wasn't put here on this planet to make sure bridget over there was pleased with everything i do. i'm gonna do what i want to do, because i'm happy when i do it.
"i don't walk around trying to be what's not within me
look into my eyes. I am free. You're just a wannabe"