Partway through my work morning, I was mindlessly scrolling through Twitter. I had felt out of place lately, or like I had been continuously knocking on doors where I didn't belong. I have my people, those who share my interests and my affections, but while at work or in public spaces, I often feel unwanted. My social anxieties calculate every move, each step, smile, the"How was your weekend?"s or "Did you do anything fun last night?"s
To someone who overthinks every part of every day, finding a place to fit comfortably is constant and exhausting. It's a full mental and physical experience, placing hands and crossing legs in a way that looks natural. Deciding when you have talked too much, or if you're rude for not saying anything at all. I could be sitting with a close friend of many years, but if they are irritated or upset, then I perceive it as a reflection of me. What did I do to make them feel this way? Am I fixing it, or making it worse? If being around me doesn't make them happier, then perhaps they don't like me at all.
I have always been excitable, stumbling over words, blinking furiously, twitching face and waving hands when my electricity becomes too much to keep contained. But as quickly as I can rejoice, I can be shut down when not met with a similar passion. I can certainly remember the first time I was called annoying.
Maybe not the very first time, but the first round. When we were children, and learned what the word meant. We tried it on for size, spitting it with meanness but also satisfaction, smirks and red cheeks. Throughout elementary school, Girl Scouts, sports, although the word wasn't always said, it was there. Through looks, through eye rolls, through purposely ignoring those we didn't understand. It was familiar, cutting deep through our pinked flesh and small breaths. When we first realized the concept that others could actually perceive us negatively.
I have a little sister who is five years younger than me. I can recall telling her that I found her "annoying" one day when I was in middle school. Her face fell, twisted and blanched. I was who she followed, copied, wanted to be, and I had made it clear that her existence had gotten on my nerves. That she was hard to tolerate. And I didn't mean it. The weight that came with the word, drooping her small shoulders, was unwarranted. How could I have said something so cruel? I've regretted it ever since.
So while looking through Twitter, I stumbled upon a picture of a poem that a friend from college shared. I read it, and instantly felt tears outlining my eyes. It was comforting, ringing truth and acceptance in my burning ears. Everything was going to be okay. They were words that I needed, and wouldn't soon forget.
"there will be people who cannot handle your grace, your beauty, your wisdom, your heart;
mostly because they can't handle their own, but you will never be
and have never been
Find those who will sit and listen to you talk uninterrupted. You deserve to express your thoughts and desires without feeling like you are burdening another. You are not an inconvenience, not something to side-step or dread interacting with. Love what you love, and harness that passion fiercely. Just because you are different does not mean you are or ever have been annoying.
"i could listen to you forever"
I completely understand that someone may not want to talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer daily, or about the existential philosophies of the depressing yet meditative book I just read (by the way, it was Gratitude by Oliver Sacks). I speak and share within reason. But what gives anyone the right to act like someone else's thoughts and interests are less or unimportant?
As for us weirdos? We need to stick together. Listen to each other, lift one another up, and never make someone feel irritating for expressing feelings about things that they love. Be proud of your interests---you are valid and don't need to defend what you like. Be open to having honest and inspiring conversations with others, because you are not and will never be "too much". You are just enough, and your enough-ness has room to grow. Water it, care for it, and bring it into the sunlight. Grow strong and breathe life into the world. Because it needs more people like you.