When I was a little kid, I was used to feeling things that didn’t turn out to be “normal” in the eyes of some people. Being so young and unaware, I began to think there was something wrong with me. As I grew, my perceptions began to change; I soon felt that there was something wrong with the world, if I was being constantly misunderstood and labeled. Labeling has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time; I feel it diminishes people and things to an existence that is limited by some people’s overly simple and quite ignorant ways of living.
My questions are this: Did you ever feel like the entire world around you was conspiring to constrain you into something you knew you were not? Did it take you a long time to learn how to live an authentic life before you found a sense of peace?
Over the years, I learned about how humans function from a lot of different sources, not the least of which were my closest friends and family members. Later on, I began to realize that these circles of existence were not always the most reliable sources. So, I went to people like my former pastor and her husband, a holistic therapist. I also learned a lot about human behavior from a handful of Aspies, as well as people who knew Aspies, and various life coaches.
I discovered that the word ‘Fear’ was also named as an acronym for the concept entitled “False Evidence Appearing Real”. This was critical for me to know so that I could move away from my fears, or should I say, false concepts. These false concepts were what kept me from advancing towards my true self. I know that lately it’s a term that has been thrown around so casually, but I make an effort to be impeccable with my words.
Soon afterwards I discovered that other people were making attempts to find their authentic selves, only to run into repressed feelings and fears of what their relatives, friends, and coworkers would think of their thoughts and desires. I realized that these fears acted like straitjackets: the devices of restraint used for so long to tie down the mentally ill and misunderstood so that society wouldn’t have to deal with them.
The more I learned about this, the more I knew how I really felt. In my heart, I knew that there were potential straitjackets of religion, politics, traditions, and other circumstances that contributed to the stifling of personal truth. I had to discern what those were, before I could discover what I knew for sure.
After much soul searching, I developed certain perceptions. I learned that it is possible to carry on certain traditions if a person is steeped in them, and if that’s what gives them grounding, that’s all right with me. However, if that means that they are living as I lived-in a diminished existence ruled by fear of the unknown and what other people think-then they are not really living.
All reality is merely perception: everyone has their own views of what is right and wrong. It has taken me so long to get to a place where I can agree to disagree with people. All negative disagreement is the result of insecurity in someone’s own beliefs, mine included. My perceptions may not always go along with the status quo of others, but I have done my best to be confident to stand in my own truth. It’s a learning process, and I will never stop learning.
What I know for sure is that I feel more certain about parts of my life than I did in the past. There are certain straitjackets that people have tried to put on me, and for a while, I let them, because of my own insecurity and previous lack of self-esteem. However, by realizing what works for me, I have found a better way of going through life, and truly living. It may not work for everybody, but it’s what feels right to me. For that, I am grateful.